Articles From the April 1994 Unification News
Unification Thought and Wisdom
by Paul J. Perry-NYC
The price of wisdom is beyond rubies. One of the goals of spiritual life is the attainment of wisdom. But wisdom is not the same as knowledge: Not everyone who has a lot of knowledge is wise; and wise people don't necessarily have a lot of knowledge. In this article, I will discuss wisdom from the perspective of Unification Thought. These ideas are part of the course "Applications of Unification Thought," which is a follow-up course to "Essentials of Unification Thought."
Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, knowledge has been considered the surest way to achieve perfection. According to this view, those who know are incapable of doing wrong; and wrongdoers have become like that only because of ignorance.
Divine Principle, however, tells us that it takes more than knowledge for someone to achieve perfection. This article will not address the issue of perfection, but only an aspect of it-- namely, wisdom. My point is that wisdom is a better way to perfection than just knowledge; I will attempt a description of the process whereby one can achieve wisdom.
Wisdom and Shimjong
In Unification Thought terms, knowledge is in the object position within the mind; it resides in the inner hyungsang. Just from this, we can know that knowledge does not play the dominant role in the development of personality. That dominant role is played by Shimjong, or heart. Wisdom is close to the concept of Shimjong in Unification Thought, although not as deep. I will make a distinction between wisdom and Shimjong below. The point is that wisdom is the best medium for Shimjong to manifest itself in human life.
What, then, is wisdom? Let us begin by considering the mind as a whole. Our mental functions can be divided into thinking, feeling, and willing. A wise person is someone who has these three functions well developed and well balanced. Spiritual growth, the attainment of perfection, the full development of our potentialities--all these can be described in terms of the expansion of our inner universe, or the expansion of our capacity to think, feel, and will. According to Divine Principle, the typical process of growth takes us through eight levels--namely, individual, family, tribe, society, nation, world, cosmos, and God. True wisdom can be attained only when we have grown through all these eight levels and have expanded our inner universe to the level of oneness with God. The expanding universe
In the intellectual development of humankind as a whole, we also see a process of expansion. In ancient Greece, for instance, it was customary to compare the size of the sun to the size of the Peloponnesus. At the time of Julius Caesar, astronomers knew that the sun was a huge star, and they estimated the distance between the earth and the sun at about half of what it actually is.
We know today that almost all the stars that we see with the naked eye are part of our Galaxy, or the Milky Way, which is just one among billions of such star systems in the universe.
Our understanding of biological life has expanded with equal amazement. In the 1950s, scientists were so optimistic about creating life in a laboratory that they expected to do so "in about five years." In the 1960s, scientists were less optimistic but nevertheless sure they would harness life in a laboratory "in about ten years." In the 1970s, they became less sure but still predicted that we would beable to create life in a laboratory "in about twenty-five years." In the 1980s, scientists stopped making prediction as to when humankind would be able to create life in a laboratory.
Consider now our concept of time. With a powerful telescope, I can look at a star whose light is reaching me after having traveled for half a billion years. So, what I see through the telescope today is something that happened a long, long time ago. Thus, throughout history the human mind has been continually expanding. Physically, the human being is but a speck of dust in the immense universe; nevertheless, through the human mind we can contain the whole universe and more. That is why the Bible says in Luke 9:25, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self."
Let us consider the expansion of the will. Largely speaking, one's will is limited by one's limits of knowledge. With limited knowledge, evil people can do only limited harm, and good people can perform only limited acts of goodness. The advancement of scientific knowledge has enabled us to visit the moon; in the future, humankind may able to control earthquakes, the weather, floods, typhoons, and ocean tides.
In order for this growth of knowledge to bring us blessings rather than a disasters, we must expand human consciousness in the scope of volitional acts. Expanding from the limited purposes of individual, family, and even nation, we must grow to the larger purposes of world and cosmos, reaching for the level of God. Either we do that, or we will surely face armageddon. The growth of feelings
The attainment of wisdom will not happen without a comparable expansion of human feelings. In fallen human nature, one's purpose for action is largely determined by feelings, which can have either a narrow scope or a broad scope. The scope of feelings can be determined by what we consider "us" vs. "them." When we say "us," who do we include in that concept? This question reminds me of an experience I once had while lecturing in South America. The population of a small village was having troubles with crime committed by members of the native community. To my surprise, I heard that among themselves those same natives lived by very strict ethical norms: No theft, no murder, no lying, no adultery. That was a typical problem of "us vs. "them."
This kind of problem is very common in, for example, race relations, inter-party political relations, and even international relations. It is a sign of lack of wisdom to believe that it is okay to do harm to someone as long he or she is not "one of us."
True wisdom is to realize that one can benefit more by loving one's enemies than by hating them. In other words, cooperation is not just a second-best to competition: It is actually better than competition. That is why organizations such as the European Community, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the economic alliances of South America have come about even before our nationalistic sensibilities have caught up with them.
Our emotions expand when they are able to experience feelings along such lines of cooperation. This kind of expansion creates an integration of heart and purpose, which leads to an integration of action.
Wisdom, then, is not knowledge alone, not feelings alone, not will alone: It is a harmonious balance of the three. Here's where Unification Thought goes beyond traditional thought. Unification Thought sees the human being mostly as a being of heart, or Shimjong, which is ''an emotional impulse to be joyful through love.'' The root of wisdom is to be found in heart; this is the base upon which intellect, emotion, and will can be fully expanded and harmoniously balanced. The reign of knowledge
Ancient Greece could be described as ''the kingdom of knowledge on earth,'' where the most important qualification to become the leader of a nation was to be a philosopher. Alexander the Great is perhaps the most representative example of the royal power of knowledge. Though not a philosopher himself, he was educated under the tutelage of one of the greatest philosophical minds of all times, namely, Aristotle. Moreover, he initiated the age of Hellenism, which, together with Hebraism, played the two pivotal roles in the development of the providence of restoration. Divine Principle ascribes a position of object to Hellenism as contrasted to Hebraism's subject position. Hebraism contained a great deal of wisdom from the revelation give to it by God. The revolution of heart
Since traditional thought has no concept comparable to Heart, it cannot render a good account of what wisdom is. In traditional thought, heart is no more than emotion, or feeling. In Unification Thought, heart is beyond emotion, beyond intellect, and beyond will. It is the root of these three. Actually, heart is beyond love itself, for it is the root of love.
The goal of the Unification Movement is to bring about a ''revolution of heart,'' which will implant wisdom into the various levels of society. In order for that to happen, we need to bring God back to society. Only then will true wisdom really exist on earth.
Wisdom continues to be that elusive quality that can't quite be described; but at least we have a better understanding of its parameters, namely, a balanced integration and full expansion of intellect, emotion, and will centered on heart, or Shimjong. There are cultures, such as the Islamic one, in which wisdom is very much connected with age. But the passage of time is no guarantee of the acquisition of wisdom, as we know so well. A better understanding of wisdom comes with the study and practice of Unification Thought. And let us not forget that ''the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...'' (Psalms 111:10).
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