By John Redmond
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.
|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.