A Summary of Unification Thought
Theory of the Original Image
I. Content of the Original Image
II. Structure of the Original Image
III. Traditional Ontologies and Unification Thought
Ontology: A Theory of Being
I. Individual Truth Being
II Connected Being
Theory of the Original Human Nature
I. A Being With Divine Image
II. A Being with Divine Character
III. A Being with Position
V. A Unification Thought Appraisal of the Existentialist Analysis of Human Existence
Axiology: A Theory of Value
I. Meaning of Axiology and Significance of Value
II. Divine Principle Foundation for Axiology
III. Kinds of Value
IV. Essence of Value
V. Determination of Actual Value and Standard of Value
VI.Weaknesses in the Traditional Views of Value
VII.Establishing the New View of Value
VIII.Historical Changes in the View of Value
Theory of Education
I. The Divine Principle Foundation for a Theory of Education
II. The Three Forms of Education
III. The Image of the Ideal Educated Person
IV. Traditional Theories of Education
V. An Appraisal of Traditional Theories of Education from the Standpoint of Unification Thought
I. The Divine Principle Foundation for Ethics
II. Ethics and Morality
III. Order and Equality
IV.Appraisal of Traditional Theories of Ethics from the Viewpoint of the Unification Theory of Ethics
Theory of Art
I. The Divine Principle Foundation for the New Theory of Art
II. Art and Beauty
III. The Dual Purpose of Artistic Activity: Creation and Appreciation
IV. Requisites for Artistic Appreciation
V. Technique, Materials, and Style in Artistic Creation
VI. Requisites for Artistic Appreciation
VII.Unity in Art
VIII.Art and Ethics
IX. Types of Beauty
X. A Critique and Counterproposal to Socialist Realism
Theory of History
I. The Basic Positions of the Unification View of History
II. The Laws of Creation
III. The Laws of Restoration
IV. Changes In History
V. Traditional Views of History
VI. Comparative Analysis of Providential View, Materialist View, and Unification View
I. Traditional Epistemologies
II. Unification Epistemology
III. Kant's and Marx's Epistemologies from the Perspective of Unification Thought
I. Traditional Systems of Logic
II. Unification Logic
III. An Appraisal of Traditional Systems of Logic from the Perspective of Unification Thought
I. Historical Review
II. Unification Methodology - The Give-and-Receive Method
III. An Appraisal of Conventional Methodologies from the Perspective of Unification Thought
I. Principle of Mutual Existence, Mutual Prosperity and Mutual Righteousness
II. Three Great Subjects Thought
III. Significance of the Four Great Realms of Heart and the Three Great Kingships
Axiology: A Theory of Value
contemporary age is an age of great confusion and
turmoil. Wars and conflicts continue unabatedly, and innumerable alarming and
tragic phenomena, including terrorism, destruction, arson, kidnapping, murder,
drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual immorality, family breakdown, injustice,
corruption, oppression, conspiracy, and slander, are occurring worldwide. At
the vortex of this turmoil, humankind’s most valuable assets are now almost
obliterated. I am referring to the loss of personal human dignity, the loss of
time-honored traditions, the loss of the dignity of life, the loss of mutual
trust among people, the loss of the authority of parents and teachers, and the
list goes on.
cause of such confusion and turmoil is the decline of traditional values. That
is to say, the traditional values of truth, goodness, and beauty are being lost
sight of. Among these, the value of goodness in particular, is disappearing,
and existing ethics and morals are rapidly collapsing. What is causing this
ominous collapse of traditional values?
First, in virtually
every field, including economics, politics, society, education, and art, a
sense of God is being excluded as religion is neglected. Since many traditional
values are based on religion, those values which are losing their religious
basis can not but decline.
atheism, secularism, and especially the viewpoints of Communism, are
infiltrating everywhere, undermining traditional values. Communism has been working
to divide people into opposing classes and then to foment conflicts between
those classes by increasing mistrust and instigating hostilities everywhere. In
so doing, it has been very critical of traditional values, attempting to
destroy them by claiming that such values are feudalistic, intended solely to
maintain existing social systems.
among religions and philosophies themselves are hastening the collapse of
values. Values are established on the basis of religions and philosophies; therefore,
if disagreements among religions and philosophies exist, many people will come
to regard these values as merely relative in nature. As a result, an increasing
number of people are coming to believe that it is no longer necessary for them
to respect such values.
Finally, the virtues
extolled by traditional religions (such as Con-fucianism, Buddhism,
Christianity, and Islam) are losing their power to persuade modern people, who
are inclined to think more scientifically. The teachings of traditional
religions often have contents which contradict scientific facts. Accordingly,
they become unacceptable to modern people, who have come to place great
confidence in science.
When we analyze the
causes of the collapse of traditional values in this way, we come to realize
that there is an urgent need for a new and fresh value perspective. Without
such a fresh, new perspective, we may not be able to adequately prepare
ourselves for the ideal world to come in the future. Then, what should such a
new value perspective be like? First of all, it must be able to embrace the
fundamental teachings of all religions and thought systems. Also, it must be
able to overcome materi-alism and atheism. Furthermore, it must be able to
embrace and even guide science. Ultimately, it must be a value perspective
centered on the true love of God. It is precisely such a value perspective as
this that is so urgently needed today so that we may prepare for the future
Then, let us examine
as concretely as we can what the future society we should be preparing for
might be like. This future society will be created by original human beings,
people of integrity who experience God’s Heart and who have perfected their
characters. A person of character is one in whom intellect, emotion, and will
have developed fully and harmoniously, centering on heart. Accordingly, the
future society will be established by people whose intellect, emotion, and will
are developed harmoniously centering on God’s Heart. Here, implicitly, the idea
of new values refers to those values sought after by the original faculties of
intellect, emotion, and will.
The faculties of
intellect, emotion, and will seek the values of truth, beauty and goodness,
respectively, and through these, a true, artistic, and ethical society will
inevitably be actualized. A true society is a society realized through one’s
pursuit of truth; an artistic society is a society realized through one’s
pursuit of beauty; and an ethical society is a society realized through one’s
pursuit of goodness.
To empower one’s
pursuit of such values as these, a theory of education is necessary for the
realization of a true society; a theory of art is required for the realization
of an artistic society; and a theory of ethics is required for the realization of
an ethical society. Since axiology is a theory which addresses the values of
truth, goodness, and beauty in general, it is a comprehensive theory serving as
a basis for these three more particular theoretical viewpoints.
The future society
will thus be a society wherein the values of truth, goodness, and beauty will
be fully realized; in this society, the economy will achieve the highest level
of development through the progress of science, completely solving, once and
for all, all of society’s economic problems. People’s lives will come to be
focused primarily on the enjoy-ment of values, even as they are realizing them.
The society wherein the values of truth, goodness, and beauty, centered on
heart, are realized is a society of heart, creating a culture of heart; this is
a society with a unified culture.
I have so far
explained that a new value perspective is necessary in order to prepare for the
future society. Yet, this new value perspective is necessary not only for
preparing for the future society, but perhaps even more importantly, it is
necessary in order to clear the confusion of our present world. As mentioned,
in today’s world values are generally collapsing due to various factors. In
order to solve this problem, there exists an urgent need to re-establish a
proper value perspective.
A new value
perspective is also essential in the effort to unify cultures. That is, in
order to fundamentally solve the world’s present-day confusion, it will be
necessary to bring various traditional cultures into harmony. Cultures are
based on certain religions or thoughts, and those religions and thoughts all
advocate certain values. Therefore, in order to unite cultures, it is necessary
to unite the various value perspectives such as the Christian view of value,
the Buddhist view of value, the Confucian view of value, and so on. Also, it is
necessary to unite the views of value of the East and the West. Therefore, once
again, it is necessary to present a new view of value which can genuinely
embrace all value perspectives.
I. Meaning of Axiology and Significance of Value
Before outlining the
new view of value, let me first explain about the meaning of axiology, and the
meaning of value.
Value theory is
dealt with in economics, in ethics, and in various other disciplines. In
philosophy, axiology refers to the philosophy of value. In other words, it is
that field of philosophy that deals with value in general. The content of
axiology, even fragmentarily, can already be found in ancient times. But, it is
in modern times, especially after Kant made his well-known distinction between
fact and value, that axiology became an important field of study in philosophy.
Rudolph H. Lotze (1817-81), who made a distinction between value and existence,
whereby value is regarded as being in contradistinction to existence, argued
that existence is comprehended with the intellect, while value is comprehended
with the emotion. He became the founder of axiology by introducing the clear
concept of value into philosophy.
What Are Values?
Since the term “value”
was originally derived from economic life, it refers mainly to economic value.
Today, however, the term has become more generalized, being used in almost all
areas of human activity, including society, politics, economics, law, morality,
art, learning, religion, etc. In the Unification Thought view, there are both
material values and spiritual values. Material values are connected with the
daily necessities of human life, such as commodities; on the other hand,
spiritual values refer to those values corresponding to the faculties of
intellect, emotion, and will, namely, the values of truth, beauty, and
goodness. Of these two kinds, Unification Axiology deals primarily with the
It has generally
been thought difficult to define the concept of value and that there was no
other way to deal with it than to analyze it through those phenomena related to
it.1 In the theory of axiology presented here, however, value is
defined as that quality of an object that satisfies the desire of the subject.
