‘Sound speaks to you. Approaching from afar, it was already nearby, sweetly whispering beside you, then quickly dominating. Sound lands on the sensual canvas called the ear, and flows through the mind. The sound flowing through the mind spontaneously expands the awareness of senses. I\'ve clearly heard but seen it. It is a world of possibilities.‘
Recently, I attended the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC). The unlit performance venue removed the familiar visual factors, and made me concentrate on the sound itself, coming from the eight multichannel speakers. Sound travels across the space, drawing grids and forming a net on the canvas that is the ear of the listener. As the sound’s directionality and movement, continuity and discontinuity, lightness and weightiness, change and subversiveness, intense tension, narratives, and other layers, came together, it started dominating the single stereoscopic space. In the process, I visualized a symbol of the auditory senses in my mind, and it was enough to experience the synesthetic imagery.
Expanding the limits of senses is an attempt to discover the world of possibilities through gaps that seem impossible in reality. For me, sound is something that is always around me, but is a neglected thing that is not easily recognized and not meant to be understood. But a change in awareness allows sound to be stored in the senses and to discover its existence as a point of possibility for a new creation.
From that perspective, Science Walden is an impromptu performance venue of multichannel sound. Science Walden is a place where people from a variety of subject areas, such as science, the arts, and the humanities, can design a sustainable field for restoring true human values, solving social problems, and researching alternative societal models. The sounds of people (their thoughts, their will, their expressive experiments) are performed raw, and cross the borders of domains. When sounds travel across sections, the new area of unrecognized mesh is now seen. In fact, it has already existed, but our fixed senses and ideas have not allowed us to see the area.
The mesh area appears empty, but it is also a place where implied significance is densely concentrated, like a blank space in an abstract painting. It is enlightenment, the aesthetics of slowness, the continuity of fill and void, embracing existence and absence, time and history. The mesh area is occasionally a path toward emptiness, and the connectedness of that emptiness empowers a new force toward further possibilities and creations.
Today, Science Walden is composing ensemble. I imagine the multilayered sounds intersecting, knitting knots and creating meshes, composing new music. It is a belief that a new creativity convergence concert with a weight that is never too light will be born.
Every time it is played, from the fluid movement of the net and its meshes, I dream of an alternative societal model, realizing the world of possibilities in sharing and learning, and in a change from a rigid perception toward the process of growth.
In recent years, there is a growing interest in Korea in the collaborative research between different areas of disciplines. However, it is not easy to find a successful case where an interdisciplinary research project results in fruitful outcomes. There may be several reasons why it is relatively difficult to achieve a favorable outcome from an interdisciplinary research. Some blame the absurdity of near-sighted bureaucracy. Others indicate that the participants of a given interdisciplinary project tend to have a poor understanding of its objective and the foundational rationales behind it. These may be all, at least in part, correct. However, I would also like to point out that the recent interdisciplinary endeavors seemed to lack a due research methodology. It is difficult to expect that we could make a significant achievement by merely gathering researchers from different academic fields. It would be useful if we can come up with a guiding idea.
In my view, an interdisciplinary research can be performed more effectively if it is attempted among “nearby” disciplines. However, the distance between two or more disciplines does not need to be measured in terms of the traditional taxonomy of studies. For instance, the distance between humanities and engineering may not be too far from each other once we focus on the subject matters of the particular disciplines constituting the collaborative research at hand. Each discipline has its own subdisciplines. Philosophy, for example, includes many branches such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and so on. Of course, the same goes with other disciplines. The proximity of disciplines may be demarcated in the level of subdisciplines. Philosophers of mind may work with mechanical engineers to create a robot that can successfully communicate with human minds. Many issues in biomedical ethics have stimulated both moral philosophers and medical researchers in the past several decades. Likewise, those who work in the area of environmental studies and anthropologists may cooperate with each other to solve crucial ecological problems.
