Kino and Hermes’ next visit is to a most unique country – a moving one. They spend several days (maybe I missed it or maybe it’s not clear why they were in difficult shape before this journey and needed to stay extra time here) in a gigantic, tank-like, steam powered structure filled by a happy populace. The massive unit rolls through lands and borders, leaving destruction in its wake and, as seen in the second half of the episode, sometimes rolling through country’s sovereign borders with little regard.
I admit I waited for a twist in this episode, but the twist was that there wasn’t one – from the very beginning, we see the destructive nature of the city, while the people themselves are genuinely nice. The interest in the conflict that develops and the arguments both for and against what this nation is doing. Their arguments for the wake they leave behind are flimsy, but the episodes tries to balance them out through Kino’s philosophical questioning at the end and statements about the opposing country’s blame in the conflict, and by showing that the country’s citizens, from child to president, are decent, non-violent people.
Perhaps of most interest is how a people like that can be okay with destroying nature and hurting others (if only their finances and pride). The negotiator/tour guide/immigration officer explains that the country has come to terms with the devastation they create, stating, “Every country, just like every man, causes some bother to others just by existing.”
This week, the negotiator’s quote provides my question for you:
To what extent should we be satisfied with the harm we cause others by simply existing?
Please comment your thoughts below – I’d love to hear what you think about this topic!
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4 thoughts on “Kino’s Journey ~ The Beautiful World ~ Episode 3: Live to Harm”
I was pretty appalled by the action in this episode, particularly by the traveling country and Kino’s initial apathy and later defense of it. As much as I admire the country for the unified vision to see the world, the marks they leave behind, as “minimal” as they try to make them, are bad enough to warrant they try and change the way they travel. Sure, we have great capacity to harm just by living, but we also possess a great capacity to learn and heal. Instead of accepting a minimum of damage, how about never resting in lessening that damage? I’m reminded of the hiker’s code to either leave no marks of your passing, or to leave a place better than you found it.
I did find the country with the wall too quick to violence, and find the wall as ugly a brand on the land as the tracks left by the moving country. While I understand the desire to protect their people, they didn’t even try to negotiate a way for the structure to peacefully move through the plains.
The city remind me of how a lot of people I’ve known live their lives – and maybe this is particular to Koreans. The importance of family for Koreans is paramount, which seems so outward focused and kind, but the way in which that happens proves to be very selfish. Family works together to care only about themselves and is largely unwilling to participate in things that may help others, but which they don’t particularly value, or even hurt others if it helps the family get ahead. It’s a value in the culture I try to reject, even as I see it sometimes leading to very successful families. The moving country is very successful – powerful, happy, kind to one another – but it has embraced the idea that it can only do so much for others and that they will hurt other countries, at times, as they get ahead. And of course, I find that troublesome.
I feel that they took an easy way out by portraying the other country in a negative light: we only see soldiers and their general is not exactly a pleasant guy, especially if you compare him to madam president. In the end its a case of “nice people doing a questionable thing, but its kind of ok since their victims seem like jerks so don’t fell bad about them”.
I agree. I wonder if the episode would have been even more compelling if the defending country would have been as nice as the traveling one, or at least more competent and kinder than how it was portrayed.