That is, when an object has a certain quality that satisfies the desire or wish
of the subject and which is recognized as such by the subject, then that
special quality of the object can be called value. In other words, value is
something that belongs to an object; yet, unless it is recognized as valuable
by the subject, it does not become actual value. For example, even though there
may exist a flower, unless someone (the subject) perceives the beauty of that
flower, the actual value (beauty) of the flower does not manifest. In this way,
in order for value to become actual, there is a need for a process in which a
subject must recognize the quality of an object and must appraise that quality
As explained above,
value refers to the quality of an object that satisfies the desire of a
subject. Therefore, in order to discuss values, we need to analyze the desire
of the subject. Philosophical attempts to deal with questions of value (including
material value) have generally focused on objective phenomena alone, excluding
consideration of human desire. They have, therefore, been inadequate, like a
tree without roots. A tree without roots withers. Accordingly, existing thought
systems are revealing their insufficiency today as regards solving various
economic theories, which deal with material values, have become relatively
useless in solving the phenomena of the current economic confusion. Many
complex problems, which even many econo-mists did not anticipate, are also
emerging, such as the impact that labor-management relations can have on
business results. Why is this? The primary reason is that economists have not
correctly analyzed human desire itself. Although they know that the motivation
of economic activity is human desire, they have not engaged in any serious
analysis of this desire. In order to understand such phenomena correctly, we
should begin by analyzing human desire. Prior to this, however, let us first
address the Divine Principle foundation of axiology, so that we may begin with
the proper context.
II. Divine Principle Foundation for Axiology
According to the
Divine Principle, the human being, as a united being of Sungsang and Hyungsang,
has both purpose and desire. Desire is part of the original human nature given
by God (DP , 70). Furthermore, purpose and desire both have a dual
nature. Unification Axiology is formulated on the basis of these fundamental
Hyungsang and Dual Purposes
As a created being,
a human being is endowed with a certain purpose for being created (namely, God’s
purpose of creation). A human being, endowed with such a purpose is, at the
same time, a united being of Sungsang and Hyungsang, namely, a
dual being of spirit self and physical self, or a dual being of spirit mind and
physical mind. To say that a human being has a purpose for being created means
that Sungsang and Hyungsang both have a purpose. The former is
called the Sungsang purpose and the latter is called the Hyungsang
purpose. Together we may call them the “dual purposes,” and they correspond to
the dual characteristics of Sung-sang and Hyungsang.
refers to the spirit mind, and Hyungsang refers to the physical mind. Thus,
the Sungsang purpose is the purpose of the spirit mind, which is to
guide us in leading a life emphasizing truth, goodness, beauty, and love, and
the Hyungsang purpose is the purpose of the physical mind, which is to
guide us in leading a life emphasizing food, clothing, shelter, and sexual
Hyungsang and Dual Desires
A human being is, as
just noted, a united being of Sungsang and Hyungsang, namely, a
being with a dual mind (spirit mind and physical mind). Therefore, human desire
functions in these two modes, namely, there is a Sungsang desire and
there is a Hyungsang desire. The Sungsang desire is the desire of
the spirit mind which seeks after truth, goodness, beauty, and love, whereas
the Hyungsang desire is the desire of the physical mind which seeks
after food, clothing, shelter, and sexual fulfillment. These are “dual desires.”
Dual Purposes, Dual
Desires and Dual Values
According to the
Divine Principle, a human being is a connected being with dual purposes: the
purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual (DP , 33).
Thus, the Sungsang and the Hyungsang of the mind are connected to
the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual, respectively.
Accordingly, both Sungsang purpose and Hyung-sang purpose have
the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual.
A desire is an
impulse of the mind to achieve a certain purpose. Accordingly, desire seeks to
achieve both the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual. The
former is called the “desire to realize value,” and the latter is called the “desire
to seek value.” Together these are called the “dual desires for value.” This
means that both the Sungsang desire and the Hyungsang desire are
for realizing the dual purposes. In other words, both the Sungsang
desire and the Hyungsang desire have the desire to realize value and the
desire to seek value.
Dual values can be
explained in connection with dual purposes and dual desires. In the same way
that there are dual purposes and dual desires, so too, there are dual values:
the “value to be realized” and the “value to be sought.” “The value to be
realized” refers to the value that is to be realized or that has been realized.
“The value to be sought” refers to the value that is to be sought or that has
been sought. Dual purposes, dual desires, and dual values all correspond with
one another. An arrangement of the duality of desire, purpose, and value in
relation to dual mind (spirit mind and physical mind) is shown in table 4.1.
Origin of Desire
and Purpose of Creation
For what purpose do
human desires exist? They exist in order that we might realize the purpose of
creation. God’s purpose of creation is for God to receive joy through loving
His object partners (human beings and all things). For created beings, however,
their purpose of creation is the purpose for which they were created.
Particularly for human beings, the purpose for being created is to return
beauty and give joy to God. Accordingly, the purpose for which human beings
were created can be fulfilled through their realization of the three great
blessings, namely, to be fruitful, to multiply, and to have dominion over all
things (Gen. 1:28). Therefore, the purpose of creation for human beings is none
other than their completion of the three great blessings.
If, at the time of
the creation of human beings, God had given them only this purpose but had not
given them desire, then the most they would have been capable of doing would be
to come up with the mere thought, “There is a purpose of creation,” or “There
are the three great blessings.” They would not have felt any necessity for
putting such thoughts into action. If this had been the case, then the purpose
of creation and the three great blessings could never have been realized.
Therefore, God also needed to give human beings the impulsive will to actualize
that purpose, the impulse of the mind to do or obtain something. This impulse
to do so, is desire. Accordingly, driven by an innate impulse to achieve the
purpose of creation, namely, to fulfill the three great blessings, human beings
gradually grow to maturity. This desire, with which human beings have been
endowed by God, is centered on heart.
A human being is a
connected being possessing dual purposes, namely, the purpose for the whole and
the purpose for the individual. Accordingly, the purpose of creation is to
fulfill the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual. The
purpose for the whole, for human beings, is to realize true love, namely, to
serve one’s family, society, people, nation, and world, and ultimately God, the
Parent of humankind: the purpose for the whole is to give joy to humankind and
to God. On the other hand, the purpose for the individual is to live for one’s
own growth and to seek one’s own joy. Not only human beings, but also all
things, have a purpose for the whole and a purpose for the individual. This is
the two-fold nature of the purpose of creation, or the purpose for being
The way in which the
purpose of creation is accomplished by all things non-human is different from
the way in which human beings accomplish their purpose. Inorganic substances
fulfill their purpose of creation following natural law; plants, by following
the autonomy of the principle (life) within them; and animals, by following
their instinct. Human beings, however, must in addition accomplish their
purpose of creation by following and satisfying the desire given to them by
God, using their own free will, and fulfilling their own responsibility. As mentioned
already, desire is the impulse of the mind to attain a certain purpose. Just as
purpose has duality, namely, the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the
individual, there are also dual desires, the desire to realize value and the
desire to seek value. Corresponding to the dual purposes and dual desires,
value itself also has a duality, namely, realized value and sought-after value,
as shown in table 4.1.
III. Kinds of Value
Value is that
quality in an object that satisfies the desire of the subject. As desires of a
dual being of Sungsang and Hyungsang, human desires can be
divided into Sungsang desire and Hyungsang desire; as a
consequence, there exist also Sungsang value and Hyungsang value.
Sungsang value is a spiritual value which satisfies the Sungsang
desire: it consists of truth, goodness, beauty, and love. To be precise, love
is the basis for the values of truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, beauty, and
goodness are the values corresponding to the three faculties of the mind,
namely, intellect, emotion and will. That is to say, when the subject appraises
an element of the object as being valuable, the subject appraises it as truth,
beauty, or goodness, according to the faculties of intellect, emotion, or will,
value, which satisfies the Hyungsang
desire, includes those material values (commodity values) of daily necessities,
such as food, clothing, and shelter. Material value is the value necessary for
maintaining physical life, or that value which satisfies the desire of the
physical mind. Physical life is the condition for the growth of the spirit self
and for the fulfillment of the three great blessings; thus Hyungsang
value is a prerequisite for the realization of Sungsang value.
Love is the basis
for the values of truth, goodness and beauty. Let me explain this in more
detail. The more a subject loves an object, and the more the object loves the
subject, the truer, the better, and more beautiful the object comes to appear
to the subject. For example, the more parents love their children and the more
children love their parents, the more beautiful the children will appear. When
children look more beautiful, the parents will feel like loving them even more.
The same thing can be said of truth and goodness. The more parents love their
children and the more children love their parents, the truer and the better
children will appear. In this way, truth, goodness and beauty come into being
on the foundation of love. Of course, there are many cases wherein truth,
goodness and beauty can be felt without love. Strictly speaking, however, in
such cases the subject unconsciously has love within his or her
In this way, love is
truly the source and foundation of value. Without love, true value will not
appear. Accordingly, the more we experience the Heart of God and lead a life of
love, the more we will experience and actualize brilliant value. As mentioned
already, value consists of Sungsang values and Hyungsang values.
