Truth Is My Sword Volume I -Collected Speeches in the Public Arena
by Bo Hi Pak
God, The First Artist
August 4, 1989
In the following two speeches given at the Third Annual International Conference on the Arts, Dr. Pak expounds on absolute values as applied to the arts. In the first speech, he also enumerates the many contributions Reverend Moon has made to the arts all over the world, including the Little Angels Performing Arts Troupe, the Korean Folk Ballet, the New York City Symphony Orchestra, the Manhattan Center Opera House, and the Universal Ballet Company, among others. In the second, he critiques the materialist 20th-century way of thinking based on the teachings of Darwin, Freud, and Marx, offering a new God-centered worldview as a counterproposal. Dr. Pak gave the remarks at the Grosvenor House in London, August 4 and 6, 1989.
Honorable chairmen, members of the executive advisory board, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of Artists Association International, and Mrs. Moon, I am honored to welcome you to London for the Third Annual International Conference of the Arts. It is indeed a great pleasure to convene in a city where there is an ever-present awareness of art as an integral part of society. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that a great and rich cultural heritage has been established here. For centuries that noble heritage has helped preserve a great tradition in the arts and has provided a base to foster and develop those traditions.
I must confess to being somewhat amazed, standing here addressing such a prestigious international gathering of artists from so many different fields. In all honesty I admit I never dreamed that I would be standing before such well-known performing artists as Renata Scotto or eminent scholars in the arts as Samuel Lipman and Frederick Turner, to name but a few.
I am not an artist, but I am an art lover. An artist without an art lover is something like a husband without a wife or a wife without a husband. You need us and we need you. In this capacity I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you who are participating in this conference. Please accept my sincere concern for the future of the arts and my commitment to use their influence to build a healthier society.
As the 20th century nears conclusion, it is certainly appropriate that we take every opportunity to express our common concerns for humanity and share our points of view. This we do for the purpose of enriching our lives and our art, as well as others, and the legacy that we will pass on to future generations. I am sure that these next few days will be an informative and educational experience for us all, as we discuss subjects relating to this year's conference theme, "Toward the 21st Century: Absolute Values in the Arts."
The founder of Artists Association International is primarily a religious leader, but his work has not been limited to the field of religion. He maintains a tremendous interest in the arts and has created many performance organizations and arts-related activities over the last 20 years.
In 1965, Reverend Moon founded the Little Angels Performing Arts Troupe, which has participated in more than 30 international goodwill tours and performed for heads of state. Shortly thereafter the Little Angels Art School opened. Within a short time the school established its reputation as the premier arts education facility in Korea. From 1972 to 1976, the Korean Folk Ballet, the New Hope Singers International, and the Go World Brass Band were founded for the purpose of spreading the message of harmony and world peace.
The same period saw the revival of two major arts institutions in New York City: the New York City Symphony Orchestra and the Manhattan Center Opera House. The New York City Symphony continues to develop its reputation as a great cultural asset not only to New York City but to the world. The Manhattan Center Opera House, currently under major renovation, has been recognized by The New York Triles as the outstanding recording facility in New York City. It is a frequent choice of both the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In the field of artist management, Reverend Moon founded Beato Music, Inc., in Japan in 1979, and Universal Artists Management in the United States in 1982, with the goal of promoting the careers of both established and aspiring artists worldwide.
Reverend Moon has expended considerable time and effort to build international cultural understanding through this medium. A related project, the Universal Ballet Company, brought an international standard of ballet to Korea and performed at the 1988 Olympic Arts Festival. Upcoming world tours to Japan, Italy, and the United States are planned for the near future. Later this year the Universal Ballet Academy will be established in Washington, D.C., to promote major ballet activities in the capital of the United States.
You may ask why a religious leader would employ so much effort and so many resources to promote and develop the arts. The reason is quite simple. Reverend Moon recognizes the power of the arts as a potentially constructive force in society. He desires ultimately to live in a world where culture operates on a system of true values. Such values, in turn, can be determined by understanding the nature of God, the Creator, who is the source of all creativity.
Artists Association International was founded in 1986 by Reverend Moon for the purpose of promoting an open dialogue in the search for true and absolute values for artists and their art. Furthermore, it is the sincere hope of the founder that artists will pursue an increasingly active role in the betterment of society.
