MENTAL TONUS (English)

"For wading through ,overcome the difficulties and to adapt to another world"

Development and maintenance of a Healthy Mental acuity : A challenge towards self enlightenment for a solid root -identity

When you look at a magnificent tree, you can’t help but contemplate the depth of the root which is the origin of its marvelous power of proliferation. Then, imagine a forest formed by multiplication of one tree after another. The network of Korean people over the world is similar to such a forest. The collective strength of these communes can become so enormous that it may not be toppled easily. Also, imagine the magnitude of man power pool coming out of it !

Mankind is endowed with a wonderful capacity of mental acuity in addition to the physical prowess. Apart from this mental acuity, no community project would be possible. We are about to organize a new powerbase through a horizontal networking of women who are already capably functional in their societal activities throughout the world. Now it is imperative for us to review the actuality of the MT (mental tonus) referred in the field of Psychology. Volition to do something beyond the daily routine, or aspiration to do something for the public benefit does not come with the birth but nurtured. It is a gradual and subtle product that results from the process of series of impulses to realize his/her own conviction : crystallization of personal opinion regarding injustice or dubious societal trend. Accumulation of such analysis and reasoning from each event becomes a powerful knowledge base that will facilitate execution the next one.

A few people who possess certain level of MT may qualify to be public figures who can dare attempt societal events. Public figures are those ambitious people who incessantly keep in mind what they can plan something for the benefit for the society.

In Paris, for a while such people were jokingly called “cloud chasers.” In particular, it was in a mocking reference to the people who were engaged in the ‘democratization movement’ during the years 1979 through 1985. It was coined by the miner-turned-businessmen who pitied them for the “self inflicted” adversities while furtively admiring them. They would say, “Mme Yi, please quit chasing the clouds ! You could have turned into a millionaire if you took advantage of your precious knowledge and talent.” Long ago these businessmen needed help from some of the students for issuance of French visa. They were sincerely grateful for time and effort of the students who assisted in necessary procedures. Therefore, these words were indeed cordial and friendly advice from the businessmen. Hence, “Stop chasing the clouds !” How about those patriots who devoted their entire life for the independence movements ? Weren’t they truly expert “cloud chasers ?” Is it not their “cloud chasing” that enabled our history to remain intact thus far ? Thank you, cloud chasing ! Now, let us review the characteristics of the people of sound and strong MT. They are equipped with a lifelong posture of a student who endeavors for self enlightenment continually. Be it dish washing or whatever they do, they have attained the highest level of expertise (enlightenment). They possess quick grasp of current events and capacity to set the direction of actions momentarily. They can conjure up appropriate event that satisfies the flow of the times. This is adaptability ! They also have clairvoyance to coordinate the information for the success of the event on hand. The public figures with powerful MT also have strong mental accommodation towards unfamiliar situation whenever they undertake new projects. Of course you are well aware of the fact that internal disturbance is harder to overcome than external hindrance. Morbid depression of morale originates from emotional components (divorce, bankruptcy and illness). MT steers one to prepare and plan despite such hurdles. Let us reflect on the aspect of MT of over 23 women Nobel Laureates to date. They must possess an intense mental acuity regardless of variety of their professional fields Marie Curie (physics 1903, chemistry 1911), Maria Goeppert-Mayer (physics 1963), Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (chemistry 1964), and Rita Levi-Montalcini (medicine 1966) are the epitome of highest level of MT among the women Nobel Laureates in science. As for literature, Selma Lagerlof (1909), Sigrid Undset (1928), and Pearl S Buck (1973) may fall in the similar class in terms of high level of MT.

How about Mother Theresa in the social services ? The mode of women’s activities in the society can vary quite drastically. Take Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc ! Their modus operandi differs from one extreme to the other. One does not have to be full of masculine tribute simply because of her social actions. The Virgin Mary type are the introvert women who try to improve the society through a tranquil permeation of sacrifice and tacit example. The Joan of Arc type, on the other hand, are the extrovert women who lead the warfare on the horseback just like a domineering warrior full of energy. One cannot judge which type is more effective and ideal. They are totally different from each other. It is not desirous to talk down or criticize each other.

Global leadership calls for a mentality of mutual nurturing, uniting, and understanding. This should be the major topic of this network and other gatherings. It is sad in numerous occasions to hear about women’s projects getting bogged down due to habitual blame games among women.

As a woman carries out her daily chores, it is a basic obligation to plan her life with the best of her capability and to endeavor for self-enlightenment. Each woman can nurture the egalitarian idealism founded on strong MT over the quotidian activities. The aggregate of individual MT can shape into an enormous force that will be the backbone of women’s community. The organization thus created can be a tremendous reckoning force of voice and participation in the national and international level. Such an epochal undertaking may not come by easily in Korean society where concept of egalitarianism (of men and women) has been absent for thousands of years. Yet, it can be done ! We Korean women shall extend our opinion even to the UN for the peace of “Korean peninsula with no more war.” We shall endeavor continually for enhancement of mental tonus for such an important undertaking. There also has to be incessant exchange of idea and research in a comprehensive and horizontal fashion. Strategically, for the development of global leadership, there ought to be an open discussion first, then, periodic research seminars and unique events for each country would be in order. Keen interest and close cooperation will pave the road to success A crystal clear goal has to be established for the organization.

Last June at the suburb of Paris, there was a conference of about 80 civilian organizations with over 2,000 participants whose main theme was “Assistance for the disabled.” I hope I will have chance to elaborate in detail later. What I learned as an observer was that a conference can be a great success if it has a clear-cut motivation and if the participants come with zeal and devotion. Even aloof and indifferent spectators were deeply moved by the power of great love emanating from them. Would you know the leaders of the conference were very modest and of profound personality ? Soft yet strong ! Isn’t this a truly ideal image of a leader ? A real leadership is ability to look after the weaklings, including the disabled, trailing at the end of parade in this world. That is my conclusion and message today.

Thank you. Yi Sabine

Translated by H Hahk Kim, MD FACS FAAP Atlanta GA USA 14 Feb. 2009