Unification Axiology deals primarily with Sungsang values.
IV. Essence of Value
Essence of value
and actual value
There are two ways
in which to understand value: one is to consider the very essence of value,
some quality which is possessed by the object, and the other is to consider the
actualization of value, which takes place in the relationship between subject
and object. The former is called “potential value,” and the latter, “actual
value.” When it is said that value is that quality of an object which can
potentially satisfy the desire of a subject, the value being referred to is
potential value. Actual value is something that is necessarily appraised in our
actual life, and such appraisal is actually carried out during the give and
receive action between a subject and an object. The value determined by such an
appraisal may be called actual value.
then, is the quality of an object, or the essence of value, which refers to the
contents, attributes, conditions, and so on of the object. The values of truth,
goodness, and beauty themselves are not realized in the object itself, but are
only latent in the object as the essence that can be realized as actual only
through a relationship with the subject. Through that relationship they become actual
concretely, is the essence of value? The essence of value consists of the
object’s purpose of creation and the harmony existing between paired elements
in the object. Every created being has a purpose for which it was created,
namely, its purpose of creation. For example, a flower has the purpose to give
joy to people through its beauty. Not only in the beings created by God, but
also in things produced by people (e.g., art works and commodities) there are
always purposes for which they were created.
The harmony between
paired elements refers to the harmony between subject element and object
element. Since all things are individual truth beings, they have within
themselves correlative elements of subject and object, such as Sungsang
and Hyungsang, yang and yin, and principal element and subordinate
element. Harmony is realized through the give and receive action between these
correlative elements. The give and receive action here referred to is that of
the comparison type. In this way, the situation wherein the paired elements are
harmonized centering on the purpose of creation is a situation wherein the
essence of value, or potential value, exists.
V. Determination of Actual Value and Standard of Value
A. Determination of Value
Value is determined,
or appraised, through a give and receive action between a person (subject) and
an object. The condition that must exist in the object, the “object requisite,”
is, as mentioned above, a harmony between its paired elements, centering on its
purpose of creation. On the other hand, there are also certain conditions that
must exist in the subject (human being), the “subject requisites,” in order for
value to be deter-mined. First, the subject must possess the desire to seek
value; next, the subject must have a concern for, or interest in, the object.
Moreover, one’s philosophy, taste, individuality, education, view of life,
outlook on history, world view, and so on, which one (as subject) possesses as
subjective elements are all conditions that will influence any determination of
value. These subjective elements, including the desire to seek value and an
interest in the object, are the “subject requisites” which the subject
necessarily must have. Actual value is determined through the correlative relationship
between these subject requisites and object requisites (see fig. 4.1).
When both the
subject requisites and the object requisites are present, give and receive
action will take place between the subject and the object, and this is how
value is determined. Determining concrete value means determining the quantity
and quality of value. The quantity of value refers to the quantitative
appraisal of value, such as “very beautiful,” or “not so beautiful.” There are
also qualitative differences in value. For example, in beauty there are various
nuances, such as graceful beauty, awesome beauty, solemn beauty, comic beauty,
and so on. These are qualitative differences in value.
B. Subjective Action
already, subjective elements significantly influence the determination of
value. That is to say, the particular actual value which an individual subject
will feel is determined when such subjective elements as one’s own philosophy,
taste, individuality, education, view of life, outlook on history, world view,
and so on, are projected upon the object (or added to the objective
requisites), and reflected back once again.
For example, when
the moon is observed by different people, it may appear sad to one person but
happy to another. Even when the same person looks at the moon, if the person is
sad, the moon may look sad, but if the person is happy, the moon may look
happy. Differences in beauty arise depending on the mood of the subject. This
can be said not only about beauty, but about truth and goodness as well; the
same applies to the value of commodities. Thus, quantitative and qualitative
differences in value arise because the subject’s subjectivity is projected onto
the object, and reflected back. In other words, the subject conditions
significantly influence the determination of value. This effect is called “subjective
action.” It refers to the action through which a subject’s subjectivity is
projected upon an object, and reflected back.
corresponds to the idea of “empathy” in aesthetics as mentioned by T. Lipps
(1851-1914). Empathy means that when one looks at natural scenery, or
appreciates a work of art, one projects one’s feeling or idea upon the object,
and appreciates it. Let me cite a few examples of subjective action. While speaking
about heart, Rev. Moon said,
Suppose the Son of
God gave you a handkerchief. That handkerchief is worth more than gold, more
than life, more than anything else in the world. If you are a real Son of God,
whatever humble place you may lay yourself, it is a palace. Then our clothing
is no problem, and the place we sleep is no problem, because we are already rich.
We are the princes of God.2
The meaning here is
that if one is aware that he is the son of God, even a shabby hut would seem
like a luxurious palace. This is an appropriate example of subjective action.
There is a passage in the Bible: “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you”
(Luke 17:21), which is also an example of subjective action. In Buddhism also,
there is a saying, “The three realms are only manifestations of the mind.” This
means that all the phenomena of the three realms (i.e., the entire world) are
manifestations of the mind.3 This is also an example of subjective
C. Standard for Determining Value
As a result of
subjective action, the determination (or appraisal) of value will differ
according to different individual subjects. Yet, when there are many
commonalities in the subject conditions, there will also be many points of agreement
in the appraisal of value. Among people who believe in the same religion or
philosophy, the way they feel about values will be almost the same. For
example, “filial piety toward parents,” which is a virtue of Confucianism, is
always highly appraised and is universally held as good in Confucian societies.
This means that
among people who have the same religion or thought, the unification of values
is quite possible. For example, during the period of the Pax Romana, the Stoic
spirit of self-control and cosmopolitanism were the dominant, unifying values.
During the Tang period in China and the period of Unified Shilla on the Korean
peninsula, when Buddhism was the state religion, Buddhist morality was the
central value system. In the United States, a Christian nation, the Christian
(especially Protestant) moral view has been the unifying value system of the
Differences in the
views of value do arise, however, among different religions, different
cultures, and different philosophies. For example, in Hinduism, eating beef is
prohibited, whereas in Islam, eating beef is allowed, but one is not allowed to
eat pork. Another example is when Communists talk about peace; in so doing they
mean something quite different from what that same term means in the free
Thus, in those
regions and societies where people have the same religion or thought, their
views of value become almost identical. Between different religions or thought
systems, however, the views of value are not identical. In such cases, the
agreement in the view of value is limited to a certain sphere. In this way,
when standards for value judgment apply only to a limited sphere, we can call
them “relative standards.”
can not be unified on the basis of such relative value standards, nor will the
conflicts and struggles resulting from differences in values come to an end if
we base ourselves on relative standards alone. In order to realize true peace
for all humankind, a standard for value judgment must be established such that
it can apply to all people in common, transcending all differences in religion,
culture, thought, nationality, and so on. This standard of value appraisal
would be an absolute standard.
Then, is it possible
to establish such an absolute standard and, if so, how can it be done? In order
to show that it is possible, we must first clarify that the causal being of the
universe, the being who gave rise to all religions, cultures, thought systems,
and all ethnic groups, is only one, and is an absolute being. Furthermore, we
must discern the various commonalities which originate from this causal being.
As was explained in
detail in “Ontology,” all things in the universe exist in innumerable ways, but
they all move in a specific order and according to certain laws. Also, all
things have common attributes. The reason for this is that all things in the
universe were created in resemblance to the causal being, or God. Likewise,
although there are many religions, cultures, philosophies, and ethnic groups,
all of them being different from one another, if there is one causal being that
gave rise to all of them, then there must be certain commonalities shared by
all of them, which originate from that causal being, or fundamental being.
have emerged throughout history, but they were not just arbitrarily established
by their founders. In order to save all of humankind, ultimately, God
established specific founders in specific regions and at specific periods of
time, seeking to save the people of each region and in each period. This is
because God has been carrying on the dispensation of salvation for peoples of
different languages, different customs, and different environments, and He has
established religions in such a way that each was most suitable for a
particular age, and for each region.
Thus, in order to
discover the commonalities among the different religions, it is necessary to
clarify that the causal being, who established all religions, is one and the
same being. The causal being of all things in the universe is variously called Jehovah
in Judaism, Allah in Islam, Brahman in Hinduism, Tathatā in
Buddhism, and Heaven in Confucianism. According to Unification Thought, all of
these terms refer to the same being as the term God in Christianity.
Yet, the attributes
of this causal being, or fundamental being, have not been clearly stated in any
of these religions. For example, in Confucianism, the concrete nature of Heaven
is not sufficiently explained, nor is there a sufficient explanation given
about Tathatā in Buddhism, or about Brahman in Hinduism. The same
thing can be said about God in Christianity, Jehovah in Judaism,
and Allah in Islam.
Beyond this, the
reason why the causal being has created humankind and the universe has not been
clearly explained by these various religions; nor is it explained why this
causal being has not been able to more quickly save suffering humanity.
Accordingly, this causal being, as understood in the various religions, has
been vague, as if hidden by a veil. Furthermore, since each religion grasps
only certain aspects of this causal being, this being appears to be different
in the different religions.
