Explorations in Unificationism edited by Theodore T. Shimmyo and David A. Carlson

Psychology and Unification Thought by Jennifer P. Tanabe


One of the greatest challenges facing us as human beings is the understanding of our own human nature. We all agree that the human psyche has great complexity, yet philosophers and psychologists alike certainly do not agree on any single model of human nature. A number of different philosophical views have been adopted by psychologists, and the resulting models show very different characteristics. In fact, it is common in psychological literature to see long debates between competing schools of research that are based on opposing philosophical approaches. And, demonstrating even less agreement, there exist different schools of psychology which hardly communicate with each other at all yet still claim to be studying the same subject matter -- human nature. Historically, psychologists have had to face the problem of how to study human nature while achieving scientific respectability, or how psychology could be recognized as a field with its own integrity, separate from philosophy and theology. In order to achieve this, they sought to employ the scientific method of hypothesis testing through empirical research. Thus the development of psychology has been influenced both by philosophy and science.

Wertheimer, in writing a history of psychology,1 noted five developments in science and three major trends in philosophy that led to the birth of experimental psychology in the mid-nineteenth century. Science contributed extensive physiological research on sensation, the concepts of evolution and atomism, the desirability of quantification and the establishment of laboratories. The major philosophical trends were Critical Empiricism, dealing with the question of how one can acquire knowledge; Associationism, on the question of how ideas hang together; and Scientific Materialism, which claimed that mind and behavior are part of the natural world and can be described just as scientifically and materialistically as any other phenomena.

Immanuel Kant expressed profound skepticism that a successful science of psychology could be developed:

He believed that a science has to apply mathematical laws to empirical data, and that such data have to be collected in real experiments, but because psychology deals with elements that putatively have no spatial dimensions -- pure thoughts -- such experimentation was not possible. A second problem was that psychology would have to consider the instrument of knowing -- the self; but it is not possible for the self to examine its own workings, let alone to do so in a disinterested way. There was, in addition, the problem of the level of abstraction. To conduct scientific research, one has to be able to strip away accidental factors so as to focus on the variables crucial to the theory -- a radical manipulation of the subject matter difficult, if not impossible, to bring to bear on complex and all-pervasive human interaction.... Such was the authority of Kant -- and the surface pervasiveness of his arguments -- that many of the scholars of his time shied away from the empirical investigation of psychological issues.2

Armed with Kant's skepticism that a science of human thought and the self were possible on the one hand, and the powerful influence of scientific materialism on the other, it is little wonder that the experimental psychology developed in the nineteenth century by Helmholtz and Wundt focused on the measurement of sensation and perception. Thus the psychological study of religious areas such as the human spirit or soul, the cognition of God, etc. has been severely limited.

Helmholtz's contributions included showing:

that Kant's philosophical dicta did not have absolute validity: it was indeed possible to illuminate aspects of human mental functioning in an empirical fashion. Second, Helmholtz cleared places for molecular forms of analysis (the speed of an impulse traveling along a nerve fiber) as well as molar investigations (the ways in which complex spatial arrays are seen under both normal and distorted conditions).3

And Wundt's contribution led to:

the emergence of psychology as a separate scientific discipline with its own methods, programs, and institutions.4

Indeed although some major figures in psychology, such as Freud and Piaget, did not limit themselves to such scientifically amenable topics as the study of sensation and perception, even their efforts may have suffered the influence of scientific materialism. Vander Goot has argued that both Freud and Piaget, in their efforts to maintain scientific respectability as psychologists, made a shift from a religious to a secular perspective.5 This shift, however, may be a major contributing factor in the inadequacy of their theories in describing the richness of human nature.6

If indeed the effort to satisfy criteria for science led psychologists to abandon approaches that include religious and spiritual aspects, perhaps we need to re-examine the validity of those criteria in providing an understanding of our world and our own nature, which indeed include religious and spiritual components.

Examination of the Criteria for Scientific Endeavor

The philosophy of scientific materialism has continued to influence scientists throughout this century. Karl Popper taught us that a valid theory must be falsifiable. In other words, it is through refutation of theory that we advance our knowledge not through the accumulation of supporting evidence.7

Looking at it from a somewhat different perspective, Thomas Kuhn described the activity of gathering supporting data as "normal science," but claims that true advances in knowledge come from the development of new "paradigms" through scientific revolution in which the previously held theory is proved to be false.8

While not directly addressing the issue of materialism, these two philosophies clearly assume that science is dealing with objectively observable phenomena and models that relate quantifiable measures.

