Articles From the June 1994 Unification News


Culture Confluence

by Paul Carlson

The world is coming into unity. In this article we'll take an 'internal' look at the future. (See "Principle Paradigm" for an 'external' look.) The world's cultures are disparate, and in frequent conflict. How might they harmonize?

There are many 'classic' cultural differences: between what sociologists call the world's East and West, and North and South regions. Let's check out a few examples.

Since Ruth Benedict ("The Chrysanthemum and the Sword") and others, it's been popular to compare Japan and the United States. Japan with its "flexible mystic" philosophy, and appreciation of nature. Yet a rigid social structure and code, where "the nail that sticks up gets pounded down." America with its "absolute Word" rational philosophy and desire to 'conquer' nature. Celebrating individualism--so not getting along. Japan with a "culture of shame," where "a man away from home is without shame"--and could catch AIDS. America with a "culture of sin," where gunman might cry "see you in Hell" before shooting up a workplace.

Unificationists honor Korea for the strength of its families and traditions. Where 'purity' is highly valued, particularly in women. It is said that women carried a small dagger, so that if accosted, they might die rather than be violated. However, the West might answer: "If you've got that dagger out, in your free hand--ever heard of Lorena Bobbitt?" You KNOW that offender won't "repeat" again!

There is also a vast difference between the developed North and the impoverished South. It's difficult to discuss this without the shadow of racism and colonialism emerging. Still, there are marked, age-old differences.

The South retains intense "tribal" loyalties, as does the emerging post-socialist world. (The 'Third' and 'Second' worlds, in case you were wondering.) In the North ('First' world), tribal emotions have been sublimated into sports-fan enthusiasm! (Except 'gang' throwbacks?)

The North values precision and scheduling, demanding "exact fits" and "short traffic lights" in all aspects of life. While the South, and the ex-socialists, are very casual about keeping appointments--much less setting efficiency records. (Very 'general' statements? Of course. Racist remarks? No: personal experience of the author and his family.) Yet some "multiculturalists" admire -even teach- this too casual attitude!

Thus, it's difficult to compare America's and Japan's schools--they are vastly different. Also, it isn't enough to dump loads of 'aid' into Third World countries. In Somalia the locals carted off an entire new bridge, in one day! Much teaching must be done -and accepted- beforehand.

There is a well-known example of these differences, told around Principle-workshop coffee tables: "Picture a fork in a country road, and a man standing there. Along comes a Japanese traveler. The man points, saying 'go that way'. The Japanese says 'Hai!' and takes the indicated fork. Soon a Korean comes walking. Again, the man points. The Korean says 'Grrr' and heads off on the other road. Next comes an American. Seeing the man point, he approaches and says 'why?' Last comes a Russian. He responds 'Nyet! Impossible'. He won't move, without authorization." (Note: Could anyone tell me the authorship of this story?)

As we Unificationists have married between, and done longtime missions amongst these cultures, such examples will seem obvious. More so than to many people, who've only been to the "tourist traps," if they've traveled at all.

Our very 'mixed' Blessings are now well-known; enough for a KKK-type national newspaper to proclaim us a "champion of racial mongrelization." (Author's collection.) And the Blessing is the one certain way to totally eliminate racism! Actually, 'mixed race' is now the fastest-growing 'percentage of classification' for children! There are now nationwide groups and magazines for interracial families.

Using the Divine Principle's lens, let's check some specific aspects of culture, for good or evil.

"Cain" culture is chained to its memories, condemning themselves to repeat the past. Like the "Hatfield and McCoy feud" in middle America, or the age-old "blood feuds" in the Balkans. Now amplified a millionfold there . . . Greek and Macedonian land-claims dating back 2,400 years, and Albania's 1,800 year resentment of white (Roman) Europeans. The 800 year old Bulgarian claim on Macedonian. The better- known (only!) 500 year old Serbian/Moslem Bosnian conflict.

While "abel" culture draws strength from its past, as the Jews and Koreans have done for millenniums. Living amongst others while trying to get along with them. Solzhenitsyn said that a people could be weakened by "cutting them from their roots."

Cain cultures spread their "faiths" destructively, suppressing or destroying "heathens". As depicted in the true-story film "The Mission." Abel cultures bring knowledge and better conditions to new lands. As told, hilariously, in the novel "Teahouse of the August Moon."

