What is Kendall’s explanation for the popularity of shamans in contemporary Korean life particularly among business entrepreneurs? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
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We live in the world of the Internet, cell phones, and other innovations that have made our world too close to technological discoveries. Many people do not pay attention to spiritual life which was so important to people several hundred years ago. Religion has remained, but it is not exactly what is meant. People do not believe in spirits anymore. This has been the problem for shamans in Korea, but they have found the solution. They have adapted to the changes in the modern world and continue their practice.
Laurel Kendall, a curator of the American Museum of Natural History, has conducted research and stated that many shamans in contemporary Korean life continue their practice. The emergence of innovative technologies has moved shamans to the background of life. Nevertheless, having been living under the influence of rituals for many years, people are unable o refuse from shaman’s services. But, several problems have made the dancing rituals impossible. Many Korean people changed their commodious houses in rural areas to small flats in the cities. These people became involved in business life where money and entrepreneurship skills play a great role. However, the desire to support the business with spiritual assumptions remains. Korean people have been living in the spiritual world for too many years to refuse from it too soon.
Laurel Kendall points to the shamans’ suitability to the modern world and new trends. Now, Korean shamans do not ask for rain, they work with business people. One of the main responsibilities of modern shamans is to deal with human fear and anxiety. It seems that modern shamans are more like business consultants and psychological advisors who offer pieces of advice devoted to how to make business in a risky environment. Kendall says that many people blame their temporary disregard for spirits as the cause of the unstable financial situation in the world. Shamans have tried to adapt to modern tendencies and it is possible to see the work of shamans via the Internet and the use of other information technologies.
I agree with Kendall that one of the main reasons for Koreans’ return o shamans is the inner feeling to spiritual life. The ancestries of the modern Korans believed in spirits and delivered this belief from one generation to another. Rituals have been an integral part of life of many nations. The intrusion of the innovative technologies is unable to change human consideration of live within several years. Too many years must pass in order to make people forget about shamans and their helping power. But do people need it? Living in the modern world, many people want to appear somewhere far from problems and other concerning issues. High attention to roots and religion in the way it exists now in the contemporary Korean life helps us draw a conclusion that it is impossible to eradicate a tradition. Asking spirits for blessing to carry problems in the risky business environmental, Korean people support shamans’ tradition which will be carried to their children and further descendants. The habit to believe in something unnatural, to ask for spiritual power and blessing is going to remain for many years as the pieces of advice modern shamans offer are based on psychological research and they give positive results.