By John Redmond
Everyone has some blind beliefs about the nature of existence. They will swear that their ideas are well-reasoned, tempered by experience and fully rational — but they are not.
This is due to the fact we do not cause ourselves to come into being. We can never be fully sure that our suppositions about where we came from and what our purpose might be are correct. Most people seize on a likely explanation or adopt their family framework and get on with the business of day-to-day living.
The unusual ones search out the larger truths and struggle to understand the patterns that underlie their assumptions. Based on those assumptions, every human, even non-religious ones, “act in faith.” They make decisions and act as if their concepts are true and blindly hope they are. Even existentialists, proud deniers of doctrine and belief, cling to a first principle of absurdity.
Historically, humans worshipped the sun or nature because of the power those things had over one’s continued existence. As civilizations developed and the forces of nature were tamed, the elite of most societies sought to develop more sophisticated and well-rounded explanations of how things actually were and then what to do about them. They made ontological assumptions.
Much of the conflict in society today comes from people with opposing ontologies, both conscious and unconscious.
Ontology is the philosophical field revolving around the study of the nature of reality (all that is or exists), and the different entities and categories within reality. All ontologies are hypothetical. They are a good guess about how things really work and what is behind them. The way these hypotheses are tested for accuracy is by history. As generations of humans live based on the assumptions of their ontology, they develop all the other philosophical practices based on those primary assumptions. They also test these for efficacy over time.
Offerings to appease the sun god in order to overcome a drought seem less important when an irrigation system is developed. Ethnocentricity fades in importance when men and women of character emerge from other cultures and societies and win the respect of individuals in the dominant culture and marry each other’s children.
The ultimate merging and harmonizing of different ontologies is in a marriage. Many cultures sought to limit war and create harmony by royal intermarriage. In Unification practice, a restoration blessing between enemy nations is considered the forge of a more universal people. Children of such a successful marriage will have a foot in both cultures and be able to navigate the values and expectations of both sides of the family to the benefit of the whole.
Ethics is the study of the right, the good, and the valuable. Most conscientious people seek to connect their ethics to their ontology either intentionally through their religion or code of conduct, or subconsciously through their behavior. This creates other fields of study such as sociology, criminology, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Humans make assumptions about how they should live and how others should live and create laws, policies, rules and regulations for others to align them with a common ontology and ethical framework.
This goal to align others with your worldview is embedded in human social behavior. Seldom is anyone really “OK” with people who are different and have different values. This can be seen on the Internet, as trolls and flamers denigrate and denounce people who disagree with them routinely and viciously.
Religious proselytizing is a benign form of this seemingly universal human impulse. At its best, this impulse to educate, indoctrinate and liberate from ignorance and superstition is done with noble intentions and minimal damage. At its worst, it dehumanizes and destroys the people and cultures it seeks to elevate or eliminate.
A good example is the Christian missionaries who sought to bring religion, education, health and prosperity to isolated tribes, but sometimes brought disease and pointless practices, like dressing tropical people in English hoop skirts.
A bad example is the current effort by the Chinese communists to “elevate” the Uyghur Muslim culture by imprisoning large parts of its population in re-education camps and micro-managing their locations, communication and behavior through their mobile phones.
The interplay of conscious and unconscious ontologies and their related ethics is the cause of most human conflict and wars. The study of history can be said to be the evolution of ontology and ethics through both gradual evolution and adoption of superior ideas, or the forceful implementation of those ideas and subsequent social values.
Scientific and human progress often causes earlier beliefs to be subsumed into larger, more comprehensive ideas. Irish pagans, with a sophisticated and sensitive natural religion, were converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in a relatively short time. He was able to embody both the intellectual breadth and authentic spiritual behavior that captured their imagination and reinforced their traditional values, while painting a larger and more sweeping ontology.
Christianity in general, has swept across the globe challenging the assumptions of traditional religions and the ethical frameworks that accompany them. Ethical expectations about slavery, the role of women and the use of force are embedded in international law and have elevated the overall behavior of humans in the past few centuries.
On a more toxic level, both Nazism and Communism sought to enforce their ontologies and ethics by force of arms: the Nazis through an ontology of race supremacy and the Marxist-Leninists through an ontology of economic determinism and materialism.
The Divine Principle identifies the current stage of the world ideological struggle as one between Hellenism and Hebraism. In general terms, Hellenism can be seen as an ontology that assumes man is matter in motion and defined by physical, biological and genetic laws. Darwin’s law is primary and the scientific method is the arbiter of truth.
Hebraism assumes those laws to be at work but posits that human consciousness exists on a higher plane, is eternal and is intuitively connected to a benevolent First Cause. The Ten Commandments and Golden Rule are most significant.
The current political climate in the United States is a stage where the contest between these two ontologies is expressed through arguments about how our common ethics should be expressed.
What is the balance between creating wealth and distributing it. When does human life begin? When is a person responsible for their behavior and when should they be forgiven due to their environmental or historical circumstances? How much should we moderate each other’s behavior? Is the environment more important than humans? Is there a field of consciousness that exists after physical life? Does human intent really change reality as quantum theory suggests?
One’s answers to these questions will largely predict where you fall on the political spectrum. If you are certain there is no larger or eternal consciousness, you will want to maximize your current physical situation, seeking immediate and/or slightly deferred gratification rather than eternal virtue or multigenerational value.
You will expect your government to respect your priorities and make policies that reflect the pragmatic and short-term goals you have set for yourself.
A person who thinks that humans have free will and therefore have personal responsibility are less likely to support or excuse bad behavior in others.