Science Cabin exemplifies many significant products from interdisciplinary perspectives. BeeVi toilet system, for example, may be regarded as the outcome of the collaborative work between the microbiologists who contributed to generating the anaerobic digestion tank connected to the toilets in the cabin and the visual artists who designed the toilets in their current art form. Science Cabin is the place where environmental engineers perform their experiments to advance sustainable urban planning. It also works as the residence of artists who create various types of artworks in accordance with the ideals of the Science Walden project. In addition, Science Cabin houses diverse academic events where future scientists and engineers meet with professors in liberal arts and discuss critical issues in humanities, arts, and social sciences. In this sense, Science Cabin is deemed to play a central role in Science Walden as an interdisciplinary research project.
I recently installed a work titled \'Waiting for Bamboo\' on incised bamboo field behind the Science Cabin. The long steel table is covered with sky blue concrete and has ten holes. These ten symbols are simplified forms of the consonant initials of Korean \'Hangul\' letters 사 이 언 스 월 든 프 로 젝 트 (Science Walden Project), designed wide as possible to allow the plants to grow.
I connected this steel table and the bamboo field with three pipes. I wait bamboo grew up in my artwork as bamboo roots extend through the pipes, and the worms also come in. These plants that are invited into the work can grow without being watered. Steel structures condense moisture and the concrete cover retains it in the soil.
The Science Walden Project is a project that aspires to recover the ecological connection of human and nature that is cut off by the flush toilet system and pursue coexistence. My work also tells a story of expansion and circulation of life and the world we live in together.
The winner-takes-all market formed by the infinite competition of our capitalist society may put the strong and the weak all in the state of codestruction. Seeking a nature-human harmony through excrement, the human physiological product, Science Walden Project converges artistic and scientific imagination in hopes to express the fact that every existence is valuable.
‘Waiting for Bamboo’
Steel, Concrete, Soil, Acryl pipe
30cm x 446cm x 82cm(h)
“Where did you come from?” asked the golden king.
“Out of the clefts where gold dwells.” replied the green snake.
“What is more glorious than gold?”
“What is more enlivening than light?”
(from The Green Snake and The Beautiful Lily, Goethe, 1795)
Why does Goethe argue conversation is more enlivening than gold and light?
What is the meaning of Goethean conversation?
A few years ago, when I read this beautiful story, I was immediately drawn to these questions and wanted to learn more.
So far, I understand Goethe’s construct of conversation is rooted in receiving knowledge as part of a creative process together as social art. Goethean conversation is not about trying to convince someone else of my way of thinking. This type of conversation requires careful observation, inclusive receptivity, inner quietness and an openness to those around us. By maintaining these principles, conversation can be transformed into a mutually enriching fellowship. Conversation can support our life journeys, and service the collective growth of those who engage in it.
We may say that life is all about the relationship between ourselves and those around us. We always have questions such as, “Who am I?”, “What’s our community’s purpose?” and “How can we better communicate with each other? How I can support my friend’s need better?”
Whatever path we choose, each human being needs to find her or his own way with enthusiasm and passion based on her or his unique nature. I hope we can help each other gain deeper insight without judgment or criticism to better understand those around us.
We are grateful to learn this art of conversation presented through Goethe’s fairy tale. Later, Marjorie Spock(1904-2008) developed Goethean conversation more deeply. Spock worked as a teacher, environmentalist, and mentor. She worked closely with Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, the renowned soil scientist.
As an environmentalist, Spock was an early leader of the environmental movement in the US. As a biodynamic gardener, she fought against the US government on issues concerning the indiscriminate use of dangerous pesticides. This is cited as the first environmental case brought by citizens. Through this case, Marjorie Spock and Rachel Carson, one of the leading environmental science writers in America, became close collaborators and friends and Spock later influenced Rachel Carson’s renowned book, Silent Spring.
We can gain insight from the art of ego-less Goethean conversation. When we listen attentively to each other and pay attention to our community's purpose, we can reach our full human capacity. By using this open Goethean conversation, we can communicate more effectively and foster positive relationships with one another which in turn can build a healthier society.
I look forward to continue exploring Goethean conversation and sharing more.
The Art of Goethean Conversation, Marjorie Spock, St. George Publications, 1983.
Reflections on Community Building, Marjorie Spock, Steiner Books, 1984.