In order to show
that the causal being of these different religions is, ultimately, one and the
same being, we need to understand correctly the attributes of God, His purpose
of creation, the laws (or Logos) of the creation of the universe, and so on. If
we were to acquire such an under-standing, we could quickly come to realize
that the people of all religions are brothers and sisters originating from one
and the same God. We would also be able to put an end to the long-lasting
conflicts and struggles among religions, and could come to reconcile with one
another and love one another. Thus, we will find that a correct knowledge of
the nature of God is the key to the solution of actual problems. The same thing
can be said with regard to cultures, philosophies, and peoples. Once we
understand that the fundamental being that gave rise to all cultures,
philosophies, and peoples is one and the same being, then the common-alities
among them can also be clarified.
concretely, are the commonalities that can become an absolute standard in the
appraisal of values? They are God’s love (absolute love) and God’s truth
(absolute truth). God created humankind in order to obtain joy through love.
The love of God has been expressed variously, as agape in Christianity,
mercy in Buddhism, jen (benevolence) in Confucianism, compassion in
Islam, and so on. The teachings of love in all religions were inspired from the
love of the one God. God’s love is especially manifested among human beings in
the form of the three object partners’ loves, namely parents’ love, love of
husband and wife, and children’s love. (If children’s love is further
differentiated into their love for their parents and love they share among
themselves, namely brotherly/sisterly love, we arrive at four object partners’
loves.) The practice of love for one’s neighbor in Christianity, the practice
of mercy in Buddhism, the practice of jen in Confucianism, the practice
of compassion in Islam, and so on, have all been emphasized in order to
actualize these three object partners’ loves.
Since the eternal
God created the universe, the truth or law through which God created the universe
and which governs all the movements of the universe, is also eternal and
universal. The fundamental law of the universe is that all beings exist, not
for their own sake, but for the sake of others, for the sake of the whole, and
for the sake of God. That is to say, they are beings for others. Accordingly,
the universal standard of good and evil is whether one lives for other people
(humankind) or lives for oneself in a self-centered way.4
and Human Individuality
As explained above,
an absolute standard for the appraisal of values comes to be established only
through God’s true love and truth, and this appraisal can become identical
among all humankind. Then, what about a person’s unique individuality? Since a
value judgment is influenced to some extent by the subjective elements of
individual persons, certain differences in value judgment necessarily arise,
depending on different individualities. Then, the question may be raised: “If
value judgments should become identical in view of an absolute standard, won’t
human individuality be disregarded?”
Fortunately, even if
the value judgment does become identical in the context of an absolute
standard, individuality will neither be disregarded nor abolished, but rather
it will be preserved as it is. Let us look at the reason for this.
Since human beings
are individual truth beings, they resemble God’s Universal Image (commonality),
and His Individual Images (particularity). Also, since they are connected
beings, they exist with both the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the
individual. Accordingly, an absolute standard for value judgment is connected
to the universal image and the purpose for the whole, while one’s subjective
action is connected to the individual image and the purpose for the individual.
These are always united.
Thus, even if
absolute values are determined by an absolute standard, naturally there will
still exist individual differences due to subjective action. In other words,
absolute value is a universal value which includes individual differences, in
the same way as when one finds that in an individual truth being the universal
image includes the individual image. Human beings, through their individual
image, pursue the purpose for the whole; they thus express their individual
image while maintaining the universal image.
appraisal of value, though based on an absolute standard, can not be done apart
from one’s subjective action based on one’s individuality. Nevertheless,
individual differences must still be based on commonality. As long as there is
a common base, there will be no confusion in value perspectives. This is
because the differences in such cases are not qualitative but quantitative.
For example, in the
case of the appraisal of goodness, “to help the poor” is judged as good
regardless of religion and thought. In the ideal world, there will be no one
who judges it as evil (qualitative judgment). However, depending upon persons,
there can be quantitative differences such as judging it as “very good,” or “moderately
good,” or “ordinarily good.” The same thing can be said of the judgments of
beauty and of truth. In sum, an absolute standard in the appraisal of value
refers to the agreement of the qualitative judgment. In fallen egoistic society,
however, qualitative differences have arisen and, as a result, a confusion of
values has also emerged.
Unification Thought, the establishment of a new view of value and the
unification of existing views of value become possible. It is possible to unite
the various standards of value appraisal, centering on absolute love and
absolute truth, while yet preserving individuality in the value appraisal. This
new view of value is one based on the absolute love and truth of God. This new
view of value is none other than the view of absolute value.5
Absolute value can harmonize and embrace all value systems. This can bring the
unification of various views of value. In order to unify systems of value in
this way, the correct understanding of God’s attributes, His purpose of
creation, Heart, Love, Logos, and so on are required as prerequisites. The
unification of religions and the unification of thought systems becomes
possible through such a unification of the views of value.
VI. Weaknesses in the Traditional Views of Value
As already stated,
one of the causes of the collapse of values today is that traditional systems
of value-primarily religious systems-have lost their persuasive
power, their ability to persuade people. Why have the traditional views of value
lost their persuasive power? Let us look at some representative cases.
A. Weaknesses in the Christian View of Value
promotes excellent virtues, as expressed in the following biblical passages:
“You shall love your
neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39).
“Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).
“Whatever you wish
that men would do to you, do so to them” (The Golden Rule, Matt 7:12).
“Blessed are the
poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those
who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the
meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure
in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those
who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
“So, faith, hope,
love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
“The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Christianity there are many other virtues, it is stated that “love builds up”
(1 Cor. 8:1), which means that the basis for all virtues is love. It is also
stated that “Love is of God…. God is love” (1 John 4:7-8), which means that the basis of love is God.
Yet, in our modern
age the existence of God came to be denied by Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Marx,
Russell, Sartre, and many others. Christianity has not been able to respond
effectively to such God-denying philosophies. That is to say, in the
confrontation between theism and atheism, Christianity has lost ground. As a
result, a great number of people have become influenced by atheism.
challenge has been issued by Communism against the Christian view of value.
Communists deny the concepts of absolute love and love for humankind, as asserted
in Christianity, and insist that real love is class-centered love, or love for
one’s comrades. In a society where there are conflicts of interest, there can
be no love beyond one’s own social class. One simply has to choose to stand
either on the side of the proletariat or on the side of the bourgeoisie. It is
impossible to practice a love for humankind in an actual class society.
Ultimately, say the Communists, love for humankind is an empty phrase that can
not be put into actual practice.
To hear such
assertions, certainly class-centered love sounds more actual, whereas Christian
love sounds merely conceptual. Especially for those who are not convinced of
the existence of God, it is quite natural that Christian love does not seem to
be so convincing.
It is also not
surprising that Liberation Theology and Dependency Theory have emerged today in
the Third World. According to Liberation Theology, Jesus was a revolutionary
who came to save the oppressed and the poor of his age. Therefore, Liberation
Theology preaches that those who are true Christians must fight for social
revolution. Thus, sympathy for the poor agrees well with the Communist view of
class-centered love, and eventually this kind of sympathy becomes aligned with
Communism in working to solve actual problems.6
Dependency Theory, poverty in the third world arises from structural
contradictions between advanced countries and the third world, and is
unavoidable. This theory asserts that in order for the third world to be
liberated from poverty, the third world must confront advanced capitalist
nations. Dependency Theory attempts to align itself with Communism in much the
same way as Liberation Theology does.7
Theology nor Dependency Theory possesses a coherent philosophy, a coherent
theory of history, or a coherent economic theory when compared to Communism.
Therefore, eventually they can not but be absorbed by Communism. Christianity
has been unable to take an effective course of action to resolve this situation.
B. Weaknesses in the Confucian View of Value
there are such virtues as the following:
(1) The Five
Moral Rules Governing the Five Human Relationships: The five moral rules,
since ancient times, have been described as follows: “Affection should mark the
relations between father and son; justice and righteousness should mark the
relations between sovereign and subject; distinction should mark the relations
between husband and wife; order should mark the relations between elder and
younger brothers; trust should mark the relations among friends.” These have
been regarded as the basis for human relationships, and were especially
emphasized by Mencius.
(2) The Four
Virtues: Mencius preached four virtues, namely, jen (benevolence),
righteousness, propriety, and knowledge. Later, Tung Chung-shu, of the Han
dynasty, added “faith,” establishing the Way of the Five Cardinal Virtues (jen,
righteousness, propriety, knowledge, and faith).
(3) The Four
Beginnings: According to Mencius, the feeling of commi-seration, the
feeling of shame and dislike, the feeling of modesty and com-plaisance, and the
feeling of approving and disapproving, are the Four Beginnings. Each of these
was thought to be the beginning of one of the Four Virtues, jen,
righteousness, propriety, and knowledge, respectively.
(4) The Eight
Articles: In order to govern the world peacefully, an official must do the
following: (a) investigate many things; (b) extend his knowle-dge; (c) be
guided by sincere thoughts; (d) rectify his heart; (e) cultivate his
personality; (f) regulate his own family; (g) govern the state well; and (h)
bring peace to the world.8
(5) Loyalty and
Filial Piety: Loyalty and filial piety are the virtues with which one
serves one’s superiors and one’s parents.