Dennis Prager, a writer, political commentator and talk radio host, has made the following observations about ontology and the current political spectrum (a partial list):
|Source of Human Rights||Government||The Creator|
|Human Nature||Basically good (therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil)||Not basically good (therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil)|
|Primary Role of the State||Increase and protect equality||Increase and protect liberty|
|Government||As large as possible||As small as possible|
|Good and Evil||Relative to individual and/or society||Based on universal absolutes|
|How to Make a Good Society||Abolish inequality||Develop each citizen’s moral character|
|View of America||Profoundly morally flawed; inferior to any number of European countries||Greatest force for good among nations in world history|
|Gender||A social construct||Male and female|
|Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child||Self-esteem||Self-control|
|Worth of the Human Fetus||Determined by the mother||Determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values|
|Primary Source of Crime||Poverty, racism and other societal flaws||The criminal’s malfunctioning conscience|
|Place of God and Religion in America||Secular government and secular society||Secular government and religious society|
|Purpose of Art||Challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities||Produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society|
|Racial, Ethnic and Gender Diversity at Universities||Most important||Far less important than ideological diversity|
|Hate||Wrong, except when directed at the political||Wrong, except when directed at evil|
|America’s Founding Fathers||Rich white male slave owners||Great men who founded the greatest society|
|Purpose of Judges||Pursue social justice||Pursue justice|
The polarizing nature of these categories are not accidental. Prager separates almost everything according to his ontology. He is very consistent in the application of his beliefs and they are tied to the wisdom of the Judeo-Christian way of seeing things. His first principles are based on the existence and presence of God and the idea of a right and wrong morality.
An equally polarizing view has arisen on the left called Critical Race Theory (CRT). According to the UCLA School of Public Affairs:
“CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.”
This theory has Marxist ontological roots and declares that all white people are structurally racist and guilty of racism by their birth as a white American. It assumes their interests and ethics are determined by their economic class and materialistic impulses and any ethical or religious explanation for their behavior is secondary to their economic class.
There is a subconscious materialistic ontology that underlies the current BLM movement and idea of “white fragility” and systemic racism. This theory also doesn’t allow for primary or secondary causes, but sees the ontology of white privilege as the whole truth.
Many people are discouraged about the current human condition since they see no way to reconcile these polarizing points of view.
Unification Thought brings some hope to the discussion through the structural ontology of dual dualities. The first duality is “vertical” or causal and the second is “horizontal” and relational.
The vertical relationships are caused by a force outside oneself. You are born into a situation, a race and a culture that you didn’t choose. Decisions about how you conduct yourself are often inherited. Consequences of vertical dualities usually have consequences of a constructive or destructive nature. The ontology that some people are meant to be slaves and some meant to be masters, has consequences for a society that adopts that ideology.
A horizontal duality describes relationships that are not causal but relative. A decision to wear a red coat or a blue coat is not necessarily correct or incorrect, but a matter of choice and how cold it is.
Many of our political and social disagreements fall into the red coat/blue coat category. Should we have more or less governmental control? More or less taxation and subsidies, more or less public education? The legislative system is meant to sort out these momentary shifts in priority and set the immediate priority. Because the government is dominant in a time of war does not mean it should be in a time of prosperity. These decisions can react to the times and circumstances and be contradictory from one time to another.
The vertical duality is more fundamental. While humans have the power to claim anything as truth for a while, over time the larger causal realities assert themselves and a reasonable person will respect that understanding.
Some examples of historical vertical ontological views that used to be considered normal that have evolved to be unacceptable: Cannibalism, human sacrifice, the role of women, slavery, and the divine right of kings.
Sometimes a society is forced to violate its own expectations and beliefs. When there is a hurricane or pandemic, a society will exert authoritarianism over individual liberty for a short period, but will soon return to its roots.
Other beliefs are complementary and can be identified as primary and secondary. They should be allowed to co-exist in society with the primary good having precedence, and the secondary value filling a complementary role. In most cultures, wearing a red or blue coat is irrelevant and should be tolerated. Most religious and social practices can be tolerated as long as they reflect the free will of the participants and don’t damage the general welfare.
It should be possible then to moderate some of the extreme positions from both the right and left by finding “headwing” positions and merging the goals to attain a larger worldview.
If we apply headwing principles to some of Prager’s list from the Unification Ontological view it looks like this:
|Source of Human Rights||Government||The Creator||Vertical — the Creator through the original mind, the government is created to protect those rights.|
|Human Nature||Basically good (therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil)||Not basically good (therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil)||Primarily good, but with free will to do evil.|
|Family Ideal||Any loving unit of people||A married father and mother, and children||Primarily, the family is the school of love. Secondarily, you should love everyone of every philosophy even if you disagree with them.|
|Primary Role of the State||Increase and protect equality||Increase and protect liberty||Primarily equal opportunity, secondarily prosperity depending on free choices.|
|Government||As large as possible||As small as possible||Large enough to handle emergencies, but unnecessary in a conscientious society.|
|Good and Evil||Relative to individual and/or society||Based on universal absolutes||Evil is based on universal absolutes and should be discouraged with a clear sense of free will and personal responsibility and the exacerbating conditions and historical context.|
If we apply a headwing point of view to Critical Race Theory, Unificationism asserts the primary solution to systemic racism is that all humans have divine potential realized through the constructive application of free will. Racism will be solved over time as individuals develop their character and embrace each other enough to intermarry. Secondarily, if there are systemic barriers to integration, then they can be addressed over time and on a case by case basis.
While none of these examples will please everyone, the Unification Ontological framework, used consciously, will allow future generations to decode situations constructively through prioritizing underlying values rather than in a simplistic binary way. Through many iterations they can move society toward a harmonized and constructive blend of contrasting views.
