The Words of the Pople Family
Continuing last year's study of "The Search for Absolute Values and the Creation of a New World," 520 scholars and scientists attended the Eleventh International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Philadelphia, November 25-28.
The smaller number of participants reflects a shift in emphasis towards academic quality and creating task forces which will deal with specific questions and produce papers that will make a significant contribution towards resolving issues.
The "Absolute Value Perspective" theme from the Founder's Address was picked up by ICUS chairmen during the opening plenary session. In introducing Father, Dr. Kenneth Mellanby quoted from the resolution passed at the end of the Tenth ICUS, in appreciation of Father. "I am very conscious that we have not lived up to the ideals of Rev. Moon," he said. "We should take full advantage of occasions such as this and hope that they will contribute in some degree to the establishment of the new world, which we so ardently desire."
Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, introducing his committee on "Responsibility of the Individual in World Society," acknowledged that intellectuals have often led the way to irresponsible solutions and urged that the scholars and scientists in attendance take responsibility for problems facing mankind. Other committee chairmen were: Robert U. Ayres, on "Technology as a Panacea?"; Claude A. Villee, Jr., on "Human Populations in the Future"; Gerard Radnitzky, on "Models of Rationality"; and Karl H. Pribram, on "Self, Society, and the Cosmos."
A dramatic new feature of this Eleventh ICUS was the presentation of the Founder's Award to Dr. Eugene P. Wigner. The Founder's Award will be given every two years "in recognition of outstanding service to mankind, the advancement of science, and the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences."
A professor emeritus at Princeton University, Dr. Wigner received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for his contribution to group theory and formulation of symmetry principles. Introducing Dr. Wigner, Dr. Alvin Weinberg paid tribute to his distinguished career, "We at ICUS are privileged to know such a profound philosopher and fierce fighter for man's freedom. Only now are people beginning to heed his warnings of the need for strength as the means for maintaining peace."
The $200,000 Founder's Award -- an amount of money similar to the Nobel Peace Prize -- is being established to enable scholars to further their work or to found scholarship programs.
"This is entirely unexpected and undeserved," remarked a modest Dr. Wigner, who had just celebrated his 80th birthday. He announced that he would donate $20,000 of the award to a charity of his choice, and asked that a committee be formed to decide how best to distribute the remaining money. Along with Dr. Kaplan, this year's ICUS chairman, Dr. Wigner will co-chair next year's conference in Chicago.
The closing banquet featured the International Folk Ballet, the Go-World Brass Band, and concert pianist Earl Wild. Father then sang a Korean folk song, in his inimitable style. After paying tribute to the chairman, the participants, pianist, ICUS secretariat, and the host city -- Father reminded everyone of the conference theme. "This country is now capable of creating a physical and technological paradise on earth," he explained. "However, without an understanding of absolute value, this external capability could become a curse instead of a blessing. It is, therefore, very meaningful that we scholars and scientists gather in this founding city of America to renew our search for absolute value and the creation of a new world."
In a style reminiscent of the "I met Moses, I met Buddha, I met Jesus" newspaper headlines in New York last summer, Father mentioned Benjamin Franklin, a famous Philadelphian: "I saw him walking through the lobby of the hotel the other day. Too bad you all missed him! Ben Franklin was an accomplished scientist and inventor himself, but he could never have imagined that one day scientists from around the world would gather like this in Philadelphia. I feel that he may have one regret, however. He must be wondering why Rev. Moon did not start this conference 200 years ago. Then he could have received the first Founder's Award!"
Everyone was amused at Father's sense of humor. His short speech ended with a hope that the solutions to the problems of mankind and a genuine formula for world peace would come through the efforts of outstanding scholars. "For some people this may seem like an impossible dream," he added, "and we all may appear to be the Don Quixotes of the 20th century. But for one who has absolute faith in the Almighty, it is not an impossible dream. However, God needs champions to rally for His cause. I would like to consider that we are gathered together here as His champions."
ICUS participants this year heard reports about the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, a new outgrowth of the Professors World Peace Academy in America. Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, as president of PWPA in America, and Neil Salonen, as director of the Washington Institute, have invested much time and effort during 1982 to establish the Institute.
As a non-profit, non-partisan institute, it will study the long-range implications of public policy issues affecting the security and well-being of the American people. As a kind of "think tank," it hopes to provide decision-makers with a critical understanding of the consequences of the policy decisions they are called upon to make, and to offer these resources to the public.
During its first year, the Washington Institute sponsored speakers and held briefing sessions, in addition to compiling and distributing information. An East-West Center is being planned as well. In the future, it will provide a vehicle for scholars who wish to research and write on public issues.
Seven task forces have begun studying relevant political and social issues: Religion and Politics, Central America, Disarmament, Aggression, Middle East, the Arts and the Humanities, and the Asian International Highway. Each task force is led by a scholar of national reputation, who will appoint task force members, guide their research, and edit and disseminate their findings. The Institute itself will take no positions on matters of public policy.