In his popular book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking describes scientific theory as:

just a model of the universe, or a restricted part of it, and a set of rules that relate quantities in the model to observations that we make.... A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.9

However, Hawking commented that even a "good unified theory" of the universe would still be limited to:

just a set of rules and equations....The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.10

This is because scientists have been too concerned with answering the questions, what is the universe and how did it come into existence, to ask the question why does it exist. As Hawking concludes his book, "if we do discover a complete theory...then we would know the mind of God."11 In that case, perhaps we need to recognize the existence of God in formulating hypotheses!

Such a proposal may at first appear "unscientific." However, on closer examination of contemporary science, it becomes apparent that science may not be a purely objective achievement at all. Since Heisenberg formulated his Uncertainty Principle in 1927, physicists have been forced to acknowledge that their measurements of phenomena in fact influence the nature of the phenomena.12 Also, if Kuhn is correct in his interpretation of how scientists proceed, the majority of scientific endeavor is devoted to the accumulation of data which appear to support the scientist's own hypothesis, i.e. subjective not objective effort. Finally, when scientists attempt to answer the question of how the universe came into existence, they are forced to face the question of why it exists. The various versions of the anthropic principle13 which have been proposed in recent years to answer this question:

seem at first sight more metaphysical than scientific, having more in common with the teleological mode of explanation (namely that the universe has a purpose) favored by theologians than that used by scientists.14

Note, however, that:

even the final anthropic principle has a very precise formulation in terms of information processing. Its validity depends on the laws of physics and it might eventually be tested with the help of modern developments in the field of algorithmic complexity.15

Thus it appears that science is becoming more congruent with theology! In that case, perhaps it is time for psychologists to put aside their fears of the metaphysical, the theological and the spiritual, and develop a science of human nature that does not ignore those aspects that are essentially human. Let us now examine the theological issues which need to be considered in developing an effective psychology of human nature.

The Role of Theology

Several theological issues are basic to our understanding of human nature: the creation of human beings by God as spiritual beings, and the fall of humankind into sin. While these points may appear to condemn psychology to a non-scientific status, from the foregoing discussion of recent scientific advances this may not be inevitable. More importantly, ignoring these points may condemn psychology to ignorance of the true depths of human nature.

The argument to include human spirituality in psychology has already been made by several contemporary psychologists. Paul Vitz, introducing his Christian theory of personality, began with the statement:

To many people, especially psychologists, the very concept of a Christian theory of personality would seem impossible, strange and even offensive....it is necessary to present a context within which such a proposal makes sense. Unless this is done, many readers might assume that the contemporary psychology of personality is some kind of objective science and thus there could be no such a thing as a Christian theory of personality.16

James Hillman recently argued that psychology should be revisioned to include the spirit of religious thought.17 Scott Peck makes:

no distinction between the mind and the spirit, and therefore no distinction between the process of achieving spiritual growth and achieving mental growth.18

Thus the recognition of human beings as spiritual, created by God, has already begun.

However there is another dimension to spirituality. If we look at Freud's outstanding achievements in unraveling the intricacies of human personality development, we see that he emphasized the role of sexual desires in the problem of neuroses. In his efforts to avoid religious ideas, he described a "primal horde" that led to the origin of the Oedipus complex.19 Freud, however, could offer no solution. Vitz has recently proposed that Christianity does offer a solution in the form of Jesus as the anti-Oedipal man.20 And, as Kasbow21 has noted, we would do better to depend on the biblical account of Adam and Eve in explaining the origin of human sin than resorting to the invention of a primal horde merely to avoid being religious.

Human beings clearly do not have only good God-given nature; the existence of evil influences must also be acknowledged. Peck has successfully argued not only for consideration of the human spirit and God's influence but also for recognition of the influence of Satan on human nature and behavior.22 Thus we must conclude that the inclusion of theological concepts will bring not only God and goodness but also Satan and evil into our equations.

Additionally, there is still the challenge as to which philosophical position to accept as the foundation for psychology. The mere inclusion of theological concepts will not in itself provide an adequate foundation. The question of what they should be added to must still be answered.

An Analysis of Existing Philosophies

Let us now turn to the philosophical bases that are available to psychologists and try to determine their adequacy as the foundation for a satisfactory model of human nature.

Approaches in philosophy have been divided into those emphasizing the subject, or perceiver of the world, and those emphasizing the object of cognition. The Empiricist tradition, espoused by such philosophers as Locke23 and Hume,24 and developed into the field of psychology by Helmholtz,25 stresses the importance of the object and claims that all knowledge comes directly through the senses. This approach supports scientific study in that the source of cognition is observable, i.e., the object itself and the sensory data received by the subject. However, just as the extreme Empiricist viewpoint in philosophy, Locke's concept of the mind as a tabula rasa or blank slate, was found to be inadequate, also in psychology theories of cognition have been found inadequate if they do not include some contribution by the subject to the acquisition of knowledge.