The application of Unification Structural Ontology to current and future political and social problems is the main public work of Unificationists and will provide the social DNA for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.♦
John Redmond is married to a clever wife, is the proud father of four interesting children, and is one of the Tri-Pastors of the Mid-Hudson Family Church. He has high expectations for the American Unification movement.
Thank you, John, for addressing this topic, about our “unconscious principles,” “blind beliefs” or prejudices, biases, opinions.
I enjoyed your analysis and found it stimulating. I am not 100 per cent sure that the problem lies only in various ontologies. For those who are familiar with Unification Thought, I recommend to study Dr. Lee’s diagram Fig 10.10 in New Essentials of Unification Thought (2006), p. 461. It is called “Interconnectedness between the structures of logic, cognition, existence and dominion.” As the title suggests, the structure of existence (studied by ontology) is only one component in the process of thinking. People’s thoughts about the same objective existence differ because of various patterns in the structure of logic, structure of cognition and structure of dominion. I know that it may look very technical at first, but actually it is not. Dr. Lee gives a rather clear explanation. I have often considered this particular diagram to be one of the most illuminating in all Unification Thought. It is very helpful to arrive at a better thought on various fields. Thank you again, John, it is a very important and needed topic.
Thanks for your response. I agree that ontology is the base for a superstructure of developed ideas. This will hopefully be the first step in a wide-ranging application of Unification Thought to contemporary issues.
Your article is great and important. I am sure that you will continue to work on it, helped by comments. Although I disagree with a number of your conclusions on head-wing thought, I will comment here only on the solution to systemic racism. A large class of persons have been and are continuing to be injured primarily by another large class of persons.
From a Unificationist perspective, reconciliation can be restored only by conditions of indemnity (better translated as conditions toward indemnification) established by the injurers. In current public discourse, this is somewhat less precisely understood and is called reparations.
Dennis Prager of course is on the political right and religious. Consequently at the top of the list he frames the difference between the political right and left most essentially as God vs. no God. However the left can be just as religious as the right and there are atheists on both sides.
So this is a false dichotomy, and his list does not constitute a good basis from which to understand the difference between the political right and left. In turn, it means his list does not form a good basis from which to describe Headwing. This is because Headwing begins from God. So adopting Prager’s list positions Headwing most essentially as synonymous with right-wing. I don’t believe this is correct either. Divine Principle proposes socialism as the ideal.
Thank you for your insight. I think your assertion that the primary cause of injury is class-based and race-based highlights my argument. A good case can be made that skin color is causal in a certain percentage of class injury, but is not the complete or even the primary cause. Free will and personal responsibility also can claim a large share of injury to that class, then history, destiny and luck can tip the balance.
I agree that measuring religious intent on a simple binary economic scale is confusing, and Prager’s list is meant to highlight the simplistic nature of binary choices. The list can be divided into vertical and horizontal dualities and then it makes more sense and reveals headwing character.
For me, the difference between left and right has to do with purpose. Divine Principle proposes dual purposes: whole purpose and individual purpose. The left emphasizes whole purpose, but often uses force at the expense of individual purpose. The right emphasizes individual purpose, but also uses force, this time at the expense of whole purpose.
Headwing character must deal appropriately with both purposes in their correct order. It can’t be based on force. Whole purpose is subject and therefore vertical. Individual purpose is object and therefore horizontal. Hence, Divine Principle can say, “God’s plan is to develop a socialistic economy, although with a form and content utterly different from the state socialism that communism actually established.” [Exposition of the Divine Principle, Section 7.2.6] God’s plan, not belief in God per se, is vertical.
I hope that the discussion of John’s article will not focus exclusively on the political consequences of different ontologies. It can be very dividing.
One application of John’s topic is what we sometimes call “family culture”. When I talk with average Unificationist families about their family culture, or the underlying ideology of their family life, most couples would say that it is a combination of so many factors. We have of course the notion of the ideal family and we analyze our family culture in light of the 4 realms of heart and 3 great kingships. We try to have Hoon Dok Hae, Family Pledge, Sunday Service, etc.
But then, the husband and the wife will also import much of the thoughts and habits of the family where they grew up, much more so than we generally admit. We reproduce what we learned before meeting the Principle, for better or worse.
The educational and social background will also play a role. Therefore, many “voices” can be heard in the same family. A Unificationist household may have some form of official belief or credo which binds them together, but beneath the surface, the opinions and patterns of thought can be extremely different. The question then, is, “what is the secret of the Blessed couples who really manage to create a strong tradition over three generations? And why is it so difficult for others, even when the faith and belief of the parents is very strong?”
Yes, it is unfortunate that John used Prager’s list to characterize Headwing, as that in itself does politicize the issue. Then again, perhaps it provides a good example of what he is talking about that is worth unpacking.
It was my intention to use Prager’s list to provide a scaffold to build out a more detailed Headwing application in the second table.
Laurent, good insight.
When my wife and I were first married, we couldn’t believe how much we agreed on how things ought to be. Now… 🙂
The question of ontological presuppositions is supremely important, as is Mr. Redmond’s remark that these presuppositions are often “unconscious.” Therefore, he is right that rather than simply look at surface phenomena, we need to explore the question of ontology.
My ontology is that God created us as His/Her children to manifest love, a love that is true, all-embracing, and respecting every human being as a child of God. This is the core of the Principle of Creation.
Mr. Redmond identifies his ontology by stating, “the current stage of the world ideological struggle as one between Hellenism and Hebraism.” He is operating within the providence of restoration. However, I believe that when True Parents state that we have moved beyond beyond the era of restoration and into the Cheon Il Guk Era, they imply that Redmond’s restorational ontology is defunct, obsolete, and not the best way to view the current situation of our world.
