By Dr. Sang Hun Lee
Chapter II - Epistemology (part 2)
Section E - Unification Epistemology (Epistemology Based on the Give-and-Take Law)
Using the above-mentioned studies as our basis, first we are going to criticize the defects of the traditional epistemologies stated in Sections 2 and 3 and then reveal our epistemology which covers the defects of the others.
1. Critique Of Traditional Epistemologies
(i) Why Subject and Object Exist
The problem common to all traditional epistemologies is that the basic question of why the subject and object of cognition exist is not answered.
All epistemologists treat the object as though it were a mere given datum and seem to think man is born and just happens to notice the existence of the world; they think that the things around us are nothing but the results of mere chance. They are unconscious of the relationship between man and the world around him. Accordingly, the relationship between the subject and object becomes hard to clarify and philosophical chaos has prevailed since they could not judge whether the object exists outside of us objectively or whether it exists within the subject.
Viewed from the standpoint of the Unification Principle, the subject and object of cognition exist because of the Creator, who created this world in order to make co-existence possible and who furthermore regarded the co-existence as good.
And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food." (Genesis 1:29)
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." (Genesis 2:18)
The object is not an accidentally given datum, but must be necessary to us. The object must exist for the subject and the subject must exist for the object. However large this cosmos may be, it has significance only when man exists. Accordingly, the existence of the cosmos means the existence of man, while the existence of man means the existence of the cosmos. Without one, the other will lose the significance of its existence. This is the viewpoint of the Unification Principle toward the relationship between the subject and object of cognition.
(ii) The Object Must Exist Outside
Why must the object exist? Because it must give pleasure to the subject. What is pleasure? It is to find the things that are similar to us in the outer world and to see them correspond to our own Sung Sang and Hyung Sang as if we were seeing ourselves in a mirror. Accordingly, the object is not within the subject; it would be meaningless if it did not actually exist outside of the subject. If it does not reflect the subject's Sung Sang and Hyung Sang outside of the subject, or if it does not stimulate the subject's sensations from outside, it will not bring pleasure to man. (By the same reason, this created world as a whole and also individual elements must exist outside of God.)
Thus as to the problem of the position of the object, we deny the standpoint of subjective idealism and affirm realism. However we do not think that the object exists apart from us by chance, but think that it has an inevitable relationship with our existence, and that without it, the significance of our existence would be lost. Therefore, the subject, man, and the object can not but co-exist.
(iii) Is the "Thing-in-Itself" (Ding an Sich) Unknowable?
Kant holds that the sensation matter (content), the raw elements composing our cognition, are sent from the outside but asserts that the Ding an Sich, or the source of the sensation, is eternally unknowable to man. We think that the opinion of Kant is immature because he does not understand that the subject and object are inseparable.
The object exists for the subject. The object has significance of existence only when all the elements within the object totally appear before the subject. If so, it is utterly meaningless to say that Ding an Szch is unknowable to man. We would have to say that God's creation is a failure.
We do not believe that the object has been created in order to exist as a world which has no relation with us and which keeps its independent existence eternally. We believe that it has been created in order to make it possible for the object, as a whole, to completely appear before our senses and reason. We do not think that the object has been formed without any relation to us at all, nor that our senses and abilities have been created without any relation to the object. We think that this cosmos, which exists outside of us, was created with the premise that our senses would be able to know the world so that we may feel joy. In other words, all things were created to give us pleasure and our senses and abilities were provided for us in order that we may feel full satisfaction from the objective world.
It is not true that the object, having no relation with our eyes and ears is reflected to them. The wave lengths of light and sound from the object have already been determined so that all things are fully recognized by man. We believe that the objective world has been created in order to let man feel pleasure in colors, sounds and the like.
If so, speaking in terms of the Principle, what is recognized is just what God has created. Of course man's cognition is sometimes or often deformed or immature, so that we can not say that what is recognized in such a way is the being itself. But when perfect cognition is achieved the being itself is known. God has not created the objective world apart from, or without any relation to the cognition of human beings. God has created the world such that it could not become complete by itself, but could become complete only in a relationship with man through his cognition. We are of the opinion that through man's cognition the will of God is manifested in actual form.