Realizing Life's Purpose
We understand that God created with a purpose and that His purpose is to enjoy a full relationship of love with His children, both men and women. Therefore, human life has purpose as well. Our purpose is to become a recipient of the love of God and return beauty and glory to Him. Our spiritual well-being will be realized as we accomplish our life's purpose in accordance with the moral laws established by God. I say this because, before one is an artist, a scholar, a religious leader, or even a patron of the arts, each one of us is a special child of God. Our sacred nature and unique human dignity originate with this knowledge. To possess such a nature is the highest blessing men and women can receive.
The first responsibility of human beings is to exercise the freedom to preserve and enhance God-given values. In order to do so, we must be creative and we must act in accordance with the basic moral principles established by God. What do we mean by moral principles? Our sense of morals, and the principles derived from that sense, must be centered on a desire to protect, preserve, and promote God-given human rights and dignity, in order to live fully for the purpose of creation. Acting according to these principles enhances the human spirit. This preservation of human rights and dignity must be the standard not only for morality but for all professional ethics as well.
As artists we should create in constructive ways. We who influence society should feel a social obligation to rid our culture of the destructive elements of racism, religious and cultural bias, pornography, drug abuse, and any other vices that do not support our purpose of existence.
Freedom exists as one of God's most precious gifts, and artists rank among the greatest lovers and protectors of freedom. This has been my experience. Ladies and gentlemen, for the record, I wish it to be known that I enthusiastically embrace the idea of complete freedom not only for artists but for everyone, regardless of race, religion, or gender.
Man, created to be free, bears the responsibility for how he uses his freedom. To use freedom properly requires self-discipline and self-control, based on a fundamental understanding of right and wrong. Determining right from wrong requires an absolute standard, which is determined by the spiritual and natural laws that govern life and the creation.
Artists possess tremendous energy, but to fully utilize that energy artists should attempt to influence other members of society to fulfill a Godly purpose. For this reason this assembly of artists contains great potential for goodness. Each and every one of us has the implicit responsibility of continued self-examination, always endeavoring to find a more absolute standard of life and a comparable standard for our art. Without this understanding of spiritual and natural law to help us define our awareness of true and absolute freedom, we become helpless and unable to contribute to the well-being of society. For just such a reason, Igor Stravinsky, one of this century's great composers, said: "Without limits, I am lost in the abyss of freedom."
Stravinsky's statement has profound implications. Indeed, freedom is limited by law. Two basic sets of laws operate in our universe: natural law and spiritual law. For example, you have the freedom to jump off the top of this building, but in such a case your exercise of freedom clashes with natural law, and to do so would bring about your own self-destruction.
By the same token, spiritual laws govern our inner lives or eternal selves. When one's exercise of freedom violates these spiritual laws, again self-destruction results. Thus, freedom should be enjoyed within the boundaries of both natural and spiritual law. Why did the Creator bestow such freedom upon us?
Man is created in the image of God and, because God is free, He made man free. God is the first creator; you might say that God is the first, and greatest, artist. God created His children to be like Him. He gave man freedom so that man could co-create with Him. God created the incomparable variety of nature, including the sunrise, the oceans, the deserts, and mountains, all with their distinct beauty. God created all things to our mutual delight and satisfaction. No matter how many times we experience the beauty of God's artwork, we are stimulated and uplifted. Is it not fitting that we should seek to understand and emulate the nature of our Creator? Here lies the ultimate challenge to the artist: We should rejoice in the complete freedom we have and use it for its originally intended purpose, which is to become a good co-creator.
I want to conclude my opening remarks with an anecdote. After the Great Depression of the 1930s had passed, a poor, hard-working farmer was at last given the opportunity to return to the soil. He took over an old, completely run-down farm, and after a year he was visited by his pastor. The pastor saw a well-repaired house and barn and carefully built fences to provide grazing area for a few well-cared-for animals. He noticed the long straight rows of corn and beans. The pastor turned to the farmer and said, "My son, you and God have done a marvelous job out here." The farmer responded by saying, "You should have seen it last year when God was doing it alone!"
How beautifully and vividly this short story illustrates that God does need His co-creators. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to say that we have only a short time to meet. May I encourage each of you to participate actively in all conference events. There will be ample opportunity included in the conference schedule for comments and questions, as well as time to get to know one another on a more personal basis. As a member of the conference I eagerly look forward to the opportunity of meeting each and every one of you.
Thank you very much for your interest and participation.
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