The Words of the Bell Family

Man's relationship to man

Katharine Bell
February 1971
Director of Toronto center

I would like to talk about man's relationship. Just what does that word relationship mean? Relationship! When I look around me everything is in relationship. There is a degree of relationship between you and me right now while you are listening to what I have to say. There is relationship between you and that cup of coffee you drink in the morning; in the clothes that you choose and your personality, between the people that you and choose to ignore or to make our friends. Actually everything in existence is a matter of relationship.

If I look at the idea of relationship and break it down to its barest essentials two things remain. The first we could call a subject which has an aggressive, outgoing nature and reaches outside itself to come into contact with another thing or person. The other could be called its object and has the capacity to respond to the subject and to stimulate the relationship so that together they form a whole. Subject -- Object! This subject-object relationship by its very nature is not one-sided but two-sided and reciprocal. For example, in your relationship with that cup of coffee, you would take the subject role (aggressive) and the cup of coffee would be your object (stimulating response to your need for something hot). Together there would be satisfaction.

This idea of relationship -- or the action of give and take between a subject and an object -- is one of the essential principles of life. Everything in the world, be it man, animal, plant, or mineral exists in this subject-object relationship. For example, we see this relationship between male and female animals, between staminate plants, protons and electrons, the sun and planets, east and west, light and dark, inside and outside. Nothing exists wholly as subject or object within itself, but only in relationship to the things around it.

In fact, the creation of the heaven and the earth and the wonders of nature could only be brought about the action of give and take- by relationship. God is the source of energy and when energy goes forth in a straight line and is not returned no creation is possible and that energy is wasted. The whole creation continues its existence and maintains its motion through the interaction of give and take. The sun (subject) sends forth energy, and the earth and other planets (object) reflect it. Our existence here at this moment is depending upon the relationship between the sun and our planet.

However, the most intensive degree of relationship is to be found between people -- between oneself and another. Deep within the heart of every man is a great loneliness, a longing for love, a longing to be able to fully relate to someone. This feeling of loneliness or separation can only be diminished in relationship with another person. One aspect of this relationship is with our Creative Source-that source of energy, life and love which we call God. The outer aspect of this relationship is between two people interacting and reflecting the energy and flow of God.

In human society, the action of give and take is obvious. We see it every day in the relationship between teacher and pupil, employer and employee, performer and audience, government and people, parent and child, friend and friend, husband and wife. Their relationship is based on the energy of love and this force-the strongest in the universe-unites them into a whole. All relationships of human love-between parents and children, husband and wife, brother and sister, friend and friend„ nation and nation-are formed by the action of give and take at various degrees of intensity.

It is important to realize that the force of love governs the relationship of any two people and consequently the distance between them. As Young Oon Kim in her book: Divine Principle said, "One can love or be loved passively, indicating a lack of full accord and understanding; mutually, with a closer more meaningful relationship; or unconditionally, where understanding, sympathy and trust are most complete." There is also a negative force of give and take hate, which acts in the capacity of separating a subject and object. Just as the greater the intensity of love the closer the relationship, the greater the intensity of hate the further away subject and object are from one another. In each case, however, give and take cannot be established unless both subject and object establish a reciprocal relationship-both love and hate must be returned to exist.

If we look around us at the relationship which exist within our society today-the increase of divorce among couples, race riots, the increasing gap between management and union employees, faculty and students, it is obvious that the negative aspect of give and take has a strong hold. On a broader scale we see this in operation between nations-Israel and Egypt. America and Russia; and within nations-north and South Korea, Pakistan and India.

If we search even deeper and look into our own lives-yours and mine-we see that this gap exists in our relationship with our family, our friends, even within ourselves. Perhaps it is here (within ourselves) that the root of all our trouble lies.

Everything in existence, as I have been saying, is a matter of relationship. Everything in the universe is a result of relationship and all relationship is interdependent. How can we talk of world peace, of peace within our country, when we can't even establish peace within ourselves -- peace in our relationship with one another. You and I, your father, your brother and my brother.

Because the family is the basis of all civilization; because the family is the basic unit of society; because it is here that we come to experience the fullness of relationship and the depth of love, it is imperative that we learn to experience love and to give love in this environment. It is only beginning with the family unit that we can come to build a new society based on a new and fuller relationship of love as experienced in the family.

Margaret mead in talking of communication expresses this most beautifully: "… when we search for ways of describing human relationships -- dependency, autonomy, trust, cooperation, or ecstasy -- we turn almost inevitably to the family. For within the family we can trace the fine intricacy of living -- in the cherishing character of parenthood, the contrasts between father and mother, the differences between children of like and of opposite sex, the chance that makes one brother stronger or one sister more beautiful than another, the ebb and flow of feeling, and the alteration of relationships as the child grows from infancy to adulthood and passes from his family of birth to found a family of his own.

As in our bodies we share our humanity, so also through the family we have a common heritage provides us with a common language that survives and transcends all the differences in linguistic form, social organization, religious belief, and political ideology that divide men. And as men must irrevocably perish survive together, the task of each family is also the task of all humanity." 

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