Ding an Sich appears to the subject because the intention of God is to have man know all things perfectly. Accordingly, Ding an Sich is just Ding fur Uns (thing for us). The appearance of Ding an Sich within ourselves is a complete, total and true manifestation which is better than any other appearance. In other words, there is no Ding an Sich that we can not know and that is out of our cognition eternally. The object itself which we see (though some of us see deeply while others see shallowly) is a thing itself, the totality of a thing, the actualization of the true nature of a thing and is just what God has tried to create. From these reasons, we deny agnosticism and regard things of this world, both visible and invisible, as completely knowable.
Such being the case, we deny subjective idealism and agnosticism and, just as the Marxists do, affirm realism and the theory that we can know all things. However our standpoint is different from theirs.
2. The Give-And-Take Relation Between The Subject And Object And The Activity Of Cognition
Difference of Position between Things and Human Beings
Another big problem concerning cognition is to decide whether the subject or object plays the leading role in the formation of cognition. That is, is it human beings or the objective world that plays the leading role?
Empiricism regards the mind of the subject as tabula rasa and thinks that the object alone constitutes the contents of cognition. On the other hand, rationalism asserts that we can not get the necessary scientific knowledge from the contents coming from the object, and tries to depend solely on the clear, distinct intuition of the subject and on the inferences deduced from intuition. It is clear from the studies in Section B that these two theories are both one-sided.
Therefore, after Kant unified the two assertions, most scholars tried to understand the relationship of the subject and object with a method that justified the two views. Among those attempting to unify the two views, Kant, Fichte and Hegel placed importance on the subject, while Marx stressed the object.
How will the Unification Principle see this problem? Human beings are the subject while all things are the object. The latter gives pleasure to the former, while the former has dominion over the latter. That man is the subject toward all things means that he is not passive toward all things (circumstance) but active and positive toward them.
Man, unlike a mirror, does not receive the stimulus from outside passively. In order to recognize the outer world, he must pay attention to it. Without paying attention either consciously or unconsciously, he can not have any cognition even if he sees the object with his eyes.
For instance, we are sometimes absorbed in thought while looking at the sky. Nevertheless, we do not "see" the sky even though our sight is in the direction of the sky, because our interest is not in the sky but in thinking. Thus in order to know the object, it is necessary not only to set our sense organs toward the object but also to actively pay attention to it. Of course we may sometimes pay unconscious attention toward the object. For instance, we are often surprised when we hear an unexpected and loud voice even when we are absorbed in reading a book. This is because we were unconsciously paying attention to the outside, even when we were reading.
Therefore, cognition can not occur without the activity or positivity of the subject. We do not face the object by accident but pay active attention to it and sometimes even select the object of cognition for ourselves. Thus the object can not be known by accident, but rather the subject recognizes it positively.
This is a natural conclusion when the phenomenon is viewed from the action of give-and-take. There can not be unification with only what comes from the object without anything coming from the subject. The unified action of cognition develops only when give-and-take action occurs between the subject and object. At that time, it is the human being that acts as the subject.
From their standpoint of wanting to "change the world", Marxists recognize the activity of the subject in cognition. At the same time, however, they cling to the standpoint of materialism saying, "... it is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary their social being that deter mines their consciousness." (Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy)
They deny man's positivity or activity toward circumstances (things) in cognition. They admit man's activity only in practice which inspects (verifies) the already obtained cognition.
We hold that cognition develops by the G-T action in which man is the subject and outside things are the object. Even though the object exists for itself, independent of the subject, it is man, not the object, that takes the initiative in cognition. However, unlike Kant we do not think that man gives form to the sensuous content coming from outside; nor do we think as Hegel, that the Absolute Spirit develops into nature which is the form of expression of the spirit itself, and develops furthermore to reach the stage of the human mind in which the Absolute Spirit recognizes itself, and finally returns to itself. We shall explain in detail our opinion about cognition in part 4 of this section.
3. The Development Of Cognition
The Cause of the Development of Cognition
Organically combined with practice, cognition develops infinitely repeating "practice, cognition, re-practice and recognition." This is what Marxists assert and on this point we agree.
