The Expedition to Living Knowledge
Professor Yoo Yeong-mahn, the explorer of the knowledge ecosystem
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Mark Twain said that every person is a book, each year a chapter. People seek the meaning of life through their experiences. Here is Professor You Yeong-mahn (Department of Educational Technology), a knowledge ecologist who integrates people's experiences into new knowledge.
Communicating with the public
You is well-known for his active communication with the public. You featured intermittently in television programs such as tvN’s No Way I’m an Adult and CBS’s Sebasi Talk. You delivers simple but permeating messages – such as tree (namu) does not blame (namurada) anyone. “There is a big difference between the role of a university lecturer and a public speaker,” said You. “The message should be concise and thought-provoking towards the public.”
Knowledge ecology labels the general public as an agent of knowledge management. You's exposure to mass media is deeply related to knowledge ecology. You has published 88 books that meet the public interest. Besides, You posts a series of articles through social media where he interacts with his subscribers.
You recently published Do Not Meet Someone Like This, which builds on his posts on Brunch, an SNS platform. It is a book that covers human relations. “What determines who I am is who I meet,” said You. “People should reflect on themselves before judging others.”
Curved rather than being straightforward
You recalled his astonishment upon reading the comments on an article introducing Do Not Meet Someone Like This. “Some expressed mere anger and hostility without even reading the book,” said You. “What I found was a heartless atmosphere in society.”
You referred to modern society as ‘straightforward,’ where you are faced with fierce competition. “People are demanded to aim further, work harder, and achieve faster,” explained You. “All that remains is emptiness.” You criticized current social conditions by citing Antoni Gaudi’s words, "The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God." The knowledge ecologist proposed ‘curved’ values such as – diversity, harmony, and flexibility – as an alternative social discourse.
“Curved values are enlightened through experience,” said You. The professor defined them as wisdom accumulated from continuous trial and error. They provide solutions to hardship with insights that hit the bull's-eye.
Experience as the source of creativity
You recounted how his experiences led to creativity. “I helped my parents as a farmer, worked as a welder, and read books as a student,” said the knowledge ecologist. You said his experiences converged into a database. Along with extensive reading, it became a source of his unique content.
You encouraged students of Hanyang to compile their database. “You need language to visualize what you think,” advised You. “There is no sense if you are in the absence of vocabulary.” The professor suggested that students read and behave. “Reading is rather physical labor than mental labor,” said You. “In order to master what you read, experience and reading should be done at the same time.”
Some people say that a concept without experience is vain, and a thoughtless experience is dangerous. You is exploring the ecosystem of knowledge through his experience and interaction with the public.
Oh Kyu-jin firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Ju-eun
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