On the other hand, the school of Rationalism, founded by Descartes,26 emphasizes only the subject, saying that knowledge comes though reason. This philosophical approach included a religious component in that reason was seen as the means for discovering universal and eternal truth which comes from God. In psychology this aspect was ignored and the nativist approach was developed, assuming that all knowledge is innate. Theories based on this assumption have been found inadequate in dealing with development and learning.

The conclusion that must be drawn from the failure of these two extreme philosophical positions is that cognition results from an interaction between subject and object. A viewpoint which stresses the contribution of both subject and object is the Marxist-Leninist philosophy of Dialectical Materialism. This approach can be regarded as one of objective realism, in that the external world is considered to have a reality independent of the subject. According to this view, cognition consists of a reflection, or "motor copy"27 of the object. This reflection is obtained and tested through "practice" which permits the subject to obtain truer reflections of the world.28 As with the Empiricist approach, the Dialectical model fails to provide support for the findings of psychology that there is also structure in the mind of the subject.

What is required is a philosophy that maintains structure in the mind of the subject who interacts with a real world. Such a philosophy was proposed by Kant.29 His Transcendental approach views cognition as the result of the application of a priori forms from within the subject to the sensation of matter (from outside). Thus Kant proposed that our cognition is not of the world directly, but rather a construction imposed by the subject onto sensation. Kant's view sees the object as essentially unknowable in itself, as its form comes solely from within the subject, a position which clearly relates to his skepticism that a science of psychology could exist.

The conclusion that must be drawn from this analysis is that no traditional philosophy provides an adequate basis for psychology to explain all the complexities of the human psyche.

A New Philosophical Foundation for Psychology

The preceding analyses of the relationships of psychology to science, philosophy and theology can now be summarized as follows:

From science:

1. Scientific rigor must not be lost. Thus the use of the scientific method of hypothesis testing through empirical research should be maintained. From theology:

2. The importance of spiritual values and the spiritual nature of human beings must be acknowledged.

3. The existence of God the creator, transcendent and immanent, must be maintained.

4. An understanding of the human fall must be included. From philosophy:

5. The question of the origin of cognition has not been successfully answered by either the Empiricist or Rationalist positions. Clearly there must be recognition that both experience and innate ideas play important roles in human development. Thus, the Empiricist and Rationalist positions must be reconciled.

6. The object of cognition must be recognized as real and knowable by the subject, who constructs such knowledge in the mind. In philosophical terms, the opposing views of Realism and Subjective Idealism must be reconciled.

7. The method of cognition must include the existence of cognitive structures in the mind of the subject which are universal or transcendent of the individual's experience; and a process involving the activity of the subject in relation to real objects must also be involved in cognition. Again, in terms of traditional philosophies, there must be reconciliation between Kant's Transcendental method and the Dialectical method (Reflection Theory). This list is by no means exhaustive. However, based on the foregoing discussion, it appears that a philosophy that satisfies these requirements would be a good foundation for psychology. In the next section a philosophical system which does satisfy these requirements, Unification Thought, will be introduced.

Unification Thought

Unification Thought is theistic in origin, based on the Unification Principle30 which was received as revelation by Sun Myung Moon, and developed as Unification Thought by Sang Hun Lee.

A. The Source and Purpose of Unification Thought

Rev. Moon has explained the source of Unification Thought:

God's truth is sent to earth as revelation given through certain providential persons. God's truth is the absolute truth, which is an almighty key capable of solving any problem, no matter how difficult it may be. I have encountered the living God through a lifetime of prayer and meditation, and have been given this absolute truth. Its remarkable contents clarify all the secrets hidden behind the entire universe, behind human life and behind human history.31

Thus Unification Thought is claimed to be revelation from God, for the purpose of solving the problems of humankind. As Lee has said:

Unification Thought begins with God in its logical development. That is to say, this thought system starts with the theory of the attributes of God and the theory of His creation. Thus the first premise in the establishment of Unification Thought is the clarification of the attributes of God. The second premise is the creation of the universe, and the third premise is creation according to the law of resemblance. The reason why these three points are chosen as the premises for its logical development is that Unification Thought is revealed for the salvation of mankind through the settlement of actual problems.32

Clearly, Unification Thought does not have the same source as the scientific theories discussed by Hawking, and therefore does not suffer from their limitation of failing to explain why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Unification Thought begins with the existence of God as creator of the universe. The question of why the universe exists is then answered by understanding the attributes of God.