Increasing concern over environmental sustainability and socioecological well-being has motivated people to consider ways to reconnect humans with the natural world through lifestyle changes that integrate well with natural systems. Educators who share environmental concerns have explored diverse aspects of ecological art practices to envision an extended and socially relevant role of art. Accordingly, the present study aims to bring educators’ attention to a collective journey of artists who have immersed themselves in making an affective relationships with nature. Regarding the journey as an invaluable cultural resource that holds the potential to extend the horizon of how we may live with nature, it examines the collective journey of the artists in Yatoo, an artist association based in Gongju, a greenery city in the southwest region of South Korea. The guiding questions set for the contextual analysis are: ‘how do Yatoo artists become native to their place?’ and ‘what can be learned from their collective journey?’. First, the collective journey of the artists is examined based on four major factors: regionality, positioning, methodology and networking. This is followed by discussions focusing on the value of the collective identity shaped by bioregionally conscious art practices and the pedagogical potentials arising from the collective journey. This paper suggests that the collective journey of Yatoo’s life-sustaining practice, operating in an era of environmental crisis, contributes to the recently developing alternative pedagogical discussions by opening up dialogues that navigate ways to encourage more sustainable practices for the future.
Caption: Seun-Hyun Ko, Cowpat, South Africa (2016)
A growing body of literature addressing the need for educational innovations has also stressed the value of interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate art into teaching and learning. This paper aims to extend educators’ understanding of art–science interactions by presenting an empirical study that explores a unique art residency program created on the campus of a university that specializes in science and technology. The study reviews the art practices of three contemporary artists who participated in a program developed in conjunction with an interdisciplinary research project seeking ways to build an ecologically sustainable community and operated by a renewable energy resource-based economic system. Data that include observations, artist talks, and in-person interviews were collected from multiple sources during the residency to understand the distinguished processes involved in the development of individual art projects. A follow-up cross-case analysis revealed a few notable characteristics: connecting art with life through waste recycling, process-oriented practices highlighting resource circulation, and creating value using bricolage strategies. Regarding educational implications, discussions centered upon the potential transformational space identified from the creative art practices in the context of interdisciplinary research.
Caption: Art studio created in Science Cabin
While expectations regarding art’s potential contributions to the interdisciplinary research context continue to grow, the creative endeavors of individual artists remain under-examined, perhaps because of the inter-relational nature of joint research settings. To explore, how artists navigate their contribution to a given research community, this study reviews the art practice of Seung-Hyun Ko, who participated in Science Walden, a Convergent Research Center carrying out an interdisciplinary research project that aimed to build an ecologically sustainable community. Drawing on comprehensive views of creativity that emphasize the importance of the social context in which the efforts of individuals emerge and are assessed, the study examines Ko’s recent collaborative practice in Science Walden within the larger context of his long-term practice as a leading artist of Yatoo, a bioregionally conscious artist community. Ko’s responses to the opportunities and challenges of his involvement in these two interrelated contexts disclose the value of the creative dynamics of interdisciplinary research, with implications for the increasingly diverse interdisciplinary research practices emerging within science and technology.
Caption: Seun-Hyun Ko, rough sketch of Science Walden pavilion
One spring morning I walked along the shore of Ulsan’s Taehwa River with my wife. I saw a pair of brown wings flapping on the water, and then a still shape floating gracefully. “Look, it’s a wild duck!” I said. “Something is still alive on this river.” However, the joy of seeing this wild animal only lasted a brief moment, because when I reflected, I realized that thirty or forty years ago, there were probably hundreds of ducks feeding on this exact spot of the river, whereas now there was only one. Is one lonely survivor a cause for celebration?
Not if you ask Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist who coined the term shifting baselines. In his work with people who catch fish for a living, Pauly observed that elderly fishers remember that when they were young, the fish, whales and turtles were abundant, whereas now there are very few remaining. However, the young person who starts working on a fishing boat does not have any memory of abundant fish, and considers that everything is fine when a few fish are caught. From this generational gap, Pauly makes the startling inference that we modern people are just getting used to a degraded environment. The environmental destruction is all around us, but we take it for granted that this is the way the environment should look. We consider the degraded environment to be “normal.”
