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The Reevaluation of Xiaoti as the Solutions to the Alienation of Old People

Suhn-Gyohng Yi 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper reveals that the alienation of old people in Korea, which has unfolded from both material and psychological aspects, reaches serious proportions. It also attempts to analyze the causes of the alienation and looks for its solutions. Sooner than expected, Korea entered an aged society in 2017. In that year, the poverty ratio of households with aged people reached 50%, and the suicide ratio among senior citizens was the world leader along with the previous years. I believe that these negative effects of alienation partly stem from the destruction of the traditional sense of values and the immaturity of the new sense of values. Here what causes the problem has to do with the dismantlement of value systems on the level of society or country as opposed to that of individuals. Thus, the problems involving the alienation of old people have to be approached from a wide perspective such as humanitarian value systems that will lead the future Korean society. This paper reinvestigates the value of xiaoti (孝悌, filial piety and fraternal love), which has dominated Confucian societies. The value of xiaoti develops into societal principles from familial ethics. In this respect, it works as a good foundation for a humanitarian community. In the community based on xiaoti, old people are not neglected as biological weaklings; rather, they are highly respected as the origin of the future generations and the focal point of familial unity. The value of xiaoti needs to be reevaluated today in that it is rooted in universal human emotions. Also, since xiaoti starts from familial ethics, co-prospering relationships must be established among family members to realize the value of xiaoti. The soundness of a society is due not only to the maintenance of its legal system, but also to the moral awareness and practice of its members. In this sense, the reevaluated principle of xiaoti should not be confined to the familial level but expand to the social level. In this paper, I argue that social policies and institutions must be based on the principle of xiaoti, while illustrating the effects of such practices with several examples.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.