The peak of the conflict between Hebraism and Hellenism was in 1990-91, when True Parents met Gorbachev and then Kim Il Sung and brought them to natural surrender. This marked the downfall of communism and Marxism as an aggressive ideological force. After that, True Parents began to evangelize the former Soviet Union and prepare the foundations for a unified world. Now True Mother says that she is reaching out to all 7.7 billion people of the world, making no distinction between those in leftist nations like Cambodia, Muslim nations like Senegal, and right-wing nations like Taiwan. To me, this is evidence that we should let go of the unconscious presupposition that the world is still immersed in a left-right struggle for its soul.
Maintaining that restorational ontological stance in the current era has led to mischaracterizing the current problems of America, notably the racial issue spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter movement that has arisen with such force after the death of George Floyd from police abuse. It appears to be a fact that some of the leaders in the incorporated legal entity called Black Lives Matter are Marxists. Yet the major purpose of the larger BLM movement — police reform — is widely respected by mainstream America. What shall we do? Our underlying ontology makes all the difference in how we approach this issue.
If we look at the action of blacks who are victimized by police violence and support Black Lives Matter, we find that most are church-going people, for whom black lives means the lives of God’s children. How does that square with the sharp dichotomy posited by restorational ontology where, in Redmond’s words, “Hellenism can be seen as an ontology that assumes man is matter in motion and defined by physical, biological and genetic laws…” while “Hebraism… posits that human consciousness exists on a higher plane, is eternal and is intuitively connected to a benevolent First Cause…”? How irrelevant to the actual lives of these people. They are not godless secular Darwinists, despite what restorational ontology says.
Those who stay with a restorational ontology, nurtured by decades of CAUSA work, might well see Black Lives Matter as a Marxist front group, perpetrating a Marxist plot to drag America down the path to communism. After all, that’s how communists worked throughout most of the 20th century. This view has consequences: it puts them on the side of racists, much as opponents of Nelson Mandela did in South Africa when they branded his organization, the African National Congress (ANC), a communist group and used that as an excuse to keep him in prison and preserve apartheid. But Mandela’s victory in South Africa did not communize South Africa, because his victory came at the point in history when True Parents defeated communism. True Parents’ victory meant that Marxism had lost its sting.
Those Marxists that work today in America, on college campuses and among activists like Black Lives Matter, are no longer the threat they once were. They are but remnants of what was once a global movement with Satan as its chief operator behind the scenes. We needed to fight for Hebraism and against Hellenism in order to defeat Satan. But Lucifer surrendered over 20 years ago. So what is the benefit of continuing with an ontology that, by dividing the world into left and right, demonstrates partiality towards only half of God’s children?
One major problem is that most of our allies on the right, especially opinion leaders like Mr. Praeger, do not accept True Parents. They persist in seeing the world according to the Hellenistic/Hebraistic dichotomy because they have no understanding of how the providence that has True Parents at its center has developed. It is our homework to educate them.
An ontology based on the Principle of Creation does not dwell in dichotomies. It views people on all sides as God’s children, whether they are the black victims of police violence or the police who perpetrate violence while doing the difficult job of maintaining public order. God our Parent wants us to love one another. I think it’s time to raise the banner “Love Matters” and support people on both sides to practice love and seek the benefit of their sisters and brothers on the other side.
Love is of God, and love is the “head” of head-wing. Apply the love of our Parent to any of the divisions in America today, and we help people on both sides to grow, to behave more in keeping with children of God. This is the path to interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values.
While I certainly agree with your ontology that God is love, I don’t think that that assertion alone will create the Unificationist culture. Someone has to identify the good ideas, argue them successfully, implant and enforce them in laws and culture. The purpose of this article is not to assert one wing or the other, but to propose a mechanism for analyzing current social and political values and provide a pathway toward a more ideal culture through the clarity of headwing analysis.
In our current polarized political state, the Hellenistic/Hebraistic model is a good place to begin a discussion that separates the muddled right/left economic structures. While I agree that Love is the “head” of headwing, the body has to be well-defined dual dualities.
Any successful application of the Principle will require a period of growth and practical, step-by-step levels of restoration, give and take action, stages of growth, and a time period. Unificationists will have to learn how develop and apply these principles in day-to-day decisions in order to complete the symbolic successes that True Parents have won.
Yes, I agree that Prager’s list is not the best idea in John’s paper. It may also come from the fact that the author is using concepts such as ontologies, unconscious principles or blind beliefs, which I find ill-defined here.
As Unificaionists, we all know the same ontology. Yet, we have so many different opinions, biases, worldviews on so many topics. And when it comes to politics, we often clash and become very polarized. It may be unavoidable, but we should be able to find ways to do better.
First of all, I recommend a very strict use of the term ontology. In the 1930s, German philosophers had hot debates to distinguish between ontology and worldview. Weltanschauung was the term coined by Wilhelm Dilthey, a thinker mentioned by Unification Thought. It is quite a rich term, probably richer than simply worldview.
An ideology is also different from a Weltanschauung. Ideologies rose in the 19th century and became triumphant in the 20th century.
I want you to consider the term “prism.” I know that a prisme (French) or prisma (Spanish) as a term of optical science cannot be translated in English as a prism in the sense of “point of view”. But in French, we say that, on the same social fact, there is the “prism” of anthropology, sociology, statistics, crowd psychology, politics, economics, etc …
I don’t remember enough about the optical science, but I do remember that the triangular prism has several functions; one of them is stigma, another is deviation. Is that right? Who can help me?