B. The Nature of Unification Thought

Rev. Moon has described Unification Thought as follows:

This is a new view of life, a new view of the world a new view of the universe, and a new view of the providence of history that has never before existed. It is also a principle of integration that can encompass the whole into one unity, while at the same time preserving the individual characteristics of all religious doctrines and philosophies. I have named this truth Unification Thought or Godism.33

Lee was directed by Rev. Moon to develop a philosophical systematization of Unification Thought. Consequently, Unification Thought has been published in English in four texts: Unification Thought34 Explaining Unification Thought,35 Fundamentals of Unification Thought36 and Essentials of Unification Thought37

The character of Unification Thought has been described as: the thought of Rev. Moon, based on direct revelation; Godism in its theoretical nature; philosophical; theological; a theory of standards; a reform theory; a complementary theory; a theory for cultural revolution; and the true liberation theory.38 This is a formidable list! Clearly, Unification Thought is claimed to be more than just a set of rules and equations.

C. The Contents of Unification Thought

Unification Thought is a comprehensive philosophical system. It begins with the Theory of the Original Image, an understanding of the nature and characteristics of God, the creator of the universe. A major feature of this theory is that God's central aspect is Shim Jung or heart, the source of love, and that God's purpose in creating was to produce joy through love. Secondly, Ontology is covered under two headings: "Ontology," which deals with all created things except human beings, and the "Theory of the Original Human Nature," which deals with human beings. According to Unification Thought, all things were created to be the object of humankind with the purpose of producing joy. Human beings were created in the image of God, as God's children with eternal spiritual life, to bring loving dominion over all creation and to be objects 39 of love to God. These three theories form the root from which the other theories are developed, namely, Axiology, Ethics, Education, Art, History, Epistemology, Logic, and Methodology.

Axiology is the theory of values, based on the Theory of the Original Image, which provides the foundation for the theories of Ethics, Education, and Art, which correspond to truth, goodness, and beauty, respectively. The theory of Ethics states that the most fundamental ethical system is the God-centered family. The theory of Education proposes three types of education, heart, norm, and dominion, which correspond to God's three blessings in Genesis 1:28 (to be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion). The theory of Art details the elements of beauty, the conditions for creative work, and the conditions of appreciation. The theory of History shows God's providence of restoration working in history through laws of creation and restoration. Unification Epistemology deals with issues of cognition (its origin, object, and method). Unification Logic complements the insufficiencies of traditional logics. Finally, Unification Methodology is based on the law of give-and-receive action, which is fundamental to the Theory of the Original Image.

This, then, is a very brief overview of the source, nature, and content of Unification Thought. Its ability to provide the necessary foundation for a successful psychology of human nature will now be addressed.

D. Unification Thought as a New Foundation for Psychology

1. Scientific Rigor

Unification Thought is clearly different from theories developed through the traditional scientific method, and this may liberate it from their constraints and inadequacies. Indeed, its proponents claim that it provides the basis for a global society in which true love is actualized, and all actual problems of the individual and society can be solved.40

However, does that very nature forming the foundation for these claims give it a different status from scientifically accepted theories, i.e., does it become a matter of faith to accept Unification Thought? Psychologists have considered that the inclusion of religious concepts makes scientific rigor impossible:

I personally am persuaded that modern scientific views of the person cannot be merged with religious views because science is intentionally secular, i.e., it deliberately excludes attention to the very dimensions of human nature that a religiously informed view emphasizes. Piaget understood this tension and very articulately narrated the transition in his own thought.41

However, as we have seen in the preceding discussion this separation of the scientific and the religious may no longer hold true, since science may be forced to acknowledge the need to include religious dimensions. Thus, a successful psychology requires a philosophical foundation that includes human spirituality and the existence of God. The question then is, can Unification Thought maintain scientific respectability?

Lee has argued that the theory of God's existence, as described in the Theory of the Original Image, can be seen as the application of the hypothetical method in science:

The hypothetical method refers to a method of proving that the hypothesis is true (making it a true theory) by verifying it through scientific observation or experiment.42

Lee shows that two major hypotheses in the Theory of the Original Image are verified by scientific observation. These are that God is the harmonious Subject of the dual characteristics of Sung Sang and Hyung Sang, and of the dual characteristics of Yang and Yin (correlative attributes). Since all things created according to the "law of resemblance" resemble God, they should reflect these two dual characteristics in God. By examining the characteristics of human beings, plants, animals and minerals, these hypotheses are verified.

Thus, these findings show that the Theory of the Original Image makes accurate predictions about future observations, predictions which could have been proved false. In the same way as Eccles, in the book he co-authored with Popper, argues that the dualist-interactionist hypothesis "belongs to science because it is based on empirical data and is objectively testable," and expresses optimism since the hypothesis "has the recommendation of its great explanatory power" and "is not refuted by any existing knowledge,"43 perhaps we can share Lee's optimism concerning the Theory of the Original Image.

2. Spirituality

The Theory of the Original Human Nature describes the nature of the original human being, before the fall. This nature resembles the image of God: a being resembling the Divine Image (with united Sung Sang and Hyung Sang,44 harmonious Yang and Yin, and with individuality), and resembling the Divine Character (a being with Heart, Logos, creativity, and position).45 Of these characteristics, the most essential is a being with Heart. Traditionally, the human being has been portrayed as "the knower," (homo sapiens), or "the maker or tool user," (homofaber). Unification Thought presents the human being as "the loving being" (homo amans), asserting that the essence of human nature is Heart or love.