Each year ICF Press has published the entire Conference proceedings in a huge volume (or volumes) edited by Glenn Strait. Over the years, ICUS has compiled the most complete set of papers on the unity of the sciences, unequaled by any other group worldwide. Such a compendium is useful as a reference work, but the sheer number of pages makes the material hard to utilize. Thus, additional publishing projects are now in progress.
To guide the publishing efforts of ICF, an editorial board was formed in 1981, with Dr. Morton Kaplan as president. The next year, a new publishing house was formed, with William Gertz as publisher: Paragon House Publishers [the word paragon means a model of virtues]. Several years ago, Father had commissioned five books, initiating a "Focus" series of the best ICUS papers on specific issues. The first two such books have just been released: Mind and Brain: The Many-Faceted Problems, edited by Sir John Eccles; and Modernization: The Humanist Response to Its Promise and Problems, by Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein. Future books are planned, dealing with society and morality, technology and development, evolution, and the philosophy of science. Ideally, each year a half a dozen or so new titles will appear.
Another new book from ICF Press, prepared for this year's ICUS, is a collection of the Founder's Addresses from the past ten years.
At the closing plenary session, Dr. Kaplan outlined the changing format for ICUS, beginning next year at the Twelfth ICUS, to be held in Chicago: "In order to make for more genuine discussion, the Conference will be smaller. We will set up several task forces, and each will prepare and present between five and seven papers. This will leave room for 200 discussion papers, which will bring considerably more openness and allow for far greater contribution by those participating."
In the coming years, ICUS will stress high-quality, publishable papers; task force members will guide the scholars as they write their papers, and participants' comments will be taken into consideration in editing the final version. Each task force will meet a couple of times during the year, perhaps in different continents, and continue its work until it has published the definitive papers on the issue. Participants in the annual ICUS will include primarily scholars with interest and expertise on the issues under discussion that year.
The International Cultural Foundation will serve as an umbrella organization of ICUS, coordinating activities of various projects. Michael Leone, a long-time Unification Church member with experience in many activities, is the new secretary-general of ICF, guiding day-to-day operations of the capable staff. A quarterly ICUS newsletter is being planned, to help maintain communications between conference organizers and scholars.
In addition, the Professors World Peace Academy, through its branches around the world, will offer all the ICUS participants opportunities to meet, in smaller groups by country or region, throughout the year. Long- established in Korea and Japan, PWPA has very active chapters in Europe, and is no.' being organized throughout the third world as well.
Over the past five years, ICF has organized 16 introductory seminars on the Unification Movement. More than a thousand scholars and professionals from 70 nations have attended these seminars.
"Many professors are wanting to learn more and more about our church and have closer contact with us," observed Hugh Spurgin, secretary-general of PWPA in the United States. "This marks a fundamental change in attitude. Participants want to have more contact with Unification Church leaders, CARP leaders, missionaries, etc. As they compare the resources that have been invested in efforts such as the science conferences with the resources invested in our missionary work, they are touched."
The first intermediate seminar was held the week following this year's ICUS, at the World Mission Center. During that week 85 ICUS participants and their spouses who already had attended an introductory seminar heard lectures on Divine Principle and Unification lifestyle and visited church projects in New York.
Neil Salonen, secretary-general of the Eleventh ICUS and president of ICF, commented on Father's vision for scholars: "Father has been trying to build bridges and make a foundation for a new culture by synthesizing things of value from every culture. How can the family sense of responsibility be recovered or built up? In the United States and in many other cultures as well, this question needs to be dealt with. In order for a nation to progress, it needs the intangible resources of social and moral values; some nations progress at the sacrifice of traditional values. Nations can no longer deal with their problems in an isolated way, but in an international context.
"Academic people often become spiritually dry, but these are the people God is seeking to work through, in order to lay the foundation for the kingdom of God on earth. Scholars receive little honor, compared to people who dedicate their lives to gaining political power, amassing wealth, building up fame, etc. Father's desire is to gather these scholars and serve them, in the position of Abel-type scholars. At our conferences, people start to develop some personal feeling about Father, through a handshake in the receiving line, listening to his funny remarks at the closing banquet, etc. They can intuit that he is a person of great integrity."
"The intensity of feeling about our movement is becoming sharper. The opposition is getting sharper and, in a way, dirtier, but we have more friends willing to work with us. It is important for our movement to be a reflection of Father. Just on a human level, have you ever met anyone as rock-solid as he? You never see him out of character. It is absolutely critical that we be law abiding people and maintain total integrity."
"As other religious movements begin to prosper, they have often become corrupted and lost their discipline. During transition times, values are threatened and people can become confused or judgmental. The Mormon, church is one exception; they have not lost their discipline, and they are growing fast. If we can do things with cohesion, with discipline, without losing sight of what we are trying to do, we will achieve our goal."