Essentials Of Unification Thought - The Head-Wing Thought

IV. Traditional Ontology and Unification Thought

In a thought system, the perspective on the origin of the universe constitutes the basis of that thought system. This is what is meant by "ontology." Moreover, the way one deals with the problems of the real world is generally determined by one's ontology. Let us explain this point by giving several examples.

A. The View of God in Augustine and Thomas Aquinas

Affirming that God is a spirit, Augustine claimed that God produced matter from nothing and created the world. Thomas Aquinas inherited Aristotle's principle of matter and form and regarded God as "pure form," which has no matter. Like Augustine, Aquinas maintained that God created the world from nothing.

How does this understanding of God relate to actual problems? Since these views regard the spirit as primary and matter as secondary, there developed the tendency to neglect the physical world and to attach importance only to the spiritual world. This resulted in the view that the only thing that is important is salvation in the world after death. Nevertheless, matter is necessary in actual life; hence, Christian life has remained in the contradictory state of pursuing material goods in actual life while holding material things in little regard in the realm of their faith. As a result, Christian theology has failed to provide solutions to actual problems.

B. Li-Chi Theory

During the Sung dynasty, the Neo-Confucianist Chou Tun-i (Chou Lien-Hsi, 1017-1073) asserted that the origin of the universe is the Great Ultimate (or Tai-cht). Chang Tsai (Chang I-Mng-ch'rl, 1020-1077) called it the Ultimate Vacuity (or Tai-hsu). Both spoke of Ch'i as the unity of yin and yang. Since Chi can generally be equated with matter, those theories were close to materialism.

In contrast, the Li-Chi Theory advocated by Ch'eng I (Ch'eng Ich'tran, 1033-1107) stated that all things are composed of Li and Ch'i. This theory was perfected by Chu Hsi (1130-1200). Li was seen as an intangible substance existing behind phenomena, and Ch'i was matter. Chu Hsi asserted that Li was more essential than Ch'i, and that Li was not only the law of heaven and earth but also the law within humanity. Accordingly, lie saw the law followed by heaven and earth and the ethical laws of human society are manifestations of the one and same.

Daily life based on this thought system was intended to maintain harmony and to live in accordance with the law of heaven and earth. Eventually, people came to focus on maintaining order and observing social ethics. Moreover, since everything was attributed to law, people became prone to take a bystander's attitude with regard to change and crisis in nature and society. Such people became unlikely to opt for a created and subjective way of life leading to dominion over nature and development of society. As a result, those who live by Li-Chi theory were not able to deal effectively with actual problems.

C. Regel's Absolute Spirit

According to G. F. Hegel (1770-1831), the origin of the universe is God, who is the Absolute Spirit. In Hegel's view, Logos, or Notion, which is God's thought, develops through contradiction. When Notion reaches the level of Idea, it alienates itself (or negates itself) to become Nature. Through the human being, Idea recovers itself, and finally the Absolute Spirit is actualized. Hegel regarded human history as the process whereby Logos actualizes itself, and he maintained that human society, through the actualization of a rational state, would ultimately take on a rational form in which freedom would be realized to the highest degree.

Therefore, in Hegel's philosophy, the self-actualization of Logos would naturally bring a rational form to the world. Hegel maintained that the rational state would be actualized in Prussia. That led him to believe that the existing state (Prussia) could not but become the rational state. Furthermore, Hegel's view that nature is a form of otherness of Idea, could be regarded as a type of pantheism, 22 which had the potential to be transformed into atheistic humanism or materialism. In addition, Hegel's perspective would also provide a foundation for the rise of the theories of struggle, such as Marxism, since it regards contradiction as the impetus for development. In other words, Hegel's philosophy failed to solve the actual problems of Prussian society; instead, it provided the basis for the appearance of atheistic philosophies, such as Marxism.