However, why in the world does cognition develop so infinitely? According to Marxism, cognition develops in society when practice is necessary or is happening. According to communism, practice means not only deeds such as verification, observation, experimentation, and so on, but also strife, strikes, revolution, etc. Therefore, when the socialist system based on the proletarian dictatorship is established, the contradiction between the productivity and productive relation is resolved and the class strife disappears. Then is there no remaining room for the development of cognition concerning society? Marxists are silent about this problem.
Our opinion about this problem is as follows. The reason cognition develops continuously is that man has the desire for cognition, which is a kind of value-seeking desire. Then what is the desire for cognition? In a word, as stated in Section D-1, it is pleasure. Man has Sung Sang desire and feels pleasure in finding out truth intellectually, beauty emotionally, and goodness in action.
Speaking from the viewpoint of quantity, the pleasure and desire of man are infinite. However, even if a stimulus gives a great satisfaction to him, he may well become tired of it and feel no more pleasure when the same stimulus is repeated again and again. Something must be done in order to renew, enlarge and deepen the pleasure. So, using his controlling ability (ability of dominion) and creativity, man tries to change the object, find some new variation, or seek for a new object.
Speaking from the viewpoint of quality, even if man recognizes something, he will sometimes feel no pleasure in it when some doubt remains. For instance, suppose you see a lightning bolt with your own eyes. You will not feel pleasure in it if you can not understand the true nature of the lightning bolt. What is a lightning bolt, and why does it fall to the ground? When you solve these questions, you will then feel pleasure. Such a tendency as this can also be seen in the nature of all men.
Thus in order to enlarge his pleasure or create new pleasure, man uses his creativity to change or reconstruct the object and ascertain it by practice, such as in experiments. In this way he always tries to get more appealing and more accurate knowledge, and thus feel greater satisfaction.
Marx, however, sees the development of cognition only as the means for carrying out practice effectively (in the case of social problems, for carrying out production or class strife). However, he does not notice the fact that cognition itself, or practice itself, gives pleasure to man, and that men always try to enlarge their pleasure which comes from the desire for cognition or desire for seeking after value itself. As a result, Marx speaks of the development of cognition but can not explain why the development occurs.
This is the limit of Marxism and at this point the new viewpoint of the Unification Principle appears, to overcome the limitation.
4. The Ground And Method Of Cognition
We have so far examined the main problematic and debatable points concerning cognition. finally, we wish to examine the following most basic problems from the standpoint of the Unification Principle. How is it possible to recognize things? What is the phenomenon of cognition? What should we do to carry out cognition effectively and correctly?
a. Appraisal an d Correspondence
(i) Is the Mind a Tabula Rasa (Blank Tablet) by Nature?
How is cognition effected and how is it possible? Locke, Hume and Kant regarded this question as most important and examined it minutely. We too must clarify the true nature of cognition.
Is our mind a tabula rasa (blank tablet) by nature? Is experience from the outside added to the tabula rasa mind to engrave various ideas on it?
From the standpoint of the Unification Principle, we can not admit such a way of thinking. It is difficult to agree with the tabula rasa theory when we judge it according to the essence of cognition stated in Section D.
What is cognition? Its final nature or purpose is pleasure. What is pleasure then? It is to find out what is similar to us in the object which is outside of us.
So if our mind is a tabula rasa by nature, it is quite impossible to see ourselves corresponding to the object and accordingly there can be no pleasure there. It is not possible that a thing which gives us no pleasure can keep the attention of our mind for long. Even a baby several months old feels a strong interest in the things around him and cries with joy to see things move and to see beautiful colors, forms, or persons. Thus it seems that already in his infant childhood, man holds within his mind something which we call the prototype of truth, beauty and goodness, and comparing the sensations of the objects coming from the outside with the prototypes, man judges whether a thing is right or wrong, beautiful or ugly.
