Monthly Archives: June 2012

“The Rise of Consumption and the Demise of Causality” (essay)

“The Rise of Consumption and the Demise of Causality”


Emanuel Pastreich

There are two enormous challenges today that seem unrelated and yet perhaps can be directly connected through a more profound consideration of the impact of technology on society: the rise of consumption culture and the demise of causality in our thinking, specifically with reference to the impact of our actions on the environment.

The first challenge is the challenge of greed and consumption. There is a deep need among people to consume that has assumed a crisis level in advanced industrial nations, reaching a level completely out of line with either the economic situation (which is dire) or human needs. That need to consume is spreading rapidly. It is common to attribute this situation to “greed” without much consideration for what it is that generates greed, how that act has its own social, historical and even physiological aspects.   Read more of this post

Emanuel Delivers keynote address at Seminar “A Paradigm Shift for Science and Technology: Prospects for Administrative Regimes” at National Assembly (June 28, 2012)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

“A Paradigm Shift for Science and Technology: Prospects for Administrative Regimes”

Korean National Assembly


I delivered the keynote address at a seminar at  the National Assembly of Korea entitled “A Paradigm Shift for Science and Technology: Prospects for Administrative Regimes” (과학기술패러다임의 변화와 행정 체제). The event was sponsored by

The event was sponsored by the Korean Congressional Research Service, the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations KFWSTA and Korea Advanced Institute of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology.  Read more of this post

“The Great Green Wall and the Fight against Desertification in China”

Opening remarks
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Asia Institute Seminar

“The Great Green Wall and the Fight against Desertification in China”

The Asia Institute seminar on the noble fight against desertification was a wake-call for all of us. I must admit that although I was pleased by the enthusiasm of the participants, I was shocked that we did not have a larger crowd. After all, the spread of deserts in China is perhaps the most serious challenge facing East Asia today and is a crisis that calls for a global solution.


Lecture by Ambassador Kwon

Yet attendance was less than for our seminar on nuclear power in North Korea—an important topic, but not anywhere as significant.

Kwak Sang-soo of Korea Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology talks with David Seol, advisor to Asia Institute for external relations.

Ambassador Kwon Byunghyun spoke about his NGO Future Forest which Read more of this post

Video of Pastreich lecture at Korean Federation of Industry


Korean Federation of Industry

International Management Institute

Morning Lecture

Emanuel Pastreich


The Asia Institute

(in Korean)

“The Korean Dream” (article in the Hangyoreh, June, 24, 2012)

The Hangyoreh


June 24, 2012


The Korean Dream


Emanuel Pastreich

 The United States became the major cultural force in the world during the 1950s and 1960s, putting forth through its media and its cultural institutions an image of a better life in a free society. The United States offered a powerful vision of a society wherein the individual could realize his or her dreams without the terrible institutional and cultural limits that hold back so many. That image of a good life in the United States was known as the “American Dream.” The American Dream was accompanied by significant intellectual and ethical content such as democratic process, social responsibility, the rule of law and excellence in scholarship and the arts that inspired the world to strive for something greater.

Not everything in the United States was as perfect as the vision given to the world. There were dark aspects of the United States such the hypocrisy of racial discrimination in a nation that spoke of equality and the ruthless pursuit of national interest in a nation that spoke of universal values. Nevertheless, the American Dream inspired people around the world to strive for something greater, to raise their standards for education, for fairness and for democracy to a new level. They stepped forward to demand changes in their countries, to innovate and to create a new society in every corner of the world. Read more of this post

Video: Interview with Mark Hasegawa-Johnson at Asia Institute

A leading figure in speech recognition technology with a focus on Asia, Professor Mark Hasegawa-Johnson visited Seoul for a series of meetings arranged by the Asia Institute. Professor Hasegawa-Johnson works at the Beckmann Institute at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Video of interview

Video for Asia Institute Seminar on Nuclear Power in North Korea

Video of Asia Institute Seminar 

“Revisiting Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security in North Korea”

 Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seoul, Korea  Read more of this post

Talk about culture and education for elementary and high school principals

I gave a talk about education and culture on June 17, 2012 in front of a group of about one hundred principals of elementary and high schools in Seoul organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (서울시교육청). This “Principals Forum” was the first of its kind, a voluntary gathering of principals from around Seoul to exchange opinions on how education can be improved in Korea.

Emanuel talks with prinicipals about culture and education

Read more of this post

Technology, science and the odd case of evolution

Here is a recent discussion at Asia Institute on the decision in Korea to permit a textbook that purposely omits evolution (see “South Korea Surrenders to Creationist Demands”) The point I try to make is the absolute difference between science and technology, as the great Rudi Volti stressed. Confusing the two is one of the tragedies of our age. Read more of this post

한국 교육의 위기

한국 교육의 위기

올해 들어 KAIST 학생의 4번째 자살 소식은 다시금 한국 교육시스템에 근본적인 문제가 있다는 것을 드러냈다. 이는 단순히 시험과정이나 학생들이 소화해야 하는 엄청난 교과 학습량의 문제가 아니다.

그동안 KAIST는 세계 대학순위에 있어 수직 상승으로 각종 언론의 주목을 받아 왔다. 하지만 그 이면을 들여다보면 인간적인 경험이나 정신적인 성장은 배제되어 왔다. 학교의 명성과 숫자에 불과한 대학 서열을 위해 학생들의 희생이 계속되어온 것이다. 학생들은 마치 품질 좋은 메모리칩이나 탄소나노튜브처럼 높은 효율로 ‘생산’되고 있다. 엄청난 스트레스 아래 높은 학점과 좋은 직업 외에는 아무 것도 생각할 여유가 없었다. 심지어 삶의 궁극적인 목적이 무엇인지는 모른 채 학교 당국의 목표에 끌려갔다. Read more of this post