Rabbit Beats Humanism: Rabbit the Genius, Mr. Cha by Kim Namil

  • onOctober 20, 2014
  • Vol.8 Summer 2010
  • byJang Sungkyu
Rabbit the Genius, Mr. Cha

Kim Namil was one of Korea’s most prominent activist writers from the 1980s to early 90s. Social change and progress in the name of reason was his credo. Now he’s back with a breed of homo cuniculus that flies in the face of humanism.

The question raised in Kim Namil’s Rabbit the Genius, Mr. Cha is this: Is progress in the name of reason still a valid concept? What if humanism itself, the canon of our age, is a set of values that excludes and oppresses all other forms of life on Earth? Would that not require a complete revision of our concept of progress as defined by our ancestors? At the bottom of these questions is a fundamental skepticism of humanism, the basis of modern Western thought.

Kim Namil’s Rabbit the Genius, Mr. Cha is an important work in this sense. Is man the final product of evolution, the measure of all values? Kim begs to differ. According to the author, humanism as we know it is nothing more than a fictional ideology created by Western modernity. Therefore any progressive attempt to move beyond Western modernity poses a substantial challenge. The task before us is now clear. The worldwide spread of Western modernity is feeding the world domination of capitalism. It is impossible to fight this with modern Western humanism. Listening to non-human organisms, focusing on the power of these mutants, listening to the voices of these non-subjects is what will open the door to a new world. Kim Namil could not have painted a clearer picture of this future if he wished.