If you look at any event, according to your point of reference, you will have a certain prism. But some people exagerate their bias, for example, they will excessively magnify a detail or minimize an important component. You may hear someone speaking rather loud, and if you don’t really like this person, you will say that this person was shouting, even screaming. And it may be true that the person was very hot and burning inside, but took great care to express him- or herself just by raising the voice but not shouting or screaming. The inimical person will stigmatise something.
The Gospels are full of various “prisms”. Please have a look at the rich young man story. Mark, Matthew and Luke report the scene, but apparently their versions differ in key details. Luke suggests that the young man was arrogant and defiant. But Mark is confident to say, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him ..” (Mark 10:21) Yes, loved him, something extremely rare in the Gospel. Why did Mark see that? Anyone has got an idea? I am stil wondering.
You make some excellent points. I admit that following on John’s usage, I was too loose in employing the word “ontology” in my comment. I propose that we restrict ontology to the nature of being, which I believe is its original meaning. Divine Principle’s ontology is spelled out in the Principle of Creation: dual characteristics, give-and-receive action, growth, God’s direct dominion, etc. On the other hand, the view that the world is beset by two contesting ideologies is a worldview, or a prism, describing a situation at a particular point in time and in a particular context.
There is nothing about the worldview of contesting ideologies in the Principle of Creation. It is a situation that the world was immersed in during the 16th to 20th centuries, which is only a moment in light of eternity. It will pass and be forgotten someday. Only the ontology of the Principle of Creation will remain for eternity.
Our purpose ought to be to build the Kingdom of God on earth, or Cheon Il Guk, where God’s original ontology is manifest throughout. This leaves a question to those of us like John who still see the world through the prism of contesting ideologies: How do we get from here to there? At some point we have to put the Principle of Creation into practice, and when we do so, we may have to discard some of the paradigms of the old worldview that are not in accord with the Principle of Creation.
If so, is it appropriate to do that now, in 2020? Is it safe? And if not now, when will it ever be appropriate and safe? If it remains our practice after True Parents have both passed away, it could become a legacy that will be impossible to change.
The transition will require growth. Immature leftists will have to grow their hearts to recognize the value of their opponents on the right, and immature rightists will have to do likewise. When we grow beyond the top of the growth stage, we can find value in looking for the win-win. If so, then the question becomes: how do we encourage growth in our sisters and brothers? I believe it starts with us, when we begin giving God’s love to everyone, everywhere, without exception.
Mark understood that Jesus loved the rich young man, because he saw in that young man a spark of God and hoped that he would receive his teachings. His prism was to display Jesus’ love. Laurent, you suggest that Luke portrayed the rich young man as arrogant, and perhaps it is because his prism was dichotomies, the rich vs. the poor (see what Luke does to the Beatitudes in Luke 6:20-26) and he was promoting the gospel among the poorer classes who often experienced the rich as uncaring. It’s the same thing that I am talking about here.
Thank you, Dr. Wilson, for making clear what our ontology should be.
You are right, we are challenged to live the Principle of Creation. Our movement is originally the movement of irrepressible true love, which wins and saves every soul. One symptom of the new truth is the infinite joy that it procures. It is contagious. A few years ago, our members in Southeast Asia spread the Hoon Dok virus. They believed that when you read the two-hour lecture one hundred times, you reach a new level of consciousness. And you start to act more efficiently. Now, it is the most successful region for Heavenly Tribal Messiahship. The right speech was followed by the right action.
Until July 1, 2020, the world was shaken by two waves of dreadful contagious viruses: one by the COVID, and it was followed by a release of wrath and anger after the tragic death of George Floyd. These two viruses bring a contagion of fear and anger, for a while. In the second half of the year, let us release the virus of love and joy. We have to support True Mother’s coming rally, in creative ways.
You are very right, Dr. Wilson, to insist on maturity. Even if we think that conservative people or progressive circles both have some very good points, we should avoid taking sides. We should listen to their narratives and just comment, “OK, quite good. God certainly can use some of your very good ideas. Keep suggesting and improve a bit. It is going to be perfect.” Parents are to encourage but also challenge the child a bit.
We should try to stand on a position of parents and help both camps to keep growing and expressing their views in a more loving, joyful way. Many things are sublime in Buddhism, and particularly, I am inspired by the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism first looks severe, ascetic and pessimistic, but the Noble Eightfold Path is very positive. It teaches us to cultivate the right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.
John Remond started with a very holy and noble effort, inviting us to adopt a right view, right resolve, right speech. This invitation is extremely precious for us. He was very courageous to write this article, knowing that not everybody will agree with it. I think that we are invited to present our ontology with a very, very, very good heart, full of peaceful joy, so that the contagious joy will make every woman, every man, become an unshakable living statue of true love wearing no mask or red paint on it. Yes, let us make everyone a living statue of true love, and let it start with me!
Thanks for this interesting article.
One set of concepts I have worked on to evaluate policies stems from my study and application of Six Sigma and continuous improvement. Discussions about Head-wing always leave me feeling and thinking, this is hard to use in real applications. Maybe I have not worked hard enough. So, I have been employing what I coin as 3 E’s: effectiveness, efficiency and ethical. By effectiveness, I mean at what level of organization should a decision be made. Building interstate highways is primarily funded at the national level, with input and funding from states is an example. Efficiency means how can the processes deliver the most value and solve the problem. And ethical means are there ethical constraints or compromises that arise due to what is defined as effective and efficient?