The basis for all
these virtues is jen, and the basis for jen is Heaven.9 However,
Confucianism does not explain clearly what Heaven is. Com-munists have
criticized Confucianism by applying the Communist theory of “basis and
superstructure,” saying that the Confucian teaching is nothing more than a
means of justifying the existing rules. They argue that Confucian values were
coined by the ruling class during the feudal period in order to make the people
follow obediently and that, therefore, Confucian teachings are not appropriate
for a modern, democratic society, which follows the principles of equal rights
and majority rule. Consequently, Confucian virtues are all but neglected today.
Furthermore, as communities have become urbanized and families have divided into
nuclear families, the Confucian view of value is increasingly collapsing and,
as a result, there has been an acceleration of disorder and confusion in many
C. Weaknesses in the Buddhist View of Value
virtue of Buddhism is mercy (maitri), and in order to practice mercy a
life of training is required. Through such a life of training, one reaches Srāvaka
(one who is awakened by hearing the teachings, or one who wishes to become a
disciple of the arhat, the enlightened one), Pratyeka-buddha (one
who awakens by oneself, or the one who has realized the principle of no
generation or destruction and attained the state of freedom), Bodhisattva
(the one striving for enlightenment, or the one who strives for Buddhahood and
tries to lead people to Buddhahood) and finally Buddhahood (the enlightened
one, or the one with perfect per-sonality). Mercy, a virtue, becomes possible
at the levels of Bodhisattva and Buddhahood. One is not yet ready to
practice mercy at the levels of Srāvaka and Pratyeka-buddha.
Human beings are not
aware of the fact that all things in the world change, or are transitory;
accordingly, they are overly attached to their present life, and that is the
cause of their suffering. In order to end suffering one must get rid of such
attachments through a life of training. Deliverance from attachments and
liberation from suffering are understood as “salvation” (vimukti) in
Buddhism. Through salvation, one enters a state of selflessness and acquires
the ability to practice true mercy, according to Buddhism.
thought of the Buddha has been systematized in the teachings of the Four Noble
Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths consist of (1) the
Truth of Suffering, (2) the Truth of the Cause of Suffering, (3) the Truth of
the Cessation of Suffering, and (4) the Truth of the Noble Path to the
Cessation of the Cause of Suffering. The Truth of Suffering tells us that human
life is full of suffering. The Truth of the Cause of Suffering teaches that the
cause of this suffering is attachment. The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
teaches that in order to get rid of suffering and attain Nirvana
(Perfect Tranquility), one must give up attachment. The Truth of the Noble Path
to the Cessation of the Cause of Suffering is that, in order to make one’s
suffering disappear and to attain Nirvana, one must be trained in and
walk according to the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold
Path is the following: (1) Right View, (2) Right Thought, (3) Right Speech, (4)
Right Behavior, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness,
and (8) Right Concentration.
Right view refers to
one’s having correct knowledge about the essence of the world without any
prejudice. Through right thought, a person decides to walk the correct path.
Right speech includes not lying or criticizing others unjustly. Right behavior
includes abstaining from killing and stealing. To follow right livelihood, a
person must live a righteous life in accordance with the right law. To practice
right effort, a person must conquer all evil thoughts, and strive to dwell only
on good thoughts. To attain right mindfulness, a person must seek truth,
freeing his or her mind from earthly thoughts. Finally, through right
concentration, a person engages in deep meditation and attains a tranquil state
of mind without worldly desires.
The system of twelve
points was established through an enquiry into the cause of the emergence of
human pain. That cause is the teaching of the twelve causations. According to
this teaching, the root cause of human suffering is desire or greed, but more
fundamental than that, there is ignorance of Tathatā (the source of
the universe), and of the state of not realizing that pain and suffering are
not essential. From this ignorance, all kinds of suffering arise.
Buddhism, the perfection of the following six practices (pramit) is
necessary for one to become a Bodhisattva: (1) Offering, (2) Keeping
precepts, (3) Endurance, (4) Endeavor, (5) Concentration of mind, and (6)
Wisdom. Offering means giving to others unconditionally, with benevolence.
Keeping precepts is for the perfection of morality. A person must endure
sufferings. Endeavor refers to one’s practice of the teachings of Buddha with
diligence and courage. Concentration of mind is the perfection of meditation,
and wisdom is the knowledge and ability to judge good and evil, or right and
The root of the
above virtues of Buddhism is mercy, and the basis for mercy is Tathatā,
which is the source of the universe.10 Today, however, the Buddhist
view of values has lost its ability to persuade people. This is because the
Buddhist doctrine has the following problems:
(1) The exact nature
of Tathatā, the source of the universe, is not explained.
(2) The way the dharmas
(all phenomena) have come into being is unclear.
(3) A fundamental
explanation of how ignorance came about is not given.
(4) A fundamental
solution of actual problems (of human life, society, and history) is impossible
merely through training.
has served as a challenge to Buddhism. The Communist assault can be summarized
as follows: “Actual society is filled with exploitation, oppression, the gap
between rich and poor, and other social ills. The cause of these vices lies not
so much in personal ignorance as it does in the contradictions within the
system of capitalist society itself. Buddhist training is for the salvation of
the individual, but is not that just a way of escaping from reality, a way of
avoiding a real solution to the problems? Engaging in training without solving
actual problems is nothing but hypocrisy.” Thus confronted, Buddhists have been
unable to counter with an appropriate response.
D. Weaknesses in the Islamic View of Value
Muhammad as the greatest of all prophets and the Qur’an as the most perfect of
all scriptures, but it also believes in Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the
prophets, and regards the five books of Moses, David’s Psalms, and the Gospel
of Jesus, as its scriptures. Therefore, Islamic virtues have many points in
common with Judeo-Christian virtues.11
teachings of faith and practice are summarized in the Six Articles of Faith and
the Five Obligatory Practices. The six articles of faith are that one must
believe in God, in angels, in the scriptures, in the prophets, in the Day of
Judgment, and must believe that human destiny is in the hands of Allah. The
five obligations, or pillars, are prayer, confession of faith, fasting,
almsgiving, and pilgrimage.
The object of faith
is Allah, who is absolute, the only one, the Creator, and the Ruler. To the
question of who Allah is, Islamic theologians offer ninety-nine attributes,
among which “compassionate” and “merciful” are the most fundamental.12
Therefore, we can say that the most fundamental and representative virtue of
all Islamic virtues is compassion, or mercy.
In this way, Islamic
values have many points in common with the values of other religions, and can
exist in harmony with them. However, there have been many cases of serious
conflicts, including wars, among Islamic sects, and between Islam and other
religions. Taking advantage of such conflicts, Communism has been challenging
Islam. The Communist criticism could be summarized as follows: “There can be no
love for humankind, as Islam advocates. The struggles among Islamic sects
verify our assertion. In a class society, there can be only class-centered
love.” Thus, by taking advantage of existing conflicts, Communists have
attempted to make Islamic countries Communistic, or at least pro-Communistic.
As mentioned, Islam
has experienced internal conflicts among its sects and externally with other
religions. Above all, the conflict between Islam and Judeo-Christianity has
been particularly sharp since the Crusades. The serious conflicts among its
sects, and with other religions, all having in common a belief in God’s
creation and providence, rendered Islamic values virtually impotent as far as
having a persuasive influence on people.
E. Weaknesses in the Humanitarian View of Value
humanitarianism is often used as having the same meaning as humanism. Yet, in a
strict sense, there are important differences. Humanism is a perspective that
aims to achieve the liberation of human beings by fostering the independence of
the human personality. On the other hand, humanitarianism has strong ethical
overtones, advocating respect for people, philanthropy, universal brotherhood,
and so on. Unlike animals, human beings possess humanity; therefore, all people
should be respected. This rather vague perspective is characteristic of
humanitarianism. Nevertheless, it does not explain clearly what a human being
humanitarianism has inevitably been vulnerable to attacks from Communism. Let
us suppose for example, that there is a humanitarian business person. A
Communist might approach that person with the following reasoning: “You are
exploiting your workers without knowing it. Why do not we build a society where
all people live in affluence?” Also, suppose there is a humanitarian youth who
believes that acquiring knowledge is the most important thing in life. A
Communist might say to that person, “What are you studying for? You should not
always be thinking only of your own success. That will, after all, serve only
the bourgeoisie. Do you not think we should live for the sake of the people?”
Thus confronted, a conscientious humanitarian would find it difficult to
respond. Even if the person did not become a Communist, he might be left with a
favorable impression of Communism, and harbor good reasons to support it.
Accordingly, those with a humanitarian view of value have been unable to deal
with Communist admonitions, and therefore many humanitarians have been deceived
by Communism. Today, however, Communism having declined, many humanitarians
have come to realize that Communism is wrong.
Through the examples
given above, it should have become clear that traditional systems of value have
lost their ability to persuade people. Therefore, one way of restoring traditional
values is to establish a new view of value on the firm foundation of a belief
in the existence of God.
VII. Establishing the New View of Value
earlier, by this new view of value is meant an absolute view of value. Today’s
value decline makes it urgent that a new view of value be established. It would
be impossible, however, to prevent the phenomenon of the collapse of values by
means of any relative view of value. Therefore, an absolute view of value must
be established. This absolute view of value must be established on the basis of
a clarification of the kinds of attributes God, who is absolute, possesses, and
for what purpose (purpose of creation) and through which laws (Logos) God
created human beings and the universe.
