Personal and public interest

Writing and etymology in Korean
사리사욕과 공익
[salisayog gwa gong-ig]
私 (사) – a personal, private matter
利 (리) – benefit
慾 (욕) – desire, greed
和 (과) – “and”
共 (공) – common, together
益 (익) – gain, benefit

Most people’s lives are lived in a constant oscillation between good and evil, between serving public and personal interests. Most of the time, people fall into a self-centered way of life. But if they continue to live that way, they will inevitably perish.

Sin, destruction and evil arise from self-interest. If a man’s personal property exceeds acceptable limits, it becomes evil. There is a limit to how much of a man’s life he can devote to personal interests, and if he exceeds that limit, his life becomes evil. Then he will begin to sin more and more and will be doomed to perdition.

The law, which gives priority to universal and public goals, supports and protects those people who sacrifice themselves for the greater good. It excludes those who pursue only self-interest and dislike to sacrifice.

In that case, what kind of people can be called good? Those who work for the good of others. What actions are good? Definitely it is the acts of self-sacrifice and service to others.

Moral education instills norms in people and teaches us to put the public good before personal interests.

If you live your life putting your own interests first, you will be constantly anxious and worried. But if you live for others for ten or twenty years straight, everyone around you will become your friend.

Of the two people, the one who voluntarily works for others-for something greater than himself-is on the side of good, and the other that pursues only his own interests is on the side of evil. Government officials should live for the good of the whole country. If, instead, they use their power to benefit their own families, they are committing evil.

A country that pursues only its own interests will inevitably perish. A country that exploits other countries and uses them as a stepping stone for its own growth and prosperity will ultimately fail.