What about national defense? Certainly this should be lead by and decisions made on the national level. Is it efficient? No is probably the answer. Is it ethical, maybe, maybe not. There is certainly immense political pressure to maintain military bases and companies with defense contracts in particular states. What does head-wing say about this? I am unsure. I believe that creating processes that are efficient and working at constantly improving them can be done. Removing ethical issues is much harder. Resolving conflicts between these three concepts requires compromise, which does not lend itself to ontological purity.
How does head-wing address some of these issues?
– Delivering health care
– Reforming pension systems
I welcome your thoughts in these and any others that come to mind.
Rob, In many ways I think the business environment is a perfect “test bed” for religious ideals. In my own career, I have found that the best and most profitable businesses practice the Principle without really knowing it. The TQM/Six Sigma process is a very principled approach to business processes and could be invaluable in building out a cultural Divine Principle framework.
Thank you Robert for your input to the discussion.
1. It is good to ask open questions without feeling compelled to bring answers.
2. It seems to me that your questions are somewhat different from those adressed by John Redmond. John seems to be concerned about the what (ontology), and the why and what for. Your questions are more about the how and the where.
3. Regarding the 3Es you mention (effectiveness, efficiency and ethical), it is a tendency of the Anglo-Saxon world to apply Utilitarianism, especially the thought of Jeremy Bentham. Quite surprisingly, Dr. Lee, in Unification Thought, states that in some cases, Bentham is closer to the Principle than Emmanuel Kant. I must admit that this was very challenging for me, but I understand it better.
One problem we sometimes have in continental Europe is that a large segment of American Thought, on economic issues, is a mxture of Puritanism, Utilitarianim, Social Darwinism and Calvinist Thought. It certainly makes sense for Americans, but in many nations of Europe, we are puzzled and have another frame of reference.
The philosophy of public infrastructures is certainly very different in the USA, in continental Europe and in Japan, for instance. And here, I guess even Unificationists can have very different opinions.
I have no idea who Betham was and I am not sure what a mixture of Puritanism, Utilitarianim, Social Darwinism and Calvinist Thought is.
Anyway, I see the modern process improvement movement as a counterpart and practical application of Godism. A little history: William Deming (1901-1993) pioneered this system of thought and during WW II helped conventional factories convert to war-focused manufacturing. After WW II, he took those same processes and thinking and taught them to Toyota and others who needed to convert from a war focus and helped Toyota and others lead the way in rebuilding the Japanese economy. Those same principles were then brought back to the US in the 60’s and adopted by Motorola and General Electric. Motorola lead the way in the microprocessor revolution where capacity doubled every two years and decreased in price at the same speed for 30+ years. GE used the same ideas to become a leader in every area they were competing in under Jack Welch’s leadership.
The search for meaning and for God is central and still the central thrust of God’s Providence, I think though and believe that people are looking for solutions to the many problems facing society. It is the reason True Parents sought to act to bring the realms of science and religion together and worked tirelessly in the Ocean Providence and many others, in my view. Six Sigma means creating processes where only 6 errors per million occurrences happen. Imagine creating processes that would find and identify all but 6 drug shipments and bad people seeking entry into the US? And identified the good people we want in as well.
Most recently, over $4 billion were sent to deceased or people otherwise should have not been receiving the federal $1,200 stimulus payments during this coronavirus and economic crisis. The same could be applied to military expenditures and many more. Providing clean water and sewage systems to the 7+ billion people on earth are challenges humankind faces, among others.
This does not solve the underlying dysfunctional relationships caused by the Fall and its aftermath, but it is one component in building CIG.
Hi Robert. Thank you for your insights, which are always very practical and based on experience.
I agree that I should have provided some definiton of terms.
1) Utilitarianism is a family of ethical theories that promote actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals. Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different characterizations, the basic idea behind all of them is to in some sense maximize utility, which is often defined in terms of well-being or related concepts.
2) For instance, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, described utility as “that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness…[or] to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered.” The fundamental axiom of his philosophy is the principle that “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.”
3) Social Darwinism is the application of Darwinism to social sciences, especially the notion of the “survival of the fittest”. Consciously or uncounsciously, it was sometimes applied in the philosophy of entrepreneurship in the Anglo-Saxon world. Tragically, Calvinism, with its view of absolute predestination, was a Christian thinking sometimes compatible with and in support of social Darwinism. Those who are still familiar with the CAUSA lecture manual probably remember the very insightul paragraph about this in the lecture entitled “Confusion in the Western Value System.” (IV, 2)
I remember that Dr. Thomas Ward gave very profound insight on that.
4) Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) is famous for his blending of Puritanism and Social Darwinism. But he was deeply aware that the person predestined by God and who happened to become very rich was socially responsible. He became the mastermind of philanthropy. His 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society. After becoming one of the richest men in the world, he started to give out much of his huge fortune. In his case, his conscience was extremely strong. He has been imitated by a fair number of American philanthropists today.
Thank you, John, for your essay…a great deal to ponder, especially with regard to “identifying the good ideas, argue them successfully,’ and to “propose a mechanism for analyzing current social and political values and provide a pathway toward a more ideal culture through the clarity of Headwing analysis.”
We tout “universally shared values, interdependence and mutual prosperity” as important tenets by which we can establish a culture of peace. As Unificationists we have very clear ideas as to what values and virtues are essential to establish that culture. The question is: Are those values universally shared? The answer is no. There are many who take the view that touting Judeo-Christian “meta-narratives,” or promoting the idea that there is a transcendent morality that applies to all people, or that DP’s ontological/axiological view of family and sexuality, is in effect “reactionary,” and therefore decidedly out of step with secular, postmodern-based progressivism. This is especially true in academia as my two daughters will readily testify.
