An Introduction to the Thought of Sun Myung Moon: Unification Thought and V.O.C. Theory

Chapter 11 - Methodology

Methodology is the discipline that attempts to shed light on how one can reach objective truth. From the times of ancient Greece until today, numerous philosophers have developed their own brand of methodology in their quest for the ultimate principles of reality. In this chapter, the methodology of Unification Thought is presented, after which traditional methodologies are examined from the standpoint of Unification Methodology.

I. Unification Methodology

Unification Thought's methodology (Unification Methodology) is based on what we have referred to as the law of give-and-take action, or law of give-and-take. Furthermore, Unification Methodology also intends to unify the various methodologies that have appeared in the past.

A. Basic Types of the Law of Give-and-Take

1. Identity-Maintaining Give-and-Take Action and Developmental Give-and-Take Action

Give-and-take action between God's attributes of sungsang and hyungsang first takes place centering on Heart, a process by which the harmonized and united body of the Original Being is formed. This corresponds to the eternal, unchanging, identity-maintaining aspect of God's nature. But sungsang and hyungsang also establish give-and-take centering on the purpose of creation, which produces a multiplied or new body and corresponds to the developmental aspect. The first process we have called identity-maintaining give-and-take action. The second we have called developmental give-and-take action. In the created world as well, all existing entities have both an unchanging and a changing aspect that are linked to identity-maintaining and developmental give-and-take action respectively.

2. Inner Give-and-Take Action and Outer Give-and-Take Action

Within God's sungsang, there is first inner give-and-take action between the inner sungsang and the inner hyungsang, which leads to a united body. Next, a new united body is formed through outer give-and-take action between the Original Sungsang and the Original Hyungsang. The entity thus formed is an outer four-position foundation. From the point of view of give-and-take action, the Original Image can be described in terms of inner and outer give-and-take action. This can also be applied to the created world.

In the relationship between human beings and all things (nature), human beings think and make plans through inner give-and-take action.

At the same time, through outer give-and-take action, they cognize things and have dominion over them, also forming interpersonal relationships. For instance, within the human mind, the relationship between the spirit mind and the physical mind is an inner give-and-take action. On the other hand, the relationship between two people, e.g., husband and wife in a family, is an outer give-and-take action. Fig. 23 helps visualize the various types of such relationships.

In terms of logic, the inner and outer give-and-take actions correspond to the deductive and inductive methods respectively. The deductive method takes place within the human mind and is the method of logical development through inner give-and-take action. The inductive method consists of examining things in the external world through outer give-and-take action. Hence, in Unification Methodology, the two methods, based on inner and outer give-and-take action, proceed in unity. The deductive method and the inductive method are not two separate things. They should be applied side by side, in a unified way, in the pursuit of truth.

Fig. 23: Examples of Inner and Outer Give-and-Take Action

B. The Scope of the Give-and-Take Method

The give-and-take method is the fundamental method for existence and development within God, in human beings, and in nature. In human beings and in nature, each individual embodiment of truth maintains its existence and develops through inner give-and-take action between the correlative elements of subject and object within itself and, at the same time, through outer give-and-take action with other individual entities. Thinking and conversation are also carried out through the give-and-take method. Human thinking proceeds through give-and-take action between the subject element (the inner sungsang, i.e., the faculties of intellect, emotion, and will) and the object elements (the inner hyungsang, i.e., concepts, ideas, principles, and numbers). The judgments and propositions that constitute thought are also based on the give-and-take method. For example, the judgment 'this flower is a rose' amounts to comparing 'this flower' and 'a rose', which is a contrast-type give-and-take action. Human conversation, too, follows the give-and-take method. If one of the partners in a conversation says whatever nonsense comes to his or her mind, the other side won't be able to understand what that person means. A real conversation takes place through contrast-type give-and-take action, because the laws that apply to one person's thinking correspond to those that apply to the other person's thinking.

C. Types of the Give-and-Take Method

There are the following five types of give and take method, which have already been explained in the chapter on Ontology: 1. bi-conscious type; 2. uni-conscious type; 3. unconscious type; 4. heteronomous type; 5. contrast-type (collation-type).

D. Characteristics of the Give-and-Take Method

The give-and-take method has the following seven characteristics, which were also explained in Ontology: 1. correlativity; 2. purposefulness and centrality; 3. order and position; 4. harmony; 5. individuality and connectedness; 6. identity-maintaining nature and developmental nature; 7. circular motion.