God created we human
beings as object partners of His love, seeking to obtain joy through loving us.
In order to please us, He created all things as object partners of love for us.
Absolute values are the values of truth, goodness, and beauty based on God’s
absolute love, that is, absolute truth, absolute goodness, and absolute beauty.
Thus, this new view of value is established on the basis of absolute love.
The unification of
the views of value means the unification of the various standards for the
judgment of value (especially the value of goodness), making it clear that all
virtues are simply diverse expressions of absolute value, and that ultimately,
all virtues exist in order to actualize absolute love.
Clearly, then, it
would be erroneous to think of this new view of value as an entirely new
system, established at the cost of denying traditional views of value as found
in Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, and so on. Rather, this new
view of value is established on the basis of traditional values. Since the
foundations upon which traditional values stood are collapsing, we need to
rebuild those foundations and revive and strengthen traditional values so that
they are invested with new vitality and persuasive power. That is how we can
establish a new view of value. Next, in order to explain the absoluteness of
this new view of value, I will present the theological, philosophical, and
historical grounds upon which it stands.
A. Theological Ground for the New View of Absolute Val
A theological ground
involves the question of whether or not the Absolute Being in the universe,
referred to as God in Christianity, Heaven in Confucianism, Tathatā
in Buddhism, Allah in Islam, and so on, truly exists, as well as the
question of the nature of the relationship among these different appellations
and their referents.
In order to address
such questions, what must first be clarified are those questions of significant
import in the traditional religions, such as why the Absolute Being created
human beings and the universe in the first place. As already explained in the
Theory of the Original Image, the reason why God created human beings and the
universe is that God is a being of Heart. Heart is the “emotional impulse to
seek joy through love.” Because of this impulse of His Heart, God created human
beings as His object partners of love, and the universe as the environment in
which human beings could live. Thus, understanding that God is a God of Heart,
the reason for God’s creation can be explained very reasonably. Moreover, this
becomes an important basis for affirming the existence of God.
God’s desire was for
a human being to grow as the image of God. This is because, once we become an
image of God, God’s joy can be realized to the highest degree. It is for this
reason that God gave human beings the three great blessings, which meant that
God directed man and woman to perfect their character, to perfect their family,
and to perfect their qualifications for dominion over all things. Thus, God’s
purpose of creation would be attained by human beings’ realizing the three
great blessings. Seen from this point of view, we come to understand that the
various virtues of the different religions can come into agreement with one
another on the point of accomplishing the three great blessings as the way of
realizing God’s purpose of creation.
B. Philosophical Ground for the New View of Absolute Value
The value systems of
Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Islam emerged in the period from the
sixth century BC to the seventh century AD. During that period of history,
people tended to accept unconditionally the rule of authority figures, such as
their king. In order for them to live, they had no other choice. Moreover,
people in those days were not knowledgeable enough to offer theoretical
criticisms of those teachings. Accordingly, it was natural for people to
unconditionally obey the rule of authority: they accepted the teachings of
Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, or Muhammad unconditionally, and followed them. In
modern times, however, it has become more difficult to convey such values to
people, because people now have a more rational, analytical, and logical way of
thinking. Hence, it is necessary to modernize those values by providing them
with rational explanations acceptable to present-day intellectuals.
Then, what kind of
explanation is acceptable to twenty-first century people? It is the
natural-scientific method. Even ethical virtues could be accepted easily by
present-day intellectuals, if they are supported by scientific laws.
It was customary in
ancient Greece, and in the Orient, to study nature and thereby to determine a
view of value or a view of life. In China, for example, Chu Hsi asserted the
correspondence between natural law and ethical law, and said that natural law
becomes the ethical law of human society. In modern times, even Marxism took a
similar position, although it had a mistaken concept of natural law. Marxism
emphasized the identity between natural law and social law (norms in social
life) and thus asserted that both nature and society develop according to the
As thus evident, in
establishing a new view of value it is important to observe nature and the
universe, ascertain the fundamental law at work therein, and incorporate it
into a view of value. That is, we can clarify that the law inherent in the
universe, namely, the Way of Heaven, becomes the standard for ethics and morality.
This is what is meant by presenting the philosophical ground for absolute
Here arise such
questions as whether or not natural law and ethical law correspond to each
other, and whether or not natural law can be applied directly to ethical law. From
the viewpoint of Unification Thought, all beings are equipped with the dual
aspects of Sungsang and Hyungsang. Therefore, we are naturally
led to the conclusion that ethical law, which is a Sungsang law, and
natural law, which is a Hyungsang law, are in a relationship of
The important point
here is how we can obtain a correct understanding of nature. As mentioned in
Ontology, Marxist dialectics took, as its point of departure, an inaccurate
understanding of nature and then concluded, also incorrectly, that nature
develops through the struggle between opposites. As a result, the way of life
derived from that wrong interpretation of nature became an incorrect way of
life as well.
Seen from the
viewpoint of Unification Thought, the fundamental law at work in the universe
is not the dialectic, but rather it is the law of give and receive action,
which, as stated in Ontology, has the following characteristics: (1)
correlativity, (2) purposiveness and centrality, (3) order and position, (4) harmony,
(5) individuality and relatedness, (6) identity-maintaining nature and
developmental nature, and (7) circular motion. Thus, on the basis of these
characteristics of the law of the universe, I will discuss the new Unification
View of Value.
The universe has
both a vertical order and a horizontal order. The moon revolves around the
earth; the earth revolves around the sun; the solar system revolves around the
nucleus of the galaxy; and the galaxy revolves around the center of the
universe. This is the vertical order of the universe. On the other hand,
centering on the Sun, the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all revolve in specified orbits. This is one of the
horizontal order systems of the universe. These are all harmonious systems of
order. There is no contradiction or conflict in these systems. A miniature of
this order system of the universe is the family order. Therefore, in the
family, too, both a vertical order and a horizontal order are established.
Corresponding to the
vertical order of the family, vertical values come to be established. In the
family the parents show benevolence to the children, and the children practice
filial piety toward the parents. These are vertical values on the family level.
When these values are applied to society and the nation, various kinds of
vertical values can be derived. Clemency and good governance by the ruler
toward the people; loyalty of the people toward their ruler; the teachers’ duty
to their students; respect and obedience of students toward their teachers;
protection of the junior by the senior; respect of the junior for the senior;
the authority of superiors over their subordinates; the obedience of
subordinates to their superiors; and so on.
Corresponding to the
horizontal order of the family, horizontal values come to be established. In
the family there is harmonious love between husband and wife and love among
brothers and sisters. These, in turn, will expand as values toward colleagues,
neighbors, compatriots, com-munity, humankind, and so on. Accordingly, such
values as reconciliation, tolerance, duty, fidelity, courtesy, modesty, mercy,
cooperation, service, sympathy, and so on, come into being.
If such vertical and
horizontal values are maintained well in society, then the society will remain
peaceful and develop in a wholesome way. If not, society falls into disorder.
Unlike what Communists often assert, these values are not merely relics from
feudal society; rather, they are universal norms of conduct that human beings
should observe eternally. This is because, just as the law of the universe is
eternal, the law of human society is eternal, corresponding to the law of the
Furthermore, the law
of the universe has individuality, corresponding to which there are individual
values as well. All individual beings in the universe participate in the
universal order while maintaining their own unique characteristics. In human
society as well, each person engages in mutual relationships with other people
while maintaining his or her own character. Individual values include purity,
honesty, righteousness, temperance, courage, wisdom, self-control, endurance,
independence, self-help, autonomy, fairness, diligence, innocence, and so on.
All of these are values for an individual’s self-cultivation.
horizontal, and individual values are not particularly new as virtues. They
were taught by Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and others. Today, however,
these values have lost their power to persuade people because their
philosophical ground has been ambiguous. For that reason, we seek to revive
these traditional values by providing them with a firm philosophical basis.
C. Historical Ground for the New View of Absolute Value
Can this new view of
value be justified historically? Communism asserts that just as natural
phenomena develop through struggle, so too, has human history been developing
through struggle (i.e., class struggle). As will be explained in the chapter “Theory
of History,” however, history has not been developing through struggle.
Historical development can be attained only through harmonious give and receive
action between subject and object (i.e., leaders and people in society).
indeed occurred in history, but they can not be classified simply as class
struggles. More precisely, they have been struggles between the forces of
relative good and the forces of relative evil. From the perspective of values,
it can also be said that they were conflicts between different systems of
value. In other words, they were struggles between, on one side, a party with a
value perspective that was more in accord with the Way of Heaven (the side of
relative goodness) and, on the other side, a party with a value perspective
that was more in discord with the Way of Heaven (the side of relative evil).
There were some cases in which the relatively good side suffered a set-back,
being temporarily defeated by the relatively evil side, but in the long run,
the relatively good side always prevailed. As Mencius said, “Those who follow
Heaven, survive; those who do not, perish.” More importantly, however,
struggles between good and evil were not for the purpose of developing history,
but rather for the specific purpose of turning history toward a better
direction (see chapter 8, “Theory of History”).