However, cultural anthropologist Anna Tsing offers a different view, in her book The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. As the title suggests, she believes that capitalism has ruined many ecosystems and extirpated many species, but there is reason for hope. Life always adapts to new conditions, and new forms of life spring up and grow in the ruins of the old. Her study focuses on the matsutake mushroom (songi beoseot) which grows in a symbiotic relationship with pine trees that thrive where natural forests that have been destroyed by logging. Tsing reminds us of the value of symbiosis, the entanglement and interdependence between different forms of life, which enables life to thrive and adapt even when many species have been destroyed.
It is urgent for humans to inventory our relationships with other species and to develop our symbioses with them. Currently, scientists are debating the value of rewilding, the re-creation of extinct ecosystems which may even include the cloning and reestablishing of extinct species such as mastodons and aurochs. This plan seems ill conceived. Instead of rewilding, why don’t we recognize the value of the living things around us? The Taehwa River, which blends into rice paddies and urban parking lots, is home to birds such as ducks (ori), magpies (kkatchi), cranes (durumi), and egrets (baekno). Can Ulsan citizens recognize the value of our relationship with these creatures and give them a protected space in which to live? The future life for humans in Ulsan depends upon it.
Please introduce Science Walden.
I’ve introduced it so many times, haha. Science Walden is an engagement laboratory of 80+ researchers designed to solve the problems of our society by connecting scientific technologies to liberal arts and art. I’d like to introduce it as a place not overlooking the pains and conflicts of our society but working to solve them. Science Walden started from Naturalism in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden,and was also influenced by B. F. Skinner’s Walden 2. Science Walden could be considered as a project trying to solve the problems of current society with scientific technology to reach the world B. F. Skinner described in Walden 2.
Is there a particular reason that the solution is the ‘poo’? How did you get the idea?
I wish I had a nice episode to tell you, haha. But, the feces Standard Money (fSM) is one of the efforts we are making, not the core of Science Walden. Another idea hasn’t come up yet, so fSM looks like the key part.
Back to the point, why fSM? I think it’s natural for me as an environmental engineer. So far, we have looked at poo as a contaminant, and have just thought about how to remove it. It eventually ends up in the sewerage system, but I thought ,what if there is a way not to, what If there is a way we can use it scientifically.Those series of questions led me to money. Everyone talks about money, so if there is money that contains economic philosophy, it would be the ethical capital of our society. fSM can change our old view on poo, and even give us something new. This was the start of fSM. There was not one moment when the idea popped up but it emerged slowly from my thoughts.
Please introduce Science Cabin, the second project of Science Walden.
We were thinking about how to root FSM in the world. If people can experience it while they actually stay at a place, they will have a more vivid feeling of the world Science Walden is working on. So, Science Cabin is a living place as well as a research center and a place where you can imagine the future.
So does it have a living area and a research area?
There is a living area, a research area and an activity area called a sharing area. In the sharing area, we have a little kitchen and a studio. This place is for dining together or working together. All kinds of flows - a flow of poo, a flow of energy, a flow of water, a flow of human connection, a flow of money - will arise in Science Cabin.
What’s the similarity and the difference between your first project Sa-Wol-Dang and Science Cabin?
Sa-Wol-Dang was a temporary building from the beginning. Our final goal was building the Science Cabin, but we built Sa-Wol-Dang first with the minimum budget as a prototype. In Sa-Wol-Dang you saw the technology we had, but in Science Cabin you will feel the technology as you live in the space. You can come visit Science Cabin with your family or your friends for a day or a month, living by yourself, with the energy from yourself , not harming the environment. You also can raise crops with the sludge from your poo.
Moreover, imagine the future where Science Cabins are built all over the world. To build the Science Cabin complex, we need new types of pipe lines and a new kind of sewerage system, and new energy lines, thereby creating new companies and new jobs. Overall, a new infrastructure of the society. It’s an asset of our society based on ethical economy.
Is self-sufficiency a goal?
No, it’s not. I can give the energy that I make to others, or give it to a village. It’s not self-sufficient but tradeable. The energy and sludge by poo are all capital and we are trying to design a society connected by this capital.
Then, do you want to make a market with fSM?
Not only a market, but a very inclusive concept of capital. For example, let’s think about the social welfare system. We can serve food to the poor elderly with fSM, and it’s not from tax payers money. It’s a welfare system by our new capital.