II. An Appraisal of Conventional Methodologies from the Perspective of Unification Methodology

A. Heraclitus' Dialectic (the "Law of Movement")

For Heraclitus, fire is the fundamental essence or substance (arche) of the universe. For him, everything is in a state of flux. This means that he emphasizes the aspect of change and becoming in reality. In other words, he only grasps the developmental aspect of things, while ignoring their identity-maintaining aspect. Also, Heraclitus says that war is the father of all things, thus considering the struggle of opposites to be the cause of their development while, for Unification Thought, all things develop through harmonious give-and-take action between their correlative elements.

B. Zeno's Dialectic (the "Law of Immobility")

Parmenides, of the Eleatic school, considered being (einai) to be unchanging and permanent and saw all change as being mere illusion.

Zeno, who had inherited this way of thinking, denied that there was any movement in things and set out to demonstrate that being was only conceivable in a state of rest. According to Zeno's theory, a flying arrow is actually at rest.

When Zeno insists that the flying arrow is in fact at rest at any given point, he is referring to a mathematical point that has no space. But, the actual movement of the arrow does take place in time and space. Hence, the movement of an object at any given point in space must be considered within the framework of time and space, no matter how short the distance covered or how short the time. When seen in this light, the flying arrow is not at rest; it is flying through a particular point in space. Since Zeno wanted to prove that the nature of things is permanent and unchanging, he used sophistry in order to show that there is no such thing as motion. Contrary to Heraclitus, he disregarded the developmental aspect of things and only grasped their identity-maintaining aspect.

C. The Socratic Dialectic (Dialogue)

Socrates said that in order to understand truth, one first had to be aware of one's ignorance. His advice was "know thyself." He also taught that people could reach the truth by dialoguing with each other with a humble attitude. In Unification Thought terminology, this means that there is multiplication of truth through outer developmental give-and-take action between person A and person B. Thus, through his method of dialogue, Socrates advocated the proper way of give-and-take between one person and another.

D. Plato's Dialectic (the "Method of Differentiation")

Plato constructed his system of thought based on the theory of ideas. Plato's world of Ideas is a conceptual world that corresponds to the world of notions and ideas of the inner hyungsang in Unification Thought's Theory of the Original Image. Plato thus internalized Socrates' dialectical method of dialogue, and adopted a method of analysis and synthesis aimed at finding truth within thinking itself.

The analytical method intends to clarify the structure of the world of ideas in terms of a hierarchy of values and thus to reach the ultimate, absolute truth through the inductive method (while, on the other hand, the synthetic method corresponds to the deductive method).

The analysis and synthesis of concepts is thus carried out through comparison between these concepts. From the viewpoint of Unification Methodology, Plato's dialectic corresponds to a contrast-type inner give-and-take action performed within the human mind. In the end, Plato's theory of Ideas is a clarification of this aspect of our thinking process.

E. Aristotle's Deductive Method

For Aristotle, accurate knowledge can be attained through the deductive method, which consists of reaching a conclusion (a particular proposition) by starting from a premise (a universal proposition). Aristotle's deductive method is commonly referred to as the method of syllogism, in which two propositions are first introduced. From these premises, a specific conclusion is reached. For example, by comparing the major premise "all men are mortal" with the minor premise "Socrates is a man," we can derive the conclusion that "Socrates is mortal." This is a case of contrast-type give-and-take action between two propositions. Besides, the very proposition that "Socrates is a man" is arrived at by a comparison between the terms "Socrates" and "man" and thus also represents a case of contrast-type give-and-take action. Accordingly, Aristotle's deductive method, as in the case of Plato, can be called a method for the search of truth through contrast-type inner give-and-take action.

F. Bacon's Inductive Method

Bacon claimed that in order to obtain truth, one must first cast away prejudices (idols) and rely on experiments and observation. Contrary to the deductive method, the inductive method starts out with individual observations as premises and from there reaches universal laws as a conclusion. For instance, in the inductive method, if the results of experiments A, B, C, … are all P, the conclusion P is established as a general law. The inductive method seeks to obtain truth on the basis of outer give-and-take action between human beings and things (nature). Since the method yields a conclusion by comparing various facts obtained through experimentation and observation, it is a contrast-type give-and-take action. Therefore, Bacon's inductive method is a method of pursuing truth through contrast-type outer give-and-take action.

G. Descartes' Methodical Doubt

In the process of doubting everything, Descartes reached the proposition "I think, therefore I am," which he considered to be reasonable knowledge no longer susceptible to doubt. Thus, by doubting all things and phenomena, Descartes systematically denied their reality and eventually reached the realm of accuracy of rational thinking, which means that he reached the internal world of pure thought. From this perspective, "I think, therefore I am" corresponds to God's thinking before creation or his plan for creation. From the point of view of Unification Thought, Descartes' famous proposition means that he acknowledged the certainty of the inner give-and-take action within the human mind.