According to the Unification Principle, the process of cognition is as follows. Cognition is to unify the subject and object. The unification results when the subject and object are similar to each other. That is to say, a similarity of image (idea) between the subject and object is necessary for cognition. For instance, suppose we see a flower. Is the image of flower reflected in our tabula rasa mind like a mirror so that the idea of the flower is marked in the mind? The Unification Principle does not regard the process of cognition as occurring in this way. At first, there is an original prototype (idea) of a flower within our mind (subject). Then the image of the actual flower (object) is projected onto our mind and coincides with the prototype already there, because the two flowers are similar to each other. At this moment, the two images carry out the G-T action between them giving rise to a new result. This is cognition itself.
(ii) There Must Be An Appraisal of Correspondence
Let us think of the action of our mind in the action of cognition. We shall surely notice that the action of judgment is always present during the process.
When we see a thing and can not know at all what it is, the action of cognition does not take place. There is only the feeling of doubt there; moreover the feeling of beauty is also absent. Only when we feel something similar to us, do we come to open our mind and ascertain more clearly what it is. This is judgment.
What is judgment? It is to compare what comes from outside with what we already have in our mind and to see whether the two correspond with each other. Accordingly, judgment may be also called an "Appraisal of Correspondence."
Cognition can be classified into intellectual, emotional and volitional types. These can all be achieved when there are intellectual, emotional and volitional judgments respectively. The purpose of cognition is pleasure but there must be judgment before we obtain pleasure. We judge that this is beautiful or that- this is a kind person and through such a judgment, pleasure can be obtained.
If judgment is, as stated above, to compare what comes from outside with what we hold in our mind beforehand and to see whether or not the two of them correspond with each other, has our mind known the things that are outside of us already, before cognition? No, of course not. Then why does man hold such universal judgment standards inside of him by nature? In order to clarify this, it is necessary to explain a core theory of the Unification Principle.
(iii) Man Has the Prototypes of All Things Within Him
The Unification Principle says, "That is, man is God's substantial object with His dual characteristics manifested as "direct image" while all things of the universe are the substantial objects of God with His dual characteristics manifested as "indirect image" (symbol). (Divine Principle, p. 26)
Direct image is the philosophical expression of the idea of God's image as expressed in Genesis (1:27) (though, according to the Unification Principle, God's image includes not only Hyung Sang but also Sung Sang) and means that God's Sung Sang and Hyung Sang are directly and totally embodied. On the other hand, symbolic means that God's Sung Sang and Hyung Sang are indirectly and partially embodied just as an artist expresses what is in him symbolically through his works.
Therefore, man is the expression of the whole of God while individual things are expressions of parts of God. The whole (human beings) must include all the parts (things), and thus can correspond with any part (anything) and can discover what is similar to him in the universe. This is what the Unification Principle shows about the relation between man and things.
Let us take man's body as an example. His characteristics are almost the same as those of other higher animals, and hence he is said to be a Primate. Also, his functions are similar to those of machines. Accordingly, some scholars even advocate that man is a machine. However the similarities do not stop here. Man's lungs are similar to the leaves of plants, his stomach to the roots, and blood vessels to the xylem and phloem. In this sense, man may be a plant. In the human body structure . the skin is covered with hair, blood vessels exist in the musculature, and still deeper lies the marrow within the skeleton." (Ibid., p. 45) In the case of the earth too, "The earth's crust is covered with plants, under ground waterways exist in the substrata, and beneath all this lies molten lava surrounded by rocks." (Ibid., p. 45) Here too we see the similarity between the human body and the earth. Thus man can see himself even in the gigantic earth. More over, man's hands and mouth are, unlike those of other animals, not specialized too narrowly. Using his hands, man can dig a hole, swim, or hold or catch various tools, and using his mouth, he can imitate the voice of any animal. Man's naked body is regarded as beauty itself; all the elements of beauty are contained in it. It is said, therefore, that when an artist masters sketching the human body, he can draw any form. Though small, the human eyes can see the whole universe. Though small, the human brain can think deeply of the whole universe. It is not too much to say that man is the "encapsulation of all things" (Ibid., p. 44) (a microcosm or synthesized substantial body of the whole cosmos).
