What would a world of perfect people be like? Would you want to live in it? And is it even possible? There are several possible reactions to these questions. Let’s consider some of them from the viewpoint of Unification Thought (UT), which answers them in a positive and encouraging way.
The first possible response to the question of what a world of perfect people would be like is: “How boring to have everyone be the same!” Another, “Impossible, only Jesus can be perfect, the rest of us are only human.” A variation from those who do not believe in God might be, “Impossible, only machines are perfect, human beings always make mistakes.” Yet another reaction, “I can’t imagine it really, but I believe that some time in the future that ideal will come.” Not really a resounding affirmation of the possibility of a world of perfect people and how much we would all want to live in it!
How does UT address the idea of human perfection? To start with, UT does assert that human beings can achieve perfection. So that negates the “only machines are perfect” type of response. Let’s look at the various aspects of human perfection from the UT perspective, where it is discussed under the “Theory of the Original Human Nature.” The essential point is that perfection means fulfilling one’s potential in every aspect.
The second reaction I mentioned, the “impossible, we are only human” one, is easily dealt with by explaining the UT perspective on human nature. A perfect human being is who has grown to maturity. Thus, an adult has become a being with all the attributes of original human nature, namely, a being with Divine Image, Divine Character, and Position (see Figure 1). Divine image and divine character: sounds like we will be like God! But, before you go back to the “impossible” reaction, didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 5:48 that we are to be perfect, like God? So if we take Jesus’ words as well as the pledge offered by all blessed families seriously, being truly human means to become divine, God’s true sons and daughters, and thus to be perfect.
Let’s look at the details of this original human nature. First, a being with Position: the point here is that there are always different positions in any relationship, and the ability to recognize one’s position and to relate to the other person from that position appropriately is essential to harmonious and successful human relationships.
Next, Divine Image. This has three aspects: united Sung Sang and Hyung Sang, harmonious Yang and Yin, and individuality. Briefly, united Sung Sang and Hyung Sang refers to a person whose internal character or values (Sung Sang) take priority over physical desires and material life (Hyung Sang).
In other words, such a person will seek joy through a life based on pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness, a life lived for the sake of others and God, rather than a life spent pursuing physical, material goods for one’s own individual pleasure. Harmonious Yang and Yin refers to the harmony of masculine and feminine elements in human nature, and ultimately, to the harmonious union of husband and wife.
A being of individuality: human individuality is much more advanced than the individuality of minerals, bacteria, plants, and even animals. There are three aspects to human individuality: individuality in appearance, in behavior, and in creativity.
Human beings have unique appearance, and if we take the time to study the faces and bodies of people as artists do, we can never be bored. But are these differences due to imperfections? Some differences are, but these are not what make us unique. If each of us developed physically without blemish, without distortion of our physical body, we would still all be unique. It is not the man-made scars that identify us as individuals; we each have unique physical attributes that come from unique combinations of the genes of our ancestors. Will we run out of new faces? Well, have you looked at diamonds, or snowflakes, or roses? If perfect examples of these can show uniqueness, uniqueness must also be available to human beings.
Unique behavior: even if two people appear similar in terms of physical appearance, often their behavior is remarkably different. This internal dimension of uniqueness allows much more variation.
Perhaps the most important dimension of uniqueness in perfection: creativity. Imagine if every adult were perfect in the sense that they had all developed their creative potential and were able to express it in some way, whether that be through the visual arts, dance, music, poetry, drama, conversation, architecture, public speaking, design of cars or machines, home decorating, crafts, cooking, and so on. Every one of us has the ability to be creative in a multitude of different ways, in small things in daily life as well as in ways that affect our society, nation, and even world. And each of us is unique in that creative ability.
Divine Image may be a challenge, yes, but impossible to achieve? I don’t think so. There are many examples of people who achieve one of the three aspects, if not all three. So, in the context of those reactions to my original question, would it be boring if every adult were perfect? Absolutely not! It is our lack of creativity that makes us boring. It is the imperfections that make us seem the same. So, have no fear, a world full of perfect adults would never be boring.
Finally, to have Divine Character means to be a being of Heart, Logos, and creativity, and it seems that we fall quite short in each of these. Creativity has already been mentioned, and it is clear that most of us do not develop our full creative potential. Logos is referred to in UT as Reason-Law, indicating that aspect of human nature which abides by intellectual rules or principles and also has free will. This means that true human nature includes both the ability to be responsible to remain within the boundaries of the principles of the cosmos, while at the same time having complete freedom within that system. The simplest example to explain this concept concerns our freedom to drive anywhere we choose on the immense system of highways and roads all over the continent, provided we all agree to drive on the same side of the road. Of course, it is clear that on the world level we have not quite achieved perfection even in this simple example.
The most important aspect of original human nature is a being with Heart. This is the most important because Heart is the essence of God. And this is also the most difficult. How many people do you know who are really united in Heart with God? And what does that even mean, to be united in Heart with God? Surely it means the most wonderful thing, that everything such a person did would be God’s will, would be something that would make God happy, and since God is a God of goodness whose purpose for creating us was to bring joy to God and all of us, everything such a person did would bring joy to all of us (see Figure 2).
Is such a person, or a world full of such people, too good to be true? I hope not. Imagine the problems it would solve: we could actually trust our governments if all politicians sought to make decisions that were in line with God’s will and had the ultimate purpose of joy for all people; there would be no need to worry about our children’s education if all teachers, school principals, etc., were always acting in line with God’s will for the good of humankind. There would be no need to worry about corruption in the justice system, no more lawyers promoting lawsuits for personal gain and not their clients, no need to worry whether a jury of one’s peers would come to a fair verdict, and so on. For Heart is the core of human personality, and it is our Heart that has been almost destroyed by our separation from God and God’s ideal.
I hope I have at least opened minds to what a world of perfect human adults would be like. Can we imagine living in such a world? Is such a world possible? Would we want to live in it? Unification Thought gives us a positive picture. But can we actualize it? I will address those questions in Part II, my next article, in coming weeks.♦
Dr. Jennifer P. Tanabe earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Edinburgh. She has served on the faculty and in various administrative capacities at UTS, presently as an educational consultant for Outcomes Assessment. She is author of The Ideal Family To Be or Not To Be: Testimonies of a Life Of Faith – A Biography of David S. C. Kim, and Contemplating Unification Thought, from which this article is adapted.