D. Schopenhauer's Blind Will

A. Schopenhauer (1788-1860), in opposition to Hegel's rationalism, asserted that the essence of the world is irrational. In his view, the essence of the world is the will working blindly, without any purpose, which lie called "blind will to life" (blinder Wille von Leben). The human being is moved by this blind will to life, and is forced to live merely for the sake of living. Human beings live without any kind of satisfaction, always seeking after something. Satisfaction and happiness are merely temporary experiences; what exists in reality is only dissatisfaction and pain. He regarded this world essentially as a "world of pain." What arises from the thought of Schopenhauer is pessimism. He preached salvation from the world of pain through artistic contemplation and religious aestheticism; nevertheless, what lie offered was no more than a theory of escape from reality hardly a solution to actual problems.

E. Niesche's Will to Power

In contrast to Schopenhauer, who assumed a pessimistic attitude toward life and said that the essence of the world is the blind will to life, Friedrich W. Nietzsche (1848-1900) stated that the essence of the world is the "will to power" (Wille zum Macht), assuming an attitude of thoroughly affirming life. According to Nietzsche, the will to seek to be strong, to control, is the essence of the activity of life. He established the concept of the "Superman" (Obermensch) as an ideal image embodying the will to power, and asserted that the human being must endure any fate and must be ready to stiffer any pain in life while aiming to achieve the status of a superman. In addition, Nietzsche radically denied Christianity and proclaimed that God was dead. He asserted that Christian morality sympathizes with the weak and opposes the essence of life and is, in effect, slave morality.

Consequently, Nietzsche's views represent a denial of all the traditional views of value. Furthermore, his concept of the will to power led to the adoption of force as a way to solve actual problems. Hitler and Mussolini would later take advantage of Nietzsche's thought as a means to maintain power. In a nutshell, Nietzsche, also, failed to solve actual problems.

F. Marx's Materialism

Karl Marx (1818-1883) asserted that the essence of the world is material and that the world develops through the struggle of opposites, or contradictory elements. Social transformation, according to Marx, cannot be accomplished by means of religion or politics, but only through class struggle violently changing the material relations of production (i.e., the economic system).

The human being was field to be a class being, belonging either to the ruling class or to the ruled class. A person was recognized to have value only when lie or she participates in revolutionary activity by joining the struggle on the side of the ruled class (i.e., the proletariat). Marx's ideas contained no value perspective that would respect an individual's personality as something absolute. This is why Marxists have been able, without any guilt of conscience, to carry out massive massacres of those people who were of no utility value to the revolution or who opposed the revolution.

G. The Ontology of Unification Thought

As we have seen from the previous discussion, the way one understands the origin of the universe and the attributes of God determines the way one understands the essence of the human being and the nature of society and this determines the methods to be used in solving the actual problems of human life and society. Logically, then, obtaining a correct view of God, or a correct ontology, can lead to a correct and fundamental solution of the actual problems of human life and society.

According to the ontology of Unification Thought, namely, the Theory of the Original Image, the core of the attributes of God is Heart. Within the Original Sungsang, centering on Heart, the Inner Sungsang (i.e., intellect, emotion, and will) and the Inner Hyungsang (i.e., ideas, concepts, etc.) engage in give-and-receive action; likewise the Original Sungsang and the Original Hyungsang (pre-matter), also engage in give-and-receive action. That is how God exists. When Purpose is established by Heart, give-and-receive action becomes developmental, and creation takes place.

Traditional ontologies are centered on reason, or on will, or on an idea, or on matter itself. Moreover, some traditional ontologies are monistic (asserting either that the spirit alone is substantial or that matter alone is substantial), whereas others are dualistic (asserting that spirit and matter are substances that are mutually independent from each other), and so forth. From the perspective of Unification Thought, it can be said that traditional ontologies have not succeeded in correctly understanding the reality of God's attributes and the relationships among those attributes.

In contrast, the Theory of the Original Image of Unification Thought explains that the purpose for which God created the world is to build the Kingdom of Heaven a world of love, trueness, goodness, and beauty and also that the faculties of intellect, emotion, and will, as well as ideas and matter, must all contribute to the attainment of that purpose.

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