(iv) The Prototypes Exist Deep in the Latent Consciousness
Thus all the elements of the universe are included in the human body and the prototypes of all ideas and the representations of all these elements are formed beforehand and kept in the back of man's mind. That is to say, in the latent consciousness of the deepest part of the mind, the prototypes of the ideas of all things in the universe have already been formed before the action of cognition starts. The mechanism is as follows. Living things consist of cells and organs, the action of which comes from the "dominion and autonomy of the Principle itself." (Ibid., p. 55). The "Autonomy of the Principle" means consciousness (latent consciousness) and this consciousness within the cells and organs already carries the image of the cells. This is called "original consciousness." In the case of an animal, the mind of the animal (physical mind) has a give-and-take relation with the original consciousness of the cells and organs of the animal, and communication is established between the mind and the original consciousness. In this way the physical mind already contains the various images of the cells and organs which are the prototypes of the ideas corresponding to all things in the outside world. (However, the prototypes of the ideas can not be realized as actual ideas without the action of cognition, that is, coincidence with the outside world.)
This is the same as in the case of the physical mind of man; subconsciously it has the prototype of the idea corresponding to each cell and organ. The spiritual mind of the spiritual body has a give-and-take relationship with the physical mind and, together with this, forms the natural mind as a whole (human mind in the usual meaning). As a result, the natural mind already subconsciously has the direct images of spiritual and physical elements.
For instance, in the original consciousness of a cell there are images of size .. circles, globes, movement, and so on which are reflections of the physical part of the cell onto the original consciousness and thus are called "original reflections." These are connected to the physical mind where they are recorded deep in it through the G-T action between the original consciousness and the physical mind. Furthermore, they are transmitted to, and marked in, the depths of the subconsciousness of the natural mind (the mind of man as a whole including his spiritual body) through the G-T action between the physical mind and the spiritual mind. [Note: This kind of give-and-take action is necessarily accompanied by that of the physiological system. All of the processes in living things, especially in the human body, have the two (paired) aspects of Sung Sang and Hyung Sang. Since the G-T action of original consciousness and mind is the Sung Sang action, it is necessarily accompanied by the Hyung Sang action which is the G-T action between the peripheral nervous system including cells (and organs) and the central nervous system.]
Thus, in the mind, there are already the prototypes of the images of all the things of the objective world. So, if an image of a flower comes from the outside, and this image and a prototype within sub-consciousness correspond with each other, the two are connected and unified and come to the surface of the consciousness. As a result, one can judge that the unified image is a flower. This is cognition itself. In other words, cognition is an appraisal of correspondence.
(v) Cognition is the Unification of the Outside and Inside
Let us reach the conclusion as quickly as possible. The advocators of empiricism assert that cognition grows as some impression from the outside and is marked in our mind, which at first is empty like a tabula rasa. This is not true.
If it were true, there could be no pleasure, nor excitement, nor sympathy. Besides, the empiricists can not explain why man has such a strong and continuous curiosity. Moreover, the stimulus from the outside itself is scattered and dispersed. For instance, suppose we are looking at a singing bird. The figure of the bird and the sound of singing come to our mind through different sense organs; that is, the figure comes through the eyes and the sound comes through the ears. If the human mind were empty as a mere blank tablet, these stimuli would always be separated and not unified. But we recognize the united totality, the singing bird. Something must act to unify the sensations.
It is the mind, including the subconscious, as stated above, that unifies these scattered stimuli. [Note: In the case of the mind unifying scattered stimuli, it is also necessary for a physiological process to be involved, because, as mentioned above, a Sung Sang process must run parallel to a Hyung Sang process. Therefore the unifying action of the mind requires the interactions of many associated fibers and nerve cells in the brain. Without both processes, cognition can not occur.]
Before we actually receive some stimuli from the outside, we already have the contents and forms of various latent images or the autonomy of the Principle deep in the mind as our subconscious. The prototypes, not yet embodied, and the reflection (image) of actual things from outside, are connected and unified by the G-T action. As a result, the cognition which can be called surface consciousness, appears. This is knowledge itself.
