The Cores and Shells of South Korea.

Its time for another elemental exploration of South Korea, here I look at the magnificent landscapes I have seen so far in this complex country, and what it has said to me about place and people.

So…Earth, the 2nd element I am covering (the first was air) is oh so poetically described through my favourite animated series, Avatar – The Last Airbender, here’s what the Avatar Wiki page had to say:

“Earth is the element of substance, making Earthbenders and their people diverse, strong, persistent, and enduring…The key to Earthbending is utilizing neutral jing, which involves waiting and listening for the right moment to strike and, when that moment comes, acting decisively.”

And so, like Airbending – this art can be translated metaphorically to represent our connection to landscapes and the kind of people it most relates to. The expansion of people across this planet needed and to this day (especially in harsh, marginalized, poor or disaster affected-regions) displays these qualities and seem to be what keeps us moving forward. Though we certainly shouldn’t have to be violent in how we move and interact, that is also a trait found repeatedly in our history, be it representing colonialism, war or more positive achievements in technological innovation, strategic development and support and these days especially, politics (good and bad). Perhaps on a simpler scale think of it this way – that perfect answer you one day gave in class, the unexpected punch-line to a joke you added just before all hope was lost, that essay, uni. application or resume submission done just in time, that one decision which shaped your life…the list goes on~


Ultimately, if we wish to keep thriving on this singular planet, we will need to embrace characteristics mentioned under all 4 elements. As we can see already, endurance will only take us so far on the current unsustainable trajectory of society…long-term planning, conservation, adaptation and most of all, innovation to the current design of our development to one where cycles, closed systems and shared knowledge is the norm. :]

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