Author Jaewon Kang has taken on a monumental task: to try to answer the question posed in the beginning of his book: “What is the secret of mysterious life that nobody teaches though everybody wants to know while alive?”
In As the Wind Becomes a Flower, Kang presents nearly 400 philosophical thoughts, opinions and commentaries—some a sentence or two, some several pages— in his attempt to bring The Big Picture into focus. They offer the author’s reflections on a variety of topics: God, eternity, life and death (and everything in between), religion, our place in the universe. Some are presented in verse; others are stories, almost parables designed to impart a lesson.
Kang’s reflections can be instructive: “Enjoy whatever you want. However, no debt, no gambling, no drug, [sic] no alcohol, no smoking. Regardless of any reasons, the less tempted you are to these five evils, the more sustainable your life becomes.” Some provoke thought: “If you think you ought to do something, it is stressful. However, if you think there is something new to do, it is a joy.”
Unfortunately, most are difficult to grasp, even remotely. Consider, for example: “As humanity has a peculiar existence among all existences, a human being is more peculiar because he is alive. It is even more peculiar that life is mortal, so it is very meaningful that such a peculiar existence is united with the universal whole.”
Even the author seems to realize most readers will be challenged. He says the book shouldn’t be read in one sitting because “you are apt to lose its deep meaning” and recommends one topic at a time to allow for reflection. But no amount of contemplation will help untangle some of these ponderings.
Someone with a passing interest in different philosophies might pick up an interesting thought or two here. Most readers, though, will likely find As the Wind Becomes a Flower more puzzling than profound.
Also available in hardcover.