How will the research run in Science Cabin?
First of all, anyone can stay at Science Cabin, but he/she should do a ‘check-in’. Check-in refers to downloading the Science Walden app. With this app, you can get 10 Ggool (ggool is the currency unit of fSM) everyday when you defecate at Science Cabin. You will keep 7 ggool and give 3 ggool to your peers. The peers could be anyone; your best friends, someone you just know or people living abroad. fSM can be a connection like social media as in Facebook. Poo can be an income every time and you can share it with someone in the world.
The second research is the “spontaneity” experiment which is about choosing energy options. The visitors of Cabin will choose one of the energies-fossil fuel energy(option A), renewable energy (option B), and bio energy (option C). If the accommodation fee at Science Cabin was 30 dollars, and you chose option A, you’d need to pay 30 dollars. But if you chose option B, your fee would be 31 dollars, option C, 32 dollars. The extra 1 dollar or 2 dollars will be used for renewable energy research. You choices will be recorded in the Science Walden app, so your peers would know your your choices. Even if you used to choose option A to save money, you might change your mind because your peer has chosen option B or C, like ‘Hm, why not use the renewable energy today.’ I look forward to that kind of change.
So, you imagine not only the capital but also a big social network based on the capital.
Yes, I do.
Even though it’s a new capital, I think it should apply to existing currencies. Are you planning to operate it independently first, then connect to existing currencies? Or, is there any connection already?
Most of all, I wish you think of fSM as an economic system we are making now. It’s not like one genius came up and made a virtual currency like Bitcoin, nor like someone declared a new currency and people must follow like communism. We just present fundamental concepts of fSM. We can not only apply it to the market economy, but we can also develop this concept. We can adapt the strength of social economy or improve its weakness or solve its problems . It’s money we are all making together, and I hope this movement starts here in South Korea, specifically UNIST in Ulsan.
Think about it. In human history, we haven’t used two currencies at the same time in a society. (Of course, you exchange it when you go abroad.) If two currency systems can go along together, they could compete and complement each other. Virtual money recently arose, but the value of the money is totally based on the market economy,so it’s more like for an investment or a venture. But the value of fSM stands for human beings. Throughout history, the value of money has been represented by gold, silver, even rice, but never human beings.
Therefore, fSM is a way of answering an old Asian question ‘how much is the value of human?’ by western pragmatism. New logic in human connections can inspire economics, too. Therefore, I can say fSM is an evolving money.
It’s not easy to understand the concept of new capital.
That’s why you have to stay at Science Cabin.
Can you explain the projects in Science Cabin and what the UNISTars participate?
First, we have the ‘Miracle of 10 ggools’ project. When you use the Bee-vi toilets in Science Cabin, you will get 10 ggools and share 3 ggools with your peers. Your peers will share fSM with other people, too. They can be close friends or not, but they all have the same trust in the value of the future. Your thoughts and your changes influenced by others will be sent to someone in the world. Someone who used to use nuclear energy might change his mind as he sees his friend use bioenergy.
A group of UNISTars can estimate the energy usage of Science Cabin. Or, it can be a competition between several teams. Students can stay at Science Cabin by themselves or with friends. They can do artworks with Science Walden’s artists. You can think about your dreams over the night in Science Cabin, and take a warm shower heated by the energy your friend produced… You can make connections that we haven’t had before.
Building unusual labs like Science Cabin or Sa-Wol-Dang looks very different to conventional scientific research. What is the reason for this?
I have considered that matter deeply. Building labs takes a lot of money, and sometimes you get negative opinions too. But you can find researches in conventional labs everywhere, not only in UNIST but also Harvard, Stanford, or Cambridge. We think it’s the duty of scientists to perform lab experiments and publish papers. But in Science Walden, we are undertaking new ways of experimenting. It doesn’t mean that you need a new lab for this, but we need to have a new place to record our experiments in our heart and mind. Just like how you write down everyday experiments in your experiment notes in labs.
Personally, I have one ambition that Science Cabin will be a symbol of UNIST. You can build a symbolic tower for the purpose, but I wish Science Cabin would be a symbol of the mind, of philosophy, of economy to both UNIST members and visitors.