Dr. Wilson brought up the salient issue of “maturity,” so we might ask: What defines the kind of maturity, or level of maturity, that we believe to be necessary in our pursuit of Cheon Il Guk? We say that love needs to be in the equation. We also hold that Godism (the predicate of Headwing) ought to be in the socio-cultural equation: in governing, education, the media, the arts, commerce, science, etc. As Unificationists, “we hold those truths to be self-evident.” But who’s listening? Or, more importantly, what steps, programs, initiatives, or “mechanisms” are being actualized in our advocacy of the values and virtues that we believe are so important? In this context Rob Sayre’s ideas regarding efficiency and effectiveness are pertinent.
Recently our national Headquarters in New York produced a 21-day historical retrospective on True Parents’ life course. Qualitatively, it was well done and quite moving on many levels. The number of people tuning in daily to the broadcasts topped out at around 3,700 viewers. Some members touted that number as being impressive, but I think all of us would agree that 37,000 or 370,000 or, 3.7 million would have been far more impressive. Over the past several years, True Mother has been emphasizing the use of digital platforms and web-based technology in our witnessing efforts. It seems that we should be more proactive in this regard.
True Mother also mentioned that there are three attributes that we should embrace in our efforts to become mature citizens of CIG:
#1 Be grateful
#2 Be grateful
#3 Be grateful
This has been a very interesting and timely discussion. It is obvious that American culture is entrenched in the restorational divide of left-right, Hellenism-Hebraism, and we Unificationists ourselves are tempted to take one side or the other. I admit I have struggled myself over this.
The left seems to have no firm principles or boundaries and so their concepts of right and wrong are forever changing. Yes, Black Lives Matter (at least one of the groups) was established by trained Marxists, and calls for defunding the police seem to me to be very dangerous. The right, on the other hand, often seems indifferent to the plight of minorities in America. Statistics show that wealth remains firmly in the hands of white people and there continues to be a sense of hopelessness among blacks in ever being able to shake off centuries of underclass living. To take one side or the other leads to a dead end. There is no way out but to a future of destruction. This is the direction we are now heading. Both sides speak to their base and continue to generate hatred and distrust of the other side.
God is looking for us to stake out a Headwing position. What this eventually will look like is not at all clear, but we must pursue this path. I find Dr. Wilson’s viewpoint very hopeful and in line with the providential time that we should be in. If True Parents are truly victorious, we are no longer in the age of restoration but of settlement. We are in the age of establishing God’s ideal, Cheon Il Guk. That should be our focus, to flesh that out and exemplify it. We should have no enemies but seek to embrace everyone as God’s children. It does not mean to be naive about the motives of some who are engaged in the current struggle but to believe in the Godliness within every person and to help them to realize that about themselves. As channels of God’s love, we should work to draw out the goodness that lies, albeit sometimes dormant, within each person.
Finally, Christian leaders, rather than engaging in the culture wars, which contributes to the divisions in America, need to join with us in the building of God’s ideal. That is their salvation, to connect with True Parents and take up the Headwing position. If not, they will continue to lose power and influence in American culture. Last year’s rallies with True Mother were very hopeful and are something we must build upon.
David and Bob,
I also agree with Dr. Wilson that the age of CIG is here, but I don’t think it will come by itself. The Principles of Creation and Re-creation are the same and require a similar level of investment to get victory. Father crafted conditions and victories with 100% effort. I think it will take no less effort for us to compete the task that he and Mother started.
Using the dual dualities to respond to simplistic arguments and changing the framework of the disagreement will reveal previously hidden compromise positions.
I still think Bishop Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa is one of the best applications of Divine Principle that I have ever seen.
We can do similar things.
I also believe it will take our 100% effort to bring about the kind of world God wants. We must be agents of change through the Headwing position, which to me involves love, forgiveness, and true reconciliation. We must rise above the current cultural divide that is driving us towards destruction.
There are those on the left who seek America’s destruction, but they also in their original minds seek for a better society. Just the only way they think it can happen is by tearing down the constitutional structure which they believe is based on racism. The task is to tap into their original minds and find the way to work towards a common ideal.
Yes, effort is required…seriously so.
History by definition depends on human action and to a certain extent human interpretation. There is an idea that there is a moral arc to the universe and it bends towards justice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., cited the “moral arc” narrative in a number of his speeches, however it was first attributed to the transcendentalist cleric, Theodore Parker in 1857. Parker, a dedicated abolitionist and reformer within the Unitarian church, used the “moral arc” narrative in expressing confidence that the injustice of slavery could not continue.
Without people accepting responsibility and taking action in accordance with Godly virtues goodness will not be realized in any significant fashion. Nietzsche’s aversion to the Judeo-Christian ethos, in the estimation of Roger Scruton, was in part based on his desire to be accommodated without moral restrictions in order “to escape the eye of judgment.” Yet creating a moral and just society requires judgment, and judgment is generally based on moral codes that are established according to common interests and values, many of which have historically been predicated on religious precepts.
Bob Beebe mentioned there needs to be fixed principles that can act as pillars on which to build a culture of peace. Radical relativism, unbridled freedom and anarchy are clearly not the answers. Headwing predicated on Godism is our way, but realization requires action. As a wise sage once said, “Love is an active verb.”
Here is, in my opinion, an example of a headwing attitude:
1.1 In the city of Bristol, England, a statue of Edward Colston (1636–1721) was toppled in the wake of demonstrations after George Floyd’s death. This man was an English merchant, philanthropist and Tory Member of Parliament who was involved in the Atlantic slave trade. The statue was thrown in the water by BLM partisans.