This can be
substantiated by a simple review of history. Secular powers have risen and
fallen, but religions, which advocate the cause of goodness, have managed to
survive continuously until today. Also, the teachings and achievements of
saints and righteous men and women have served as exemplary models for people
in later periods, even though many of those saints and righteous people fell
victim to evil forces in their own time. These historical facts strongly
reinforce the notion that the Way of Heaven has been working in history. In
other words, they show that the Way of Heaven should not be rejected by someone
in a position of power and that those who do reject it will eventually face a
Another law of
history provides that there was a goal already set up, even at the starting
point of history. The universe was created according to an ideal (Logos),
centering on purpose (the purpose of creation). In living beings, there is an
idea already inherent within a seed or an egg (imprinted in the genetic
structure), and the seed or egg grows according to that idea. Likewise, in
human history there was an ideal at the outset, and history has been developing
toward that ideal. That is to say, at the starting point of history there
already was a goal toward which history was to develop. That was the ideal of a
nation, the founding idea of a country, or the ideal of humankind recorded
symbolically in mythology, legends, and in the holy scriptures of religions.
started as a sinful history as a result of the fall of the first ancestors.
Nevertheless, God, by making use of symbols and figures in mythology and in
scriptures, has presented the image of the ideal world as envisioned in the original
ideal of creation, the ideal world that was lost and which should be restored
in human history. The incident in the Garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis,
the prophetic records in the Book of Isaiah and in the Revelation to John, and
the Tangun mythology of the Korean nation are such examples. The ideal pursued
until today by humankind is the bright world of goodness, peace and happiness.
It is the world that exists in accordance with the Way of Heaven. God has been
teaching through mythology and prophecy that the goal of history was already
been set up at the outset of history. Therefore, the future world that history
aims to attain can be expressed as a world in complete accord with the Way of
Heaven, a world wherein the true view of value is firmly established.
VIII. Historical Changes in the View of Value
In this section, let
us consider the changes that have taken place in Western views of value from a
historical perspective. Through this we can grasp the historical process
through which the views of value of Greek philosophy and Christianity, both of
which sought absolute values, became overwhelmed by relative views, and
eventually became powerless. That will again bring us to the point where it is
evident that the confusion in today’s world can not be solved without a new
view of value (that is, an absolute view of value).
A. Views of Value in the Greek Period
View of Value
natural philosophy arose in Ionia, an ancient Greek colony, in the sixth
century BC. Before that time, Greece had been a tribal society, guided by an
age of mythology, but Ionian philosophers were not satisfied with mere
mythological explanations and tried to explain the world and human life from a
viewpoint based on nature. In the Ionian city of Miletus, foreign trade thrived
and merchants were engaged in trade activities throughout the Mediterranean Sea
area. They were realistic and active, and in that environment, people gradually
discarded their mythological ways of thinking.
In the trading city
of Miletus, materialistic philosophers appeared from the sixth century BC. They
were known as the Miletus school, whose representatives are Thales,
Anaximander, Anaximenes, and others. They discussed ideas mainly with regard to
the root cause (arche) of all things. Thales (ca. 624-546 BC) advocated that
the arche was water; Anaximander (ca. 610-547 BC), that it was the boundless
(apeiron); Anaximenes (ca. 585-528 BC), that it was air; and Heraclitus (ca.
535-475 BC), that it was fire. Influenced by these naturalistic philosophies,
objective and rational ways of thinking were fostered.
(Sophistic) View of Value
During the fifth
century BC, democracy developed in Greece centering on Athens. Young people
sought to acquire knowledge for the purpose of success in life. To be
successful, the art of persuasive speech (rhetoric) was especially important.
Scholars were paid to instruct young people in the art of persuasion; those
scholars came to be called sophists.
Until then, Greek
philosophy had dealt primarily with nature. Philosophers became aware, however,
that human problems could not be solved through natural philosophy alone. They
gradually turned their attention to the problems of human society and soon
realized that, whereas natural laws were fixed and objective, the laws and
morality of human society differed from country to country and from age to age,
with no apparent objectivity or universality. For that reason, the sophists
came to take a relativistic, skeptical position on values in order to find
solutions to social problems. Protagoras (ca. 481-411 BC) said, “Man is the
measure of all things,” meaning that the standard of truth differs depending on
the person-which clearly indicated relativism.
The sophists, at
first, had an enlightening effect on the public. Gradually, however, they came
to take a more and more skeptical position, asserting that truth does not exist
at all. They attached importance only to the art of persuasion, and attempted
to win arguments at any cost, even by resorting to false reasoning, or
sophistry. Soon they began to use fallacies in their arguments. That is why the
word “sophist” has come to mean a person who uses clever but misleading
Absolute View of
BC) appeared when sophism was rampant in Greece. He deplored the situation. For
him, the sophists pretended to know, but in reality they knew nothing. Of
himself, he said, “One thing only I know for sure, and that is that I know
nothing.” Such was the starting point of reaching true knowledge. He sought the
basis of morality in the god (daimon) inherent within the human being,
and asserted that morality is absolute and universal. Virtue, as taught by him,
was a loving attitude of seeking knowledge for the purpose of living
truthfully. “Virtue is knowledge” was his fundamental thought. He also
advocated the unity of knowledge and action, saying that once one knows virtue,
one should, without fail, put it into practice.
How can one obtain
true knowledge? True knowledge is not to be poured into a person by others, nor
can it be known by an individual alone. Socrates held that it is only through
dialogue (questions and answers) with others that one can acquire true
knowledge (the universal truth) which satisfies all people. He then sought to
save Athens from its social disorder by establishing absolute, universal
Plato (427-347 BC)
thought that there is an unchangeable world of essence behind the changing
world of phenomena, and called it the world of Ideas. Yet, since the souls of
human beings are trapped in their bodies, they usually think that the
phenomenal world is the true reality. The human soul previously existed in the
world of Ideas, but when it came to dwell in the body, the soul was separated
from the world of Ideas. Accordingly, the soul constantly longs for the world
of Ideas, which is the true reality. For Plato, the awareness of the Ideas was
but a recollection of what the soul knew before coming into the body. Ethical
Ideas include the Idea of Justice, the Idea of Goodness, and the Idea of
Beauty. Among these, the Idea of Goodness is supreme, according to Plato.
four virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice, as the virtues which
everyone must possess. He asserted that particularly those who rule the state
must be philosophers possessing the virtue of wisdom. They alone had an
understanding of the Idea of Goodness. For Plato, the Idea of Goodness was the
source of all values. Inheriting Socrates’ spirit, Plato sought absolute value.
B. Views of Value in the Hellenistic-Roman Period
Hellenistic-Roman period refers to the approximately three centuries, from the time
Alexander the Great defeated Persia until the time Roman forces conquered Egypt
and unified the Mediterranean world. During this era a trend of individualism,
seeking one’s own safety and peace of mind, was predominant. The fall of the
city-state (polis) rendered useless the values centered on the state.
The Greeks began to emphasize more individualistic ways of living under
increasingly unstable social conditions. At the same time, cosmopolitanism,
transcending the bounds of nationality, was enhanced. The representative
schools of thought of this era were the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Skeptic.
individualistic tendency, people came to feel a sense of powerlessness. As a
result, in the Roman period people sought a way to be elevated above such a
vulnerable human situation, and gradually developed religious aspirations.
Neoplatonism was one of the fruits of this trend.
The founder of the
Stoic school was Zeno of Citium (ca. 336-265 BC). The Stoics held that Logos
(law, reason) dwells in all things in the universe, and that the universe moves
in an orderly fashion according to law. Moreover, Logos dwells in human beings
as well. Therefore, we can know the law of the universe through our reason, and
should “live according to nature.” That was the basic position of the Stoic
The Stoics held that
people feel pain because of their passions. To solve this, people should rid
themselves of passions and reach the state of apathy (the absence of
passion) or the perfectly peaceful state of the mind that will not be tempted
in any way. Thus, the Stoic school advocated asceticism in which the supreme
virtue was apathy.
All people, whether
they were Greek or Oriental, ought to obey the law of the universe. For the
Stoics, the Logos was God, and all people were brothers and sisters as God’s
children. Thus they established a cosmopolitanism.
to the Stoic school, which advocated asceticism, the Epicurean school, which
originated with Epicurus (341-270 BC), advocated pleasure as the supreme good.
Epicurus thought that the pleasure of individual persons in this world was
directly in accordance with virtue. By pleasure he did not mean physical
pleasure, but rather “having no pain in one’s body and giving calm and repose
to one’s soul.” Epicurus called this peaceful state of mind ataraxia, or
the state of separa-tion from pain, and regarded it as the supreme state of
Pyrrho (ca. 356-275
BC) taught that human beings experience pain because they pass judgment on
things one way or another. He urged people to seek calmness of mind by
suspending all judgment. This was called epoche, or “suspension of
judgment.” The Skeptic school asserted that since knowledge of the truth can
not be attained by human beings, it is best for them to abstain from any form
of judgment whatsoever.