Overall, I want Science Cabin to be a new kind of research center and a symbol of UNIST.
CJW (CHO Jaeweon): In our project, Science Walden, we are trying to make our society as happy as we can, using the concept of the feces standard money (fSM), which is the goal of the Science Walden project. Here, feces, feces standard, money, and happiness mean environmental engineering, humanities, economics, and ethics, respectively. Of course, I understand it is too big jump with big concept but I would start with these for convenience to hit the discussion.
Debater (director of an art center): I think we need to bring our diverse opinions and thoughts toward right directions, through asking ourselves on values of Science Walden. Otherwise, we just do our own research which is fragmentary but not connected to others of the team. Then, it is not easy to converge all the results into a whole at the end of the project.
My first question is why we should deal with feces in the project. If we do not have clear explanation on this, we may have low confidence and big doubt about the project itself.
CJW: It started from environmental point of view a few years ago. I did not have the concept of fSM at that time but wanted to make a different and alternative system to minimize environmental contamination from toilet.
Debater: Environmental issues with contaminations are not new.
CJW: It is not new but different as well in that we do not let any feces into the Nature as we do not use flushing toilet. As you know, even if our community has wastewater treatment facility to treat wastewater including feces and urine, but, the facility can not completely remove the contamionants. As we do not use flushing toilet, we can save water very much, lower wastewater treatment expense, and collect feces and transform it into bioenergy using digestion bioreactor. It is the bioenergy, including methane, that we can give money (i.e., fSM) to users of the non-flushing toilet.
Debater: How much do we get paid when using non-flushing toilet once?
CJW: We can get 10 Ggool in return of one usage. Here, the unit of Ggool is honey in Korean.
Debater: Are all the users supposed to get the same money out of the usage, without respect to excretion amount?
Debater: Is it right to give the same amount of money even though their excretion amounts are different?
CJW: I think we can decide which one is right. We may design we get different fSM money depending on feces amount or the same fSM money (i.e., 10 Ggool). This is why I named the money as feces standard money over simply feces money. Feces is surely not human, but, only human can use the non-flushing toilet for both environmental and economic perspectives. Thus, feces from feces standard money is the symbol of human of the judgment towards environmenal ethics and a justice with relation to the Nature.
Debater: How much money in the present monetary system corresponds to 10 Ggool?
CJW: We have two options to use the fSM. Firstly, we have exchange rate of fSM. When we want to get the present money (i.e., won) from fSM, we may exchange in so called fSM bank. Secondly, we can imagine a certain economic system for a community with a dual monetary usage of the present money and fSM, without an exchange betweeen the two. We can talk about this more in detail sometime soon. I favor the latter but I understand we have to consider other possibilities.
With the first option, when we consider the present economic situations with water and energy, 10 Ggool can give us about a Korean won of 500.
Debater: Considering all the difficulties of human feces and corresponding expenses, the monetary value of 500 Won seems unreasonable. It looks even nonsense.
CJW: I know it is weird, but we consider all the expenses, including costs of initial infrastructure construction and subsequent operations. We did calculations along with a few industrial companies. Based on the calculations, we can recover the construction fee within 6.6 years, with a community of about 1,000 persons.
Debater: I really want to look at those data. By the way, I can not have any confidence whether it is right decision to give whatever money to who does not work at all but only drops poo.
CJW: With your question with doubt, I would ask you whether you agree it is right for who own the building, i.e., infrastructure capital, and do not work, to earn their incomes. Do you think it is ethical? I would rather judge getting a money out of our donating feces is more reasonable in many aspects than earning profits with capitals. We can also build a capital of infrastructure with FSM which I believe is the good capital.
Debater: What is the capital of fSM infracture? How can the fSM infrastructure formed from the process of making bio-energy out of feces?
CJW: I believe capital has not only money, as currency, but also infrastructure. Infrastructure comprises of both private and public ones. We can imagine infrastructure of making bio-energy from poos collected using another infrastructure as well. We may also imagine profit can be generated from both the fSM and the infrastructure, thus, we call those as capitals.
Debater: I do not see clear difference between the fSM infrastructure you mentioned and our present infrastructures. If so, those are going to be the same in the end without any difference in our societal system.
