On Procedural literacy

<Worldwide Internet Speed Map>

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Inequality is a concept that I have been mulling over for years. As a Korean, living in a country surrounded by two very influential countries (China and Japan) and having lived in the US as a minority I always spent time thinking whether being born a Korean was an unfair advantage to my live. And of course, there were biological matters too, such as being born a female when I considered myself quite far from the gender’s stereotype. There’s always the obvious objection to this: think about all the 3rd world kids, starving to death at age 2! But the children born with the unfairest circumstances didn’t feel close, or relevant to me at all, until I traveled to one of those places myself.

In 2011 I traveled to Yanbian, China, a fairly underdeveloped district of China just above North Korea’s border. I went there to visit an orphanage, where there were orphans born from raped North Korean refugees. All they had for lighting was a single dying lightbulb; internet connection was unthinkable. Suddenly it occured to me: what did these kids do wrong? I was thinking about going to an American College and developing high tech stuff, but these kids were thinking about getting out of poverty.

As the information revolution continues, the disparity between the classes of the world will get bigger and bigger. It is not only an international thing, but can also occur in a single nation.

Life is totally not unfair. Everyone has different starting points, as demonstrated in the group exercise yesterday. Religion was born to answer two simple questions: Why do we live? Why do we have different lives? ¬†Religious stories might answer the first one, but it will never answer the second one. We are all born different, from Steve Jobs to an African kid that starves to death at age 1. All I can do would be grateful of my circumstances and help those who weren’t born with them.

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