As a united being of Sung Sang and Hyung Sang, the human being has a characteristic which makes it unique among created beings, namely, the unity of spirit mind and physical mind. The function of the spirit mind is to pursue a life of trueness, goodness, beauty, and love, i.e., a life of values. The function of the physical mind46 is to pursue the life of food clothing, shelter, and sex, i.e., material life. In the original human being, the spirit mind should be in subject position with the physical mind in the object position. Thus, spiritual values should be primary and the original mind of human beings should be centered on Heart, as in God.47

Clearly, then, Unification Thought maintains that human beings are spiritual in nature:

Man has self-consciousness, and also the mind to seek for eternity. These derive from the spirit mind in the spirit man. Man's mind is the union of the spirit mind and physical mind...That is, man's mind includes the mind of the spirit man...the spirit mind has self-consciousness, and has the function to seek for absoluteness, universality, eternity, etc.48

There is also a spiritual dimension to cognition:

Spiritual influence can be exerted in all three stages of cognition -- i.e., in the perceptual stage, the understanding stage, and the rational stage. Cognition with spiritual accompaniment is finer and faster than ordinary cognition.49

3. The Existence of God

The basic tenets of Unification Thought are theistic, and thus God's creatorship of this world is the foundation. The Unification Principle states that God created the universe to be the substantial object of joy to humankind, created as God's children. Joy is experienced when we come to know the objects of creation fully. Thus Unification Epistemology holds that human beings were created with the ability to cognize all objects, gaining true knowledge of them, as part of God's plan for His creation. Human being's original nature, therefore, can be understood as a reflection of God's characteristics in substantial form.

It is understood throughout Unification Thought that God is both immanent and transcendent. The cognition of God is noted to occur as follows:

Created things cannot know God directly. Thus, even the spirit man cannot know God directly unless God performs some work or gives some revelation....That is, man can know God through His revelation....But when man becomes perfect and comes to embody God's heart, he establishes a love relationship of father and son (parent and child) with God. From that position man can know and experience God's love intuitively, without any kind of special revelation by God.50

The fact that God can be known, in other words that God can be the object of cognition is explained:

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.51

Thus, the position of Unification Thought is that while perfect human beings can freely experience God spiritually through Heart, cognition of God by fallen human beings is limited to occasions when God gives revelation.

4. The Fall of Humankind

As mentioned earlier, Unification Thought is based on the revelation received by Rev. Moon, and this revelation includes an understanding of the human fall. Unification Theology52 maintains a sexual interpretation of the fall, based on the Genesis account in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were commanded by God not to eat the forbidden fruit, but they were tempted by the serpent and first Eve ate and then she gave the fruit to Adam who also ate. When questioned by God they each denied responsibility and the three of them were cast out of the Garden; a flaming sword was placed at the gate to prevent their return.

Unification theology interprets the story as referring to the sexual seduction of Eve by the archangel Lucifer, referred to as the serpent, and the subsequent seduction of Adam by Eve, while they were both still immature. The forbidden fruit represents sexual intercourse, which was forbidden outside the realm of holy matrimony. The fall, therefore, consisted of two illicit sexual acts: Eve and Lucifer should never have had a sexual relationship; Adam and Eve were to become husband and wife, but they had a sexual relationship prematurely.

As a result of the fall, original sin is transmitted to all of Adam and Eve's descendants and can be removed only when the Messiah comes to restore the original lineage as a child of God.53 In addition to inheriting original sin, all human beings suffer loneliness and confusion, cut off from God's love and truth. In this alienated state, human beings have fought each other, causing additional suffering to other human beings and to all things of creation. Finally, and most importantly, the human fall has caused God untold grief; the ideal world of His creation has never been realized, and in its place has developed a barbaric society under the dominion of the rebellious Lucifer, now known as Satan.

God has not abandoned his lost children, but has worked ceaselessly throughout history to bring about His providence of restoration. Unification Theology explains that the fact that restoration is still incomplete is not because of God's lack of effort, but because God created human beings with free will and responsibility. Thus, human beings choose whether to respond to God's prophets and even the Messiah, and thus choose whether to live in heaven or in hell.

Unification Thought, then, through its intimate relationship with Unification Theology, includes a clear articulation of the human fall and its consequences.