CJW: It is the point where we need our vision and imagination. I would say, we are going to make invisible ones into visional realities. fSM, for example, is believed to contribute to the basic income. Basic income may need more tax collection to some degrees but fSM can minimize the burden thus lowerer the hurdle to the basic income implementation. In this way, we can imagine many other welfare systems once we have certain amounts of source of revenue from the fSM. Or, we may give various different business models to the world.
Debater: I am a little confused. But, what is the exact difference between paying the same amount of a money as the fSM to the public, as basic income, and paying the amount directly to the public, as basic income, without through the fSM.
CJW: Once again, I would like to tell you I prefer to give 10 Ggool to 500 Won or 3,000 Won, even as basic income, after we agree to regard the Gool as cash. By doing this, I believe we can design various models of welfare and business, and also solve conflicts we have for our society.
Debater: What conflicts do you have?
CJW: As we know, we have conflicts between generations and between capital and labor values. FSM may help to mitigate the conflics, I think.
Debater: I do not understand how the fSM eases the conflicts.
CJW: Let me take an example of the financial deficit of subway service. Senior citizen over 65 years old can ride freely the subway everywhere in Korea. Free ride of senior citizens may be controversial in the future as the deficit gets severe. fSM economics can be coupled with subway fare system in oder to make up for the deficit even thought it is not enough. We have another case of job oportunity between generations because we have problems of youth generation unemployment which may get worse when many jobs are substituted by artificial intelligence equipped robotics. fSM uses automatic and machanized system but also produces many new occupations which we do not easily imagine. Rent business using toilets equipped with health monitoring sensors is one that we can think. The company provides maintenance of the toilt, collects data from the toilet with both poo and urine, and more importantly diagnoses the users.
Debater: The toilet with the sensor seems to be charming but only the rich persons can afford it. Right?
CJW: It seems right, but, the true may be opposite. Do you think only the rich persons can afford home water purification unit for potable water? We can develop some business models with rental service and others, to make a reasonable and affortable price of the toilet equipped with health monitoring devices. We may think selling in lots apartments which provide health monitoring for the residents by using the fSM toilets, which increases value of the apartments.
Debater: When I heard what you talk, I think the fSM brings us into two different parts, firstly the economic ands secondly the dignity of human being parts. Does this connect to the poo with dignity?
CJW: I agree. fSM starts from the human dignity, i.e., the inborn value of human being. Poo may be considered as the symbol of the human dignity.
Debater: I think fSM deserves to be studied as far as it is connected to the human dignity, even without lack of an economic benefit. Probably in near future where artificial intelligence substitutes our labor, we surely have many surplus human beings who are isolated from both capital and labor. What do you think with this?
CJW: I do not know much about what happens in near future with the issue of artificial intelligence, with respect to isolation of human itself or human labor, as compared to the present situation. But, I agree we have problems of isolation of human being also in the future as much as we have at present. One thing I want to stress is that artificial intelligence is not labor, even though it substitues, some labors but capital. Then, I am certain the ratio of the earning by capital to the one by labor surely increases. This is one of the backgrounds why persons, like Thomas Picketti, insist we should increase taxation to reduce the inequality of income and capital, or to implement the basic income. But, I am not sure whether or how much the capitalists and the rich accept this.
Debater: While we are talking these, animal right issue occurs to me. It has been told recently many times. The logic is that animal has a right as an animal as human is also one of animals.
CJW: I think differently in that animal has the right as all the lives deserve to be considered precious. The two are seemingly the same but somewhat different. The difference lies in values of between animal and life.
Debater: The reason why I bring up the animal right issue is that we have not asked any question regarding the human dignity in mordern times, especially from philosophy perspectives. I think we may loose the dignity of human being simply because we consider it as we take it for granted. To my understanding the human dignity comes from relations.
CJW: I think your thoughts are deep. I agree with your importance of relations. As you probably know, the Science Walden project has a foundation of Confucian, with conception of benevolence which we have whenever we meet each other. Benevolence is regarded as the highest virtue of all. fSM makes firstly the flow of poo, secondly the flow of energy, then the flow of money followed by the flow of human.
Debater: I hope we can continue these discussion with other thinkers.
CJW: I also hope.