Monthly Archives: March 2009

Journal 22.

Is North Korea Aiming for Complete Isolation?

     Over the past few years, Korea has become even more isolated internationally than ever. With its nuclear threats and  famine, North Korea, the poorest country in the world, is constantly threatening and creating tension with  its neighbors.

     An article from New York Times on March 19, 2009 titled “North Korea rejects U.S. food aid” explains how North Korea wants to be isolated. Despite North Korea’s chronic food shortages and severe poverty, Kim Jong Il requested all of the five aid groups in North Korea to leave by the end of March without giving any reason. “We’re obviously dissapointed. Clearly, this is food assistance that North Korean people need. That’s why we’re concerened,” said Robert Wood, a U.S. State Department spokesman. The U.S. food aid groups are concerned that this rejection may have been a result to the hostilie political tensions going on because of the nuclear warnings. Another suspicion is that the North does not want to follow America’s “demand for close involvement in how the aid gets distributed”. Whatever the reason is, North Korea is slowly closing off all contact with the rest of the world during a time when they need the most help both economically and politically.

     On top of North Korea’s rejection of food aid, the North also announced that they would launch a “satelite” on April 4th. This article titled “Japan warns North Korea against rocket launching” is also from New York Times, published on March 16, 2009. It states that Japan condemned North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket that will fly over Japan and the Pacific. “Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our safety,” said the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Takeo Kawamura. Clearly, the Japanese government is hostile towards the North, even though the North claims to launch a harmless satelite. More importantly, many countries suspect that the satellite is actually a cover; the satallite is most likely to be testing the North’s Taepodongnorth_korea-2 intercontinental ballistic missle. Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso said, “They can call it a satellite or whatever, but it would be a violation of a UN resolution.” The Prime Minister also said that he would intercept the satellite before it could harm anybody. However, Kim Jong Il has said thait they will consider any act to intercept its rocket as an act of war, and he will attack Japan if they shoot down the satellite. This creates an imobolized tension between the North and Japan. If Japan intercepts the satellite, then they would be calling for war. Since Japan already developed a missile defense system, it is ready to shoot down the rocket if it falls toward its territory.

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Journal 21.

Abraham Maslow’s Hiearchy of Needs

Do morals exist for people that are starving to death?

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Abraham Maslow, born in New York, came up with the five-stage hierarchy of needs. This pyramid represents the five basic needs every man craves for. The lower levels are the more basic, fundamental needs. You are concerned with the higher needs only when satisfied with the lower needs. If the things that satisfy your lower needs are taken away, then the higher needs no longer matter to you.

The fifth step from the pyramid is the biological and physiological needs. Every person innately needs air, food, water, and shelter. This need is the same for any other creature on the planet; a very basic need that most people do not have to think about in order to satisfy. It does not require any extra thinking or analyzing. However, this basic need is the most vital need because without food and shelter, one cannot survive.

With the fifth step satisfied, you will reach for the fourth need, which is saftey. People need protection, freedom, stability, and security in order to feel safe and composed. When there is an uprising or fight, people look for the police to regain their safety.

The third step, after all the physiological needs are met, is belongingness and love needs. This social need is quite important in everyone’s life, as people long for affection, relationships, and a stable family.

Status, reputation, and achievement are all grouped under the esteem needs. People need to feel self-respect and respect for others in order to be confident with their lives. Some people live to please other because they only care about what other people think. Nevertheless, without self-esteem, a person will feel weak and inferior.

Finally, the first step on the pyramid is self-actualization. The question, “what is the purpose of my life?” is the most prominent problem. After all the other four needs are met, people start searching for their talents in life and how they can use the talent to benefit themselves or others.

According to Maslow, the order of these steps is crucial. Without satisfying the fundamental physiological needs, one does not crave for love or self-esteem. Therein lies the question of whether or not morals exist for people that are starving to death. In the Aquarium of Pyungyang, people from the concentration camps don’t even consider their reputation. They eat anything and everything they can find, including rabbits and rats. I have to say that when people are struggling to satisfy their stage 5 needs, they don’t value friendship, self-esteem, or safety. However, Maslow’s theory does not apply to every person. For example, some people who are religiously persecuted still satisfy the self-actualization need–they focus solely on their purpose/meaning in life even if they are missing the other four basic needs.