The image existing deep in the subconsciousness is buried and unknown until the operation of cognition begins to act. Until then, we can not know about the image even though it exists within us. We know it subconsciously but not as a concrete thing, just like in the seed of a cherry tree, the cherry exists as life but is not yet an embodied form. A stimulus corresponding with the prototype comes in, and the correspondence between the stimulus (image) and prototype suddenly makes us grasp an idea, because the prototype (idea) is actualized at the moment of cognition.
Therefore, cognition never develops one-sidedly. The subconsciousness, or prototype latent beforehand, corresponds with the actual image which comes from the outside. The G-T action between them brings about cognition and there is a thrilling feeling, excitement and sympathy there. Seeking after such feeling and excitement, we become eager to know the natural world to the last detail.
With the prototype as the standard, we reunify the stimuli, which come in dispersed, and recreate the natural world in our mind.
b. The Similarity of Content and Form
The Content and Form of Both the Outside and the Inside.
Kant also admits that cognition is the unification of the inner and outer worlds, but he thinks that only content (matter) comes from the outside, and only form exists within, and that these two are unified. Thus the world of " things-in- themselves" (Ding an Sich) has been regarded as impossible for our cognition to reach; the forms through which we perceive the object are fixed. It thus became difficult to grasp the dynamic changes of the objective world. In short, various contradictions and problematic points have appeared.
On the other hand, we think that not only content, but also the form supporting it, exists in the outer objective world (independent of the cognition of the subject) and that the content itself, as well as the form of cognition, exists latent within us. The objective world which has both content and form and which is unified independently of the subject comes into the subject as scattered and dispersed stimuli. These stimuli are then united by the latent content and form which we hold beforehand, and the subject and object are reconstructed and reunified within ourselves.
For example, let us take the forms of time and space. As stated in "Ontology", all beings maintain their existence by forming the outer Four Position Base (Outer Quadruple Base) through the G-T action, and producing the forces for action, growth, and multiplication. Accordingly, there must be some distinction between the positions of the subject and object. This is space. The G-T action produces movement and carries out the three-stage development of Chung-Boon-Hap. This is time. Accordingly, the forms of time and space must exist, not only within the cognition of the subject, but also within the object.
At the same time, if we consider the inside of man, there is the flow of blood, the operation of the nerves and various physiological phenomena taking place in the cells and organs. These are all results of the formation of the Four Position Base by the G-T action. Accordingly, there are things concerning time and space already within us, and they are transmitted physically to nerve centers through the nerve action and to the mind (physical and spiritual mind) through the subconsciousness by give-and-take action. With these as the grounds of sensibility, the "intuition forms of time and space" of Kant appear.
Thus the forms of time and space exist in both the object and subject. We think that they are both existence forms and also cognition forms. It will not be necessary to explain the correspondence of inner and outer worlds concerning content since we studied it minutely in subsection (1) of this section.
In short, content and form exist in both the inside and outside. Cognition occurs when and where they correspond to each other. This is our epistemology. Here it is necessary to note that the nerve system is always active in cognition. In other words, the actions of both Sung Sang and Hyung Sang are necessary in the process of cognition.
c. Transcendence and Priority
(i) The Priority of the Prototype
Lastly, we are going to examine Kant's "transcendence" from the standpoint of the Unification Principle.
Kant found various cognition forms in man which must exist in principle before experience and he called them a priori (transcendental). That is to say, according to Kant, it is only forms that exist before experience, and in order to make his theory consistent, the forms must already be basically completed before experience.
According to the Unification Principle, however, not only the form but also the content of cognition already exists in the human being as a subconscious prototype, though these forms and contents are not yet completed, not consciously known by us, and are not systematized clearly before experience.
As soon as the stimulus corresponding to the prototype comes in from the outside, the image (reflection) and prototype are unified, so that the form and content of cognition are both actualized. By repeating such unification (experience), both the content and form of the prototype within the subconscious are clarified and completed to become the premise (a priori condition) of the next cognition. In this sense, we call the content and form existing within us subconsciously before experience "priority", which is different from Kant's a priori or transcendence.
(ii) The Development of the Prototype
Man has the prototypes of the objects of cognition within himself before cognition. Only when he successfully finds the stimuli from the outside which coincide with the prototypes, can he understand the objects, and cognition is composed. He can know the object since he has the prototype of the object within him. If he did not, cognition could not occur.