5. The Origin of Cognition

According to the Empiricist and Rationalist approaches the origin of cognition is found in either the object (Empiricism) or subject (Rationalism) alone. Unification Epistemology says that the question to be asked is not where does the object of cognition exist, but what is the nature of the relationship between the subject and object of cognition. Is this relationship accidental or necessary? Unification Thought holds the position that all things were created to be the object of humankind. Thus we were created with sense organs to experience objects, and objects were created to be experienced by us. The relationship between subject and object is therefore one of necessity, with the common purpose of producing joy.

In the act of cognition, both experience and reason are therefore involved. The object must be experienced, and the subject must use reason to make a value judgment on the object in order to produce joy. Thus Unification Epistemology unites experience and reason in cognition.

6. The Object of Cognition

Unification Epistemology also seeks to unite two opposing views of the object of cognition, those of Realism and Subjective Idealism. This is done through the assertion of the real existence of the object, the "outer object," but also the presence of the "inner object" in the mind of the subject.54

This inner object in the mind of the subject is the "prototype." The concept of prototypes is based on the Unification Principle position that we are created as a microcosm of the universe, containing the elements of all things, which were created in resemblance to humankind. Thus prototypes have a priori components, i.e., they exist in some form prior to experience. However they are not limited to innate ideas as they also develop through the accumulation of empirical elements gained through experience.55

Closely tied to prototypes is the concept of "protoconsciousness," which means "fundamental consciousness," or the cosmic consciousness that has entered into a cell or tissue. Protoconsciousness can be considered as life; subconsciousness with sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness.56 The relationship between prototypes and protoconsciousness is as follows:

When consciousness enters a cell, becoming its life, it also comes to know the contents and structure of that cell. Protoconsciousness has the capacity to know the structure of the cell because it has perceptiveness,...[which] can be described as a transparent homogeneous screen of consciousness (or a film of consciousness), where the image of the structure of the cell is projected. Thus projected, the image of the cell is called "protoimage," which is the foundation for the development of prototypes.57

Prototypes thus have within them images of content and images of form. Images of content are transformed and synthesized to correspond to the content of objects perceived. Images of form give rise to "thinking forms" or "categories" which influence judgment in cognition.58 Thus Unification Epistemology upholds both the real existence of the object, which has content and form, and the existence of ideas in the mind of the subject, which also have content and form. Unification Epistemology can therefore be described as a union of Realism and Subjective Idealism.

7. The Method of Cognition

Unification Epistemology also offers a solution to the two opposing positions of Kant's Transcendental method and the Dialectical method (reflection theory). Unification Epistemology is based on give-andreceive action through the two-stage structure of creation,59 i.e., outer and inner give-and-receive action.

The outer image, or perceptual image, is formed first through give-and-receive action between the subject and object. In order for this give-and-receive action to occur there are certain prerequisites for both subject and object. The object must have content (attributes) and form (relationship among attributes), and the subject must have prototypes and interest in the object.60

Cognition, however, is not completed just by the formation of the outer image (reflection theory), but a second stage of comparison between this outer image and prototypes occurs (transcendental position). The outer image produced in the first stage becomes the object in this second stage.

The prototypes in the subject, which also have content and form, are then compared with the outer image, through collation type give-and receive action.61 Cognition is thus a judgment of the object, and the prototypes are the standard or criteria for this judgment.

The method of cognition in Unification Epistemology is thus a union of the Dialectical method, forming the outer image, and the Transcendental method of inner give-and-receive resulting in judgment in the subject's mind.

Unification Psychology

In this paper it has been shown that Unification Thought satisfies the seven criteria derived from science, philosophy and theology, and thus may provide a good foundation for psychology to develop an effective model of human nature. The actual development of such a model is beyond the scope of this paper. However, a number of points can be made showing the relationship between Unification Thought and existing psychological models, and the potential of Unification Thought to overcome current problems and insufficiencies.

The existence of different schools of psychology, based on different philosophical approaches, has caused psychology to become a field of diverse and independent endeavors. An effective philosophical foundation must be able to provide the basis for these different schools to come together resulting in a comprehensive understanding of human nature. Here, the possibility of uniting the schools of Psychoanalysis and Experimental Psychology will be discussed.

Experimental Psychology, as developed by those such as Helmholtz and Wundt, relied on the Empiricist and Associationist approaches, researching the sensory mechanisms of perception and the integration of elements through association to provide complex experiences. Psychoanalysis was developed by Freud, on the basis of scientific materialism and the theory of evolution, to understand the development of personality.

