The ideas of the Silhak school are a patriotic and progressive ideological trend which was formed in Korea in the mid-17th century and existed until the mid-19th century.
The scholars of the Silhak school called for “seeking truth from the fact” and “practical science” and devoted themselves to their studies for developing the country.
Jong Yak Yong, a typical realist in the early 19th century, enthusiastically studied the advanced ideology and science and technology.
Doctor and Associate Professor Ju Song Chol, Section Chief of the History Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences, says: “Jong Yak Yong recognized the theory that the earth turns by itself and clarified that the natural phenomena such as rain, snow, thunder and high and low tides are not mysterious on the basis of his careful observation. Stressing the need to develop technology, he made researches into agriculture, spinning and weaving, ship and bridge building, castle construction and others and invented a machine similar to crane today, making a great contribution to the development of science and technology of Korea between the late 18th century and the early 19th century.”
Jong Yak Yong made a deep study of the history, geography and language of Korea as well and developed them onto a considerably high stage in different aspects. On the basis of such achievements, he had a very progressive idea at that time.
He criticized the unreasonable politics of those days hindering the economic development of the country and weakening the national defence power and presented some proposals. He also wrote on his ideal plan for politics, economy and culture. His views of socio-economic issues were very progressive at that time.
Jong Yak Yong was also a prominent literate. He emphasized the importance of “will” and opposed metooism and formalism in creation. In the poem “Song of Starved People” and other works, he sympathized with the miserable plight of the people and exposed the harsh plunder of the feudal bureaucrats.
More than 2,400 proses and poetry written by Jong Yak Yong are carried in his collection of works.