But this does not mean that the prototype is clear from the beginning, nor does it deny that the contents of cognition, including the prototypes, are various and will be developed fully later.
Especially when we are babies, the prototypes within us are very ambiguous. Gradually, however, as new experience is added which can settle in our mind as cognition through being compared with the prototype, the experience is accumulated within the subconsciousness, and then acts as a new prototype for the next cognition when we face another new experience. Thus, the prototypes within us are successively deepened, enriched and diversified.
For instance, a young child already has a prototype of a flower within himself. But even when he sees a flower, he can not yet tell what flower it is unless he is taught the name of the flower. When we tell him that it is, say, a cherry blossom, the idea of a cherry blossom is formed and then enters his subconsciousness. When he sees a cherry blossom again, he immediately understands that it is a cherry blossom. That is to say, the ambiguous pattern (prototype) of a flower is specialized into that of a cherry blossom, which will become a new prototype at the time of his next experience.
Thus the concept of priority (prototype) is always required because the prototype of the object of cognition must exist within us before the establishment of cognition. This means that the prototypes must be prior to the establishment of cognition, but does not mean that all the prototypes exist in complete forms inherently. At first there only may be something like an ambiguous presentiment and it may be so ambiguous that sometimes we first notice the prototype corresponding with the image from outside only when we come across it. With each cognition, the content and form of the cognition, which is clarified according to the quality of the cognition, are accumulated within us, and these become the new prototypes for the next experience, that is, the prior prototypes for establishing the next cognition.
Such being the case, we can define cognition as the combination or unification of the prototype, which the subject (human being) contains beforehand, and the image coming from the object, through the give-and-take action between the two. [Note: Not only things, but also man, and even God, can be the objects of cognition. In status (position), God is the subject of man. But so far as cognition is concerned, since the one who recognizes is regarded as the subject, God becomes the object. However, one can not see God as a concrete image; God can only be known spiritually through Heart.]
d. Spiritual Cognition
Besides all these, there are the spiritual cognitions belonging to the senses of the spirit man such as spiritual intuition, inspiration and ESP (extrasensory perception). In order to clarify the meaning of cognition perfectly we must enter these fields. (In fact, there have been many cases in which inventions, discoveries, and the creation of new theories depended on spiritual cognition.) However, there are so few people who have conscious spiritual experiences that we omit the explanation of this problem at this time to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding.
5. Summary And Conclusion
Finally, let us summarize what we have discussed until now, and then reach the conclusion.
As to the problem of how cognition is composed, Kant asserts that one can reach cognition through the intuition forms and understanding categories belonging to the subject, while Marx and Lenin advocate the theory of reflection, stressing the objective existence form one-sidedly and wrongly making light of the rich contents, subjectivity, selectivity and individuality on the side of the subject.
On the other hand, we think, with the principle of the give-and-take action (the Four Position Base) as the standard, that the objective world independently of the subject must have the forms of existence as well as the contents. (This means the affirmation of realism.) We also hold, as Kant did, that man has the prototypes of the forms of cognition within himself as a precondition for the formation of cognition before the experience. Unlike Kant, however, we think that the form is not originally complete, but that it is gradually clarified as it finds correspondence with the images coming from the outside. Also, we think that before experience, man, within himself, has not only form but also the prototype of the contents of cognition.
Cognition is the G-T action between the subject and object, and this action combines and unifies the prototype held by the subject beforehand with the image coming from the object. (Accordingly, cognition is a kind of confirmation or appraisal.) The knowledge gained once can be clarified more by practice, and practice can be advanced by new knowledge (cognition). Thus cognition and practice develop spirally in a close relationship. Content, image and form accumulate in the subconscious and become new prior prototypes for the next cognition. (Therefore, the more experience is accumulated, the richer becomes the contents or prototypes in the subconscious.)
Between the subject and object (objective world) or between form and content exists the give-and-take relationship in which combination or unification is accomplished. Epistemology based on this standpoint may be called "Epistemology by the Give-And-Take Law" if viewed in terms of method, and "Unification Epistemology", if viewed in terms of purpose.
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