Unification Thought contains the empirical component on which Experimental Psychology depends, without being limited by it. As for the Psychoanalytic approach, Unification Thought, through the Theory of the Original Human Nature and Unification Epistemology, presents a model of how the personality develops through experience. Thus, both Experimental Psychology and Psychoanalysis can find their foundation in Unification Thought, and so can be united through it.62

Furthermore, Unification Thought provides a foundation that can solve the problems and limitations of existing psychological models. For example, Freud was unable to give solutions to neurotic problems such as the Oedipus complex, but could merely describe their nature and postulate their origin. Contemporary Christian psychoanalysts, such as Paul Vitz, propose a Christian solution through Jesus. However, even this explanation is not complete. Unification Thought provides a clear explanation of the origin of human suffering and perversion through its understanding of the fall of humankind. The sexual interpretation of the fall is entirely in agreement with Freud's belief:

I can only repeat over and over again -- for I never find it otherwise -- that sexuality is the key to the problem of the psychoneurosis and of the neurosis in general.63

Thus, Unification Thought goes beyond the limitations of Psychoanalysis though its inclusion of theological concepts, providing a model not only of the perverted fallen nature but also of the original human nature.

Equally, the deficiencies of the approach taken by experimental psychologists can be overcome through Unification Thought. In an earlier paper,64 it was shown that Piaget's developmental psychology, while reconciling Empiricism and Rationalism, and avoiding Kant's idealism in which the object becomes unknowable, falls short in another area. Piaget's model of development leads to a final stage of logico-mathematical knowledge or formal operations in which abstract inferential thought occurs. The content of thought at this stage becomes increasingly abstract and unrelated to the aims and desires of most people. Piaget's theory, therefore, contains no acceptable view of development in adulthood,65 a problem to which no satisfactory solution has been proposed.66

Although Piaget is certainly the most influential developmental psychologist to date, recent advances in information processing provide important models of cognition and cognitive development. Such a recent advance is the "prototype" theory, proposed by Rosch on the basis of studies such as those which found that typical instances of a concept can be identified as instances more quickly than less typical instances.67 As McShane has noted:

The prototype theory of concepts has come to replace the classical theory of the mental representation of concepts.68

Clearly, Unification Epistemology's theory of prototypes is compatible with this recently accepted theory of cognitive development.

Unification Thought is thus compatible with theories of cognition, but does not have their limitations. Unification Thought predicts that the quality and nature of cognition depends on the purpose of the subject.

For example, a botanist observing nature will acquire knowledge from a botanist's position; a painter observing the same nature will probably acquire knowledge from the position of pursuing beauty.69

Unification Thought upholds the position of God as creator of this world, and the most essential attribute of God is heart, which is defined as "the emotional impulse to obtain joy through love."70 In the creation of the universe give-and-receive action is centered on purpose based on God's heart.71 The process of cognition occurs through give-and-receive action between the subject and object centered on purpose, and that purpose should be centered on heart.72 Psychology based on Unification Thought would therefore not be limited to the domain of the intellect.


Psychology should have close relationships to science, philosophy and theology. In its development, however, the appropriate relationships have not always been fostered. Psychologists sought recognition as scientists, and so psychology has been developed according to scientific criteria. This has led to the avoidance of theological issues and ultimately to a failure to describe human nature in its entirety. Psychology and philosophy have been closely tied, with the result that opposing philosophical positions have been used to establish opposing schools of psychology.

What is required is a philosophical foundation, with close ties to theology and adherence to scientific principles, that can provide the basis for the development of a science of psychology -- the understanding of the fullness of human nature. This paper proposes that Unification Thought should fulfill that role.


1. Michael Wertheimer, A Brief History of Psychology, rev. ed. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979).

2. Howard Gardner, The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution, (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 98-99.

3. Gardner, 100-101.

4. Gardner, 102.

5. Mary Vander Goot, Narrating Psychology: or How Psychology Gets Made, (Bristol, IN: Wyndham Hall Press, 1987).

6. Jennifer P. Tanabe, "Developmental Psychology: The Need for a New Epistemological Foundation," in The Establishment of a New Culture and Unification Thought, (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 1991), 361-85.

7. Karl R. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, (New York: Basic Books, 1963).

8. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd. ed., (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1970).

9. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, (New York: Bantam Books, 1990), 9.

10. Hawking, 174.

11. Hawking, 175.

12. Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield, The Arrow of Time: A Voyage Through Science to Solve Time's Greatest Mystery, (NY: Ballantine Books, 1990), 125.

13. The weak anthropic principle, proposed by Brandon Carter in 1973, states that the existence of life may determine some of the properties of the universe we observe; the strong version states that the universe must be such as to allow the existence of life; and the final version adds that once life has come into existence in the universe, it will never die out.

14. Coveney and Highfield, 102-3.

15. Coveney and Highfield, 324.

16. Paul C. Vitz, "Secular Personality Theories: A Critical Analysis," in Man and Mind: A Christian Theory of Personality, ed. Thomas J. Burke, (Hillsdale, MI: The Hillsdale College Press, 1987) p.65.

17. James Hillman, Re- Visioning Psychology, (New York: Harper and Row, 1975).

18. Morgan Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 11.

19. Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo, Orig. publ. 1913, trans. J. Strachedy, (New York: Norton, 1950).