H. Hume's Experimental Method (Skepticism)

Hume considered the principle of causality to be merely a subjective belief. However, contrary to Hume's understanding, causality is objective just as much as it is subjective. Furthermore, Hume not only denied material reality; he also denied the reality of spiritual substance (the self) and upheld skepticism, considering existing entities to be nothing more than a bundle of ideas. From the point of view of Unification Thought, Hume only considered the inner hyungsang, i.e., ideas, as certitudes.

I. Kant's Transcendental Method

Kant considered that cognition is formed when the subject's a priori forms synthesize the chaotic sensory content coming from the object. Unification Thought agrees that cognition is produced through the correlative relationship between the human subject and the object.

However, in the Unification view, the subject not only possesses form (thought form), but also content (protoimage), and what comes from the object (things) is not simply a chaotic sensory content but something that has a form of existence. To Kant's theory of synthesis, Unification Thought responds with its theory of collation.

J. Hegel

Hegel grasped the development of the Idea and the development of the world (universe) as the sublation (Aufhebung) of contradictions and their unification through the process of thesis – antithesis – synthesis. For Unification Thought, development can never occur through contradiction. Development takes place when correlative elements standing in the positions of subject and object interact through give-and-take action centered on purpose, the origin corresponding to purpose, the division to the correlative elements, and the union to the united and the multiplied bodies. Unlike Hegel, Unification Thought does not hold that the Idea develops by itself through its own internal contradiction. Rather, the inner sungsang, consisting of the faculties of intellect, emotion, and will, acts upon the inner hyungsang (ideas, notions, and concepts), thus producing new ideas. As explained in the chapter on Logic, the thought process thus constituted takes on the form of spiral development. In conclusion, Hegel wrongly understood the notion of development through give-and-take between correlative elements (as in Unification Thought) to be an interaction between opposing elements.

K. Marx

Marx considered that the material element represents the fundamental mode of existence of reality and that spiritual processes are a mere reflection of it. Hence, he proposed his theory of reflection. For Unification Thought, sungsang (spirit) and hyungsang (matter) stand in a correlative relationship of subject and object. Hence, spiritual laws (laws pertaining to value) and material laws similarly correspond to each other. To the law of transformation of quantity into quality (Marx), Unification Thought responds with the law of balanced development of quantity and quality. According to Unification Thought's counterproposal, quality and quantity stand in a relationship of sungsang and hyungsang. They change simultaneously, gradually, and stage by stage.

To the law of unity and struggle of opposites, Unification Thought responds with the law of give-and-take action between correlatives.

Conflict between opposites only brings about ruin and destruction and does not lead to development. Things can only develop when they perform harmonious give-and-take action as correlative partners, centering on a common purpose. Next, Unification Thought's counterproposal to the law of the negation of negation is the law of affirmative development. Both in nature and in society, affirmative development takes place when there is a smooth give-and-take action between the correlatives of subject and object. In the realm of nature, inanimate objects perform circular motion in space, while living beings perform circular motion in time (spiral motion). Today, the errors of Marx's Materialist Dialectic have become obvious to all.

A precise observation of natural phenomena, far from confirming the laws of the dialectic, shows them to be false and affirms the law of give-and-take.

L. Husserl

Husserl believed that phenomenology represented the first true philosophy and the foundation of all other disciplines. Thus, phenomenology takes consciousness itself, i.e., the root of all scientific theories and the source of cognition, as its object of investigation. Husserl's investigations started out with objects of the natural world. From the perspective of Unification Thought, these objects are the united bodies of sungsang and hyungsang. Next, Husserl advocated the intuition of essences through eidetic reduction.

Essence, here, corresponds to the sungsang of existing entities. Additionally, Husserl claimed that when judgment is suspended (epoche), and consciousness (pure consciousness) is analyzed, we find a structure of noesis and noema, which correspond, respectively, to the inner sungsang and the inner hyungsang of our mind (sungsang) in Unification Thought. If we consider Husserl's phenomenological method from the point of view of Unification Thought, we can see that it stresses the importance of the content of the inner four-position foundation and attempts to unify all disciplines by analyzing it.

M. Analytical Philosophy

The position of analytical philosophy has been that it is philosophy's most important task to logically analyze the structure of language.

For Unification Thought, language exists originally for the actualization of love. Thus, the logical structure of language only exists as one of the necessary prerequisites for that purpose.

Language is formed through inner developmental give-and-take action, which includes an intellectual aspect centered on reason (the aspect of Logos) and an emotional aspect centered on feeling (Pathos) as well. Analytical philosophy only sees the rational aspect and only investigates the logical nature of things. Finally, analytical philosophy is so much engaged in the logical analysis of language that it has come to disregard the creative and emotional (value-related) aspects of our thought as expressed by language. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library