The absence of
passion (apathy) of the Stoic school, the pleasurable peace of mind (ataraxia)
of the Epicurean school, and the non-judgment (epoche) of the Skeptic
school were all attempts to find a calmness of mind in the individual. Thus,
they regarded as questionable the absoluteness of value pursued by Socrates and
continued into the Roman period, which succeeded the Hellenistic period. The
philosophical culmination of the Hellenistic-Roman period was Neo-Platonism, a
philosophical view-point whose most eminent proponent was Plotinus (205-270).
an “emanation theory,” according to which every-thing flows out of God.
Specifically, he asserted that nous (reason), which is the reality closest to
the perfection of God, and then next the soul, and finally matter, the most
imperfect level of creation, all emanated from God, stage by stage. Formerly,
Greek philosophy had propounded a dualism that regarded God and matter as
opposing each other. In contrast, Plotinus advocated monism, claiming that God
The human soul flows
out into the sensual material world, and at the same time seeks to return to nous
and to God. Therefore, people should avoid being caught up in physical things,
and their souls should ascend to the level of perceiving God, thereby becoming
united with Him. Such an achievement was regarded as the supreme virtue.
Plotinus said that the human being becomes completely united with God in “ecstasy,”
which he regarded as the highest state of mind. Hellenistic philosophy
culminated with Plotinus, and Neo-Platonism had a profound impact on Christian
philosophy, which was soon to emerge.
C. Views of Value in the Medieval Period
provided a philosophical basis for faith in Christianity. According to
Augustine, God is eternal, unchangeable, omniscient, omnipotent, the being of
supreme goodness, supreme love, and supreme beauty, and the Creator of the
universe. In contrast to Plato, who regarded the world of Ideas as independent
in itself, Augustine held that such Ideas exist within the mind of God, and
asserted that everything was created with the Ideas as prototypes. In contrast
to Neo-Platonism, which held that the world necessarily emanated from God,
Augustine advocated creation theory, saying that God freely created the world
from nothing, not utilizing any material. Then, why is the human being sinful?
For Augustine, the reason is that Adam, the first human ancestor, misused
freedom and fell, thus betraying God. Fallen people can be saved only through
God’s grace. Augustine said that faith in God, hope for salvation, and love for
God and one’s neighbors are the way to true happiness, and recommended the
three virtues of faith, hope, and love.
(1225-74), who firmly consolidated Christian theology, divided virtues into the
religious and the natural. Religious virtues refer to the three primary virtues
of Christianity, namely, faith, hope, and love, while natural virtues refer to
the four primary virtues of Greek philosophy, that is, wisdom, courage,
temperance, and justice. Religious virtues, among which love is supreme, can
lead to bliss, and people can experience bliss through loving God and their
neighbors. On the other hand, natural virtues are in accordance with one’s
obedience to the directives of reason. Natural virtues were regarded as a means
of reaching religious virtues.
D. Modern Views of Value
In the modern
period, little of significance has emerged with regard to views of value.
Modern views of value can basically be understood as extensions or
transformations of the Greek philosophical and Christian views of value.
René Descartes (1596-1650)
began by doubting all established traditional values. He was not a skeptic,
however. Rather, he attempted to find something steadfast through his doubt. As
a result, he reached the fundamental principle of “I think, therefore, I am.”
He held human reason to be the basis for one’s judgments. That gave rise to
Descartes’ moral teaching that human beings should act with a resolute will
while controlling their passions through reason.
(1623-62) regarded the human being as a contradictory being, possessing
greatness as well as silliness. He expressed this by saying that “Man is a
thinking reed.” Human beings are the weakest of all beings in nature, but they
are the greatest by virtue of their ability to think. Still, he held, their
true happiness consists not in using reason but rather in reaching God through faith,
namely, through heart.13
(1724-1804) discussed, in his Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of
Practical Reason, and Critique of Judgment, how truth, goodness, and
beauty might be established, and asserted that we should seek after these
values. Especially with regard to goodness, or morality, he asserted that we
should act according to the unconditional moral imperative, for example, “be
honest”-that is, the categorical imperative, which
comes from practical reason.
(1748-1832) thought that happiness is the state of the absence of pain. Thus,
on the basis of the principle of “the greatest happiness for the greatest
number” he advocated utilitarianism. He reasoned that the value of human
behavior can be determined by calculating pleasure and pain quantitatively.
Bentham’s utilitarianism was a theory of value that came into being in the
context of the Industrial Revolution. It can be regarded as a Hyungsang
view of value.
(1813-55) advocated three stages of existence, saying that people should pass
through the “aesthetic stage” and the “ethical stage” in order to reach the “religious
stage” of existence. He asserted that people should not live merely for
pleasure; in his view, it is not sufficient merely to live conscientiously by
observing ethics; rather, people should live in faith, standing before God.
Kierkegaard tried to revive the true Christian view of value.
(1844-1900) regarded Europe at the end of the nineteenth century as being in an
era of nihilism, in which all values were collapsing. He described Christianity
as a “slave morality,” that is, as a morality that rejects the strong and equalizes
human beings. He regarded Christianity as the greatest cause of the rise of
nihilism. So, he presented a new theory of value with the “will to power” as
its standard. “Live strongly in this godless world,” was Nietzsche’s assertion.
(1848-1915), of the Neo-Kantian school, dealt with values as the central issue
of philosophy, taking up the values of truth, goodness, and beauty in a united
way. Following Kant, who had distinguished matters of fact from matters of
right, Windelband distinguished judgments of fact from judgments of value, and
said that the task of philosophy was to deal with judgments of value. A
judgment of fact is an objective proposition about a fact, whereas a judgment
of value is a proposition in which a subjective appraisal of a fact is made.
For example, such propositions as “this flower is red” and “the man built the
house” are factual judgments; whereas such propositions as “this flower is
beautiful” and “that man’s conduct is good” are value judgments. Ever since,
fact and value have been dealt with as quite separate issues, in the sense that
factual judgments are dealt with in the natural sciences, whereas value
judgments are dealt with in philosophy.
century saw the rise of analytical philosophy, which employs the “logical
analysis of language” as the most appropriate method of philosophy. With regard
to axiology, analytical philosophy took the following (1) One can not
know values except through intuition; (2) Judgment of value is but an
expression of the speaker’s feelings about moral approval or disapproval; (3)
Axiology is significant only for the analysis of value language. Thus,
analytical philosophy generally sought to exclude axiology from philosophy.
represented by John Dewey (1859-1952), based value judgments on usefulness for
life. Such value concepts as truth, goodness, and beauty were regarded as
means, or tools, for processing things effectively. From this standpoint, what
is perceived as valuable differs from person to person. Even the same person
may differ in the way he or she perceives value from time to time. Dewey’s
standpoint was a relative pluralism as far as value was concerned.
Lastly, I will
mention the Communist view of value. This view of value was defined by B. P.
Tugarinov as follows: “Value is a phenomenon of nature or society that is
useful and necessary for those people who belong to a particular society or
class in history, as something actual, as a purpose, or as an ideal.”14
In Communism, usefulness for the proletariat class is the standard of value. A
postulate of the Communist view of value was that all the established religious
values, which were regarded as bourgeois views of value, had to be denied and
destroyed. For Communism, a moral act is an act that is useful in promoting
collective life for constructing Communist society. It includes such virtues as
dedication, obedience, sincerity, love for comrades, and mutual help.
E. Necessity for a New View of Value
As seen above, many
different views of value have appeared throughout history; in fact, history can
be seen as a continuous succession of failed attempts to establish absolute
In ancient Greece, Socrates and Plato attempted to establish absolute values by pursuing true
knowledge. With the collapse of the Greek city-state society, however, the
views of value of Greek philosophy also collapsed. Next, Christianity attempted
to establish absolute values, centering on God’s love (agape). The Christian
view of value ruled medieval society, but with the collapse of medieval society,
it gradually lost its power.
In the modern
period, Descartes and Kant established views of value centered on reason, as in
Greek philosophy; yet, their understanding of God, which was the basis for
their views of value, was ambiguous. As a result, their views of value fell
short of becoming absolute. Pascal and Kierkegaard attempted to revive true
Christian values, but they fell short of establishing a firm system of value.
school dealt with value as one of the main issues in philosophy, but they
completely separated philosophy, which deals with values, from natural science,
which deals with facts. As a result, today many problems have come into being.
As scientists have continued to analyze facts in complete disregard of values,
they have brought about weapons of mass destruction, destruction of the natural
environment, pollution, and so forth.
pragmatism are materialistic views of value, which make values completely
relative. Analytical philosophy is a philosophy without value. Nietzsche’s
philosophy and Communism can be described as anti-value philosophies, opposing
traditional views of value.
Traditional views of
value based on Greek philosophy and Christianity are no longer regarded as
effective today. Traditional views of value have become weak and separated from
the natural sciences. Currently, they have been almost completely eliminated
even from the field of philosophy. As a result, society today is in extreme
confusion. The appearance of a new view of value that can establish absolute
values while revitalizing traditional values is seriously needed. This new view
of value should be able to overcome materialism and to guide science with its
correct view of value.
is the case because value and fact are in a relationship of Sungsang and
Hyungsang, and just as Sungsang and Hyungsang are united
in existing beings, value and fact are originally united. Unification Axiology
has appeared on the scene to meet this demand of our times.
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