Cain-culture marriages are a complex mess--especially for the women. Polygamy, wife-buying, openly-kept 'mistresses' and more. Abel marriages honor one wife, straightforward. As our Dr. Hendricks has pointed out (March 1994 UNews), Christian tradition comes up short here--we need the Blessing!

Cain cultures accept misery, low castes, etc. without much comment. Abel culture and Judeo-Christian tradition seeks to alleviate disease and poverty. While "Liberation Theology" agrees with Principle that (eventually) these will be eliminated from the world! C. S. Lewis rightly condemned the 'utopian socialists' -the poor will be with us- until the Kingdom arrives!

Poverty is only one problem assailing any culture. Racism is another, and the related phenomenon of mass migration. A hundred years ago, Americans debated letting in the Italians and Irish. Now it's allowing in Third World people--much less giving them expensive welfare, health care, etc. There is a racist element; foes picture those who "wear funny headgear," or wait on street corners for traditionally menial jobs.

Our own Principled strictness and Blessing tradition are at least as 'foreign' to American society! However, like Robby Benson's character in the film "The Chosen," we can keep a powerfully faithful life, without "looking funny" on America's streets. People from all backgrounds do work to improve their towns; and to get ahead, through school, business, sports, etc. Many thoughtful people have considered what an "ideal culture" would be like. These are the fictional "utopias." Some are austerely militaristic, like Sparta was; others indulgent and intellectual like Athens. Many of these dreams are hatched on the West Coast, birthplace of many trends. In fact, California's very name comes from a medieval Spanish novel about "Queen Califa and her paradisiacal island."

Some have hoped to find a utopia already awaiting them. Reading books like Margaret Mead's on "south sea paradises." But her books, and many similar ones, have been repeatedly disproven.

Plato wrote his "Republic," about a strict culture, with children raised entirely by the State. Throughout the Middle Ages, other authors echoed his theme. Not until the French Revolution did they really try something. (Hint: They're still at it!)

There are also "anarchist" dreams, of places where no one rules--at least they're not supposed to. Classics in this genre include Huxley's "Island" and LeGuin's "The Dispossessed."

Some "New Age" writers hope for "raised consciousness" to bring in a harmonious era. Read Thea Alexander's "2150 AD." Similar "ecologically-correct" paradises are hoped for. The widespread interest in the "Biosphere" project shows this. Other such communities are said to have 'artificial' foundations, such as the rare, strange drug in Frank Herbert's "The Santaroga Barrier."

Everyone realizes that many seemingly intractable problems block the way to any kind of utopia. For example, the Third World's preference for male children. Through 'ultrasounds', and older means, there is already a 'surplus' of millions of boys! There are diehard racists and tribalists in many countries--making headlines in South Africa and Rwanda. Also 'incorrigible' criminals, of many sorts.

There are children growing up in "radicalized" nations, taught little of the larger world--and to hate it . . . Some young people live in cultures steeped in "rage and revenge," where fiery preachers swear: "My grandchildren will burn your cities!" Others are too malnourished to care that much. Even in once striving-to-be-free America, people are gassed, then burned alive. Because they were "alarming the Federal authorities." (Waco: America's answer to Tianenman Square--both were allegedly done for "public safety.")

All of these problems can and will be overcome, sooner or later. Young people don't always care to "take up the cudgels" of their spiteful parents. Even adults sometimes "see the light."

Men and women are so very different, they practically form "different cultures" all by themselves! Several books exploring this--and talking of building unity--have become best sellers. There are now simple tests that can predict the stability of a marriage quite accurately! (One wonders how our disparate Blessed couples would test out. A brother in Texas has been checking.)

Many cultures occupy entire regions, such as the Mormons in Utah or the Protestant's Bible Belt. The real utopia, the "ideal culture," will occupy many nations--eventually the whole world, then other worlds. Rev. Moon has said that, to the Saints and Angels in the spiritual world, "the world is like an ice cube." Not too formidable!

Understanding history's patterns will help shape a better future. Wise elders from many cultures will guide people from any and all backgrounds. Young people will honor the past, and gladly welcome a better future. East and West, North and South, races and nations shall flow into confluence. All can live in the Ideal Culture.


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