1.2 Then, a statue called “A Surge of Power” was erected in place of Colston. It represents Jen Reid, a black young lady, member of the BLM movement. This sculpture was made by Marc Quinn.
2. Reaction to facts
2.1 Marvin Rees,the mayor of Bristol, immediately reacted and had the new statue removed and put elsewhere for a while. Why?
2.2 Marvin Rees is a Labour party mayor (center left) and he is black himself (mixed-race son of a Jamaican father and white mother). He has no nostalgia FOR Edward Colston. So, what’s wrong with the new sculpture, according to the mayor?
2.3 He said that the freedom of expression is good, however, the sculpture was put there without any democratic deliberation. The mayor had not been consulted. According to him, it is not the crowd which can decide this kind of thing, it has to be a decision made by citizens. It must be discussed, and if possible, voted.
2.4 Here, Marvin Rees is acting at the risk of irritating part of his own camp. He may have his own hidden agenda to take such a decision. Rees is often seen as an influential leader in his country. But apparently, he is acting in defense of traditional British values. His decision reminds us that democracy is the power of the people, but this “people” is demos, this means the citizenship, and not ethnos, (race, culture or language). The population of a country can be composed of many ethnic groups, but there is a transcendent principle above these diverse groups. Even when a minority has been oppressed, it has no right to act in a non-democratic manner. Moreover, political decisions should be above emotions, feelings are to play a role, but feelings can only become righteous if they harmonize with reason and will.
My first reaction was to see a rather headwing attitude. But I am not sure either. After all, it is not my country and I may not know enough of the story. I am sure that among British Unificationists, there may be different views about that.
In ontology, there are several arguments and counter-arguments on the existence of God. It seems to me that Unificationism’s history of the providence of religions in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular can provide another argument.
We have noticed that in history, many philosophical theories have emerged and have been corrected, amended, replaced, superseded, overthrown, etc., but religions have always been persistently existing.
Divine Principle tells us that in the history of restoration, God works through the principle of indemnity, in guiding the central persons and their followers in establishing the foundations of faith and substance by overcoming all kinds of mountainous obstacles.
Perhaps from here, one logical question is, “If God does not exist, why would countless rational people risk their life in the defense of their religions?”
Perhaps, “faith” is the key word.
To continue with my theme, I resonate with Robert’s comments about effectiveness and Laurent’s rejoinder that it sounds like Utilitarianism. I also appreciate Laurent’s reference to events in Bristol. To me, they point to the situational nature of love, which eschews cookie-cutter formulas and abstract ideological analysis, and instead simply asks, “How can I best give love in this situation?”
The solutions in Cheon Il Guk, I believe, will be mainly about practicing godly love. That means directly interacting with people face-to-face and understanding their hearts and situations, because without understanding individual people in their unique personalities and situations, love can hardly be effective. Godly love needs to be personal enough that we recognize the hurts and comprehensive enough that we can see the effects on others and also see paths to greater benefit beyond the hurts.
Godly love doesn’t mean being indulgent or coddling, because sometimes people may need to be challenged to grow to a higher maturity where they don’t have to act out of resentment; however, for that to be effective, people have to know that our action comes from love. Godly love requires some investigation, both into ourselves and into others, to check whether our judgments are true or based on stereotypes that may not always be accurate. Sometimes that requires us to suspend negative judgments (“that’s Marxist,” or “that’s Trumpian”) that would take us away from loving actions altogether. Most of all, love requires that we are prayerful and seek God’s voice and God’s viewpoint.
I hope that over the next few years, the discourse in our movement can become full of stories and testimonies of loving actions that bear fruit in changed lives, and move away from the ideological expositions that are so commonplace in current Unification discourse.
In my previous comment, I mentioned that while philosophical theories have always been susceptible to be “overthrown” and “replaced”, religious truth, on the other hand, stays in existence most of the time. Take for example, while the New Testament word was the “new truth”, the Christian Bible still contains the Old Testament books. Isn’t it a sign showing that religious truth isn’t “man-made”?
There is another characteristic of religions that may contribute to the argument for God’s existence.
We know that philosophy is generally confined to the “ivory tower” of the philospher-scholar world where they engage in debates and can hardly pose any influences to the general public. But religions, on the other hand, create great impact on human customs, traditions, cultures, civilizations, etc. This is another sign of the existence of a “super-human” or “supernatural being” whom we named “God”.
Of course, there are exceptional philosophies that have influenced human cultures greatly. The Oriental philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and the ancient Greek Hellenism are examples. However, the Divine Principle categorizes them as prophetic types of philosophies, the “divinely inspired”.
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.
I will continue to disagree with Dr. Wilson that “all you need is love.” I think intelligent, strategic, loving leadership and original thinking in the war of ideas will be necessary. Our secret weapon is the power to divide polarized ideas into truth and partial truth, which makes us indispensable to the world.
I look forward to more excellent discussion.
Thank you, John, for bringing some kind of conclusion after a week of discussion that followed your article. I am not sure if we all feel “in a war of ideas and in need of secret weapons”, but that doesn’t matter. What I really appreciate is the fact that you try to come up with some form of final statement and call for more discussions. It is also good and fair to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments. Indeed, we were interested by the topic and we invested in the discussion to keep it alive and on the right track. It is a pattern that we really need.
Thanks for sharing the great insights, John. While the unification of the human family could be an ideal situation, the acceptance of human diversity is no doubt a very necessary condition of peace and mutual harmony. Many times we see that the clash of civilisations is in reality a clash of ignorance. It’s fine to have a perspective, but it’s also necessary to respect the fact that the worldviews of others doesn’t always have to resonate with ours. It’s called human diversity; it’s inevitable and we have learn how to live with it.