20. Paul C. Vitz and Gartner, J. "Christianity and Psychoanalysis Part 1: Jesus as the Anti-Oedipus," J. of Psychology and Theology, 1984, 12,4-14.

21. David Kasbow, "Primary Narcissism and the Oedipus Complex: The Motivation and Process of the Fall," 1990, manuscript submitted for publication.

22. M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983).

23. John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Orig. publ. 1690, ed. A.C. Fraser (Oxford: Oxford University Press (Clarendon), 1894).

24. David Hume, Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Oxford University Press (Clarendon), 1894).

25. H. von Helmholtz, Treatise on Physiological Optics, Orig. publ. 1866, trans. and ed. J.P. Southall (NY: Dover, 1962).

26. Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method'(1637) in trans. E.S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross, The Philosophical Works of Descartes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967).

27. A.N. Leontiev, "The nature and formation of human psychic properties," in ed. B. Simon, Psychology in the Soviet Union, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957).

28. B.G. Ananiev, "The basis of spatial discrimination," in ed. B. Simon, Psychology in the Soviet Union.

29. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. Kemp Smith (London: Macmillan, 1929).

30. Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Divine Principle, (NY: HSA-UWC, 1973); Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Outline of the Principle: Level 4 (NY: HSA-UWC, 1980).

31. Sun Myung Moon, Address at the "International Rally for Freedom," Dec. 16, 1985, in Sang Hun Lee, The New Cultural Revolution and Unification Thought, (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 1987), 28.

32. Sang Hun Lee, The New Cultural Revolution and Unification Thought, (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 1987), 17.

33. Moon, 28.

34. Unification Thought Institute, Unification Thought (New York: Unification Thought Institute, 1973).

35. Unification Thought Institute, Explaining Unification Thought (New York: Unification Thought Institute, 1981).

36. Sang Hun Lee, Fundamentals of Unification Thought, (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute), 1991.

37. Unification Thought Institute, Essentials of Unification Thought (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 1992).

38. Lee, The New Cultural Revolution, 29-30.

39. Different from traditional philosophy, the concepts of subject and object in Unification Thought apply not only to relationships between a person and a thing, but also between person and person, thing and thing, etc.

40. Essentials of Unification Thought, 1.

41. Mary Vander Goot, personal communication, 1990.

42. Sang Hun Lee, "The Proof of God's Existence," unpublished manuscript, 1990, 3.

43. Karl R. Popper and John C. Eccles, The Self and Its Brain, (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1977), 374-5.

44. The Korean terms Sung Sang and Hyung Sang can be roughly translated as "internal character" and "external form" respectively.

45. Essentials of Unification Thought, 111-2.

46. Note, the "physical mind" is not a physical entity, rather it refers to those aspects of mind which deal with physical needs and desires.

47. Essentials of Unification Thought, 93-5.

48. Sang Hun Lee, Answers to Questions in the First International Seminar on Unification Thought and VOC Theory for Special Lecturers, Barrytown, NY, 1989.

49. Explaining Unification Thought, 168.

50. Lee, The New Cultural Revolution, 72-3.

51. Unification Thought, 205.

52. Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology, 2nd ed., (New York: HSA-UWC, 1987).

53. Kim, 104.

54. Sang Hun Lee, "Unification Epistemology," Lecture presented at the First International Seminar on Unification Thought and VOC Theory for Special Lecturers, Barrytown, NY, July 23 -- August 12, 1989.

55. Essentials of Unification Thought, 322.

56. Essentials of Unification Thought, 323.

57. Essentials of Unification Thought, 148.

58. Essentials of Unification Thought, 325-6.

59. Essentials of Unification Thought, 332.

60. Essentials of Unification Thought, 328.

61. Essentials of Unification Thought, 335.

62. Iwao Yasojima, "The Validity of Psychology in Unificationism," unpublished paper, (Barrytown, NY: Unification Theological Seminary, 1991).

63. Sigmund Freud, quoted in Laurent Guyenot, "Modern Psychology and the Principle View of Life," Unification News, December 1990, 21.

64. Tanabe, 367-9.

65. Jean Piaget, "Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood," Human Development, 15 (1972), 1-12.

66. K.W. Schaie, "Toward a stage theory of cognitive development," Journal of Human Aging and Human Development,8 (1977), 129-138.

67. E. Rosch, "On the Internal Structure of Perceptual and Semantic Categories," in T.E. Moore, ed., Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Language, (New York: Academic Press, 1973).

68. John McShane, Cognitive Development: An Information Processing Approach, (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1991), p. 130.

69. Essentials of Unification Thought, 330.

70. Essentials of Unification Thought, 17.

71. Essentials of Unification Thought, 30.

72. Essentials of Unification Thought, 329. 

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