By John Redmond
After the recent election cycle, America has become more and more polarized. This is destructive to national and social harmony and, at its worst, a prelude to national collapse.
Historically, other nations that have reached this level of conflict and verbal invective have descended into partisan bickering, self-absorption and global irrelevance. On other occasions, they have moved past the argument, re-located common ground and moved forward. The British debate over slavery was a division that healed successfully but the American Civil War left scars still felt today.
National challenges are to be expected in the growth of a nation. How that nation responds depends on whether it rises or falls. According to historian Arnold Toynbee, most civilizations thrive when they are inspired by a creative minority of their citizens, visionary, educated and engaged. They fail when this leadership group becomes defeatist or mired in conflict or despair.
This is good news for Unificationists who regard development coming through Origin-Division-Union action and see that they are themselves part of the constructive creative minority. With Toynbee’s lens, this deep polarization is a challenge that can be overcome only if the creative minority steps up and meets that challenge with constructive responses.
This breakdown in civic discourse is driven in part by the change in how Americans currently get information they think they can trust — through the Internet. In the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” computer scientists discuss how search engines never send a balanced set of results for a search request or news feed; rather, they send information based on one’s browsing profile.
Two people sitting side-by-side can type in the same search term and get completely different links to pursue based on their past browsing history and economic situation. Additionally, search engine companies get paid by how long you linger over an article or link, so it is in their best interests to send provocative articles and create an emotional tie to information to give advertisers a few more seconds to catch your eye.
It is ironic Americans are more educated than at any time in history with information literally at their fingertips and yet cannot understand how to find common ground with people who disagree with their political opinions. This is true of both right and left partisans.
It’s often been said that politics is a contact sport. However, in the Internet environment, harsh rhetoric rather than reasoned argument has dominated and mob action has “de-platformed” not just extreme or hateful points of view, but any view that disagrees with the demagogues of the crowd. Additionally, caricature, demonization and conspiracy theories have dominated the political dialogue. Many people on both the left and right are unable to articulate the sincerely held views of their political opponents, a necessary precursor to any fruitful discussion or larger agreement.
In the 1700s, debating societies emerged in London as an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. The assumption was that a free exchange of ideas would illuminate the underlying truth of a situation and allow good individual and collective decisions to be made.
A contrasting form of discussion is polemics. This is a type of argument that is one-sided, contentious and intended to overwhelm the listener with facts, force of argument or emotional appeal. It does not seek to find a common ground or underlying truth, but to destroy the credibility of the opposing point of view. Socrates was a victim of polemics when convicted of impiety by the Athenian court. He chose death and martyrdom rather than recant his politically incorrect views.
With the rise of Post-Modernism and a “post-truth” intellectual environment, American public discourse has shifted away from the search for truth through debate and toward the polemical marshaling of facts and words to win by demonizing opponents rather than by establishing a higher understanding. This is a bigger problem for our country than closed-mindedness, where a person is unwilling to listen to another position, because the information he or she receives is channeled to biases and a person may be ignorant there could be another set of viable ideas based on different assumptions.
This is not only embarrassing for intelligent and thoughtful Americans, but dangerous for the American republic. James Madison thought factions and demagogues could destroy a democracy because they could be mobilized on partial information, fear and anger and be driven to hasty and destructive actions — think of a lynch mob in Westerns. A second way democracies die is suicide by self-indulgence, voting themselves benefits and luxuries, avoiding hard choices and being very surprised when a hungry neighbor dominates them.
How do we pull back from this frenzy of middle school lunch room behavior? Reverend Moon often spoke about the need for Unificationists to define themselves not as “left wing” or “right wing” but with the awkward term “head wing” — being above the political tug of war with a larger, more nuanced view.
This is still the aspiration of most thoughtful Unificationists, but that concept has remained undeveloped. I propose a framework to define headwing common ground.
In its 1994 report, “The People the Press and Politics: The New Political Landscape,” the Pew Research Center reported two major axes around which American political factions actually coalesced. One axis is the traditional left/right economic axis of free enterprise/capitalism to the right and socialism with central economic control to the left. This report also identified groups of voters who fit on a values axis with religious and secular values on the Y axis. Values voters include Catholic and Christian voters who vote on moral issues based on religion and on the opposite end of the axis, secular voters who see religion as superstition and people as only biological organisms or consumers. They favor a fact- and science-based approach to social and personal values.
This values axis could also be called an ontology axis. People who believe in an eternal life or consciousness where free will impacts the quality of that life often support policy decisions that are significantly different than their more materialistic counterparts. The lower quadrant of the values are voters who primarily value materialistic reality and think that political policies ought to be crafted to fit the immediate needs of the physical world and the measurable, relatively short term (±100 years) benefits to individuals and society.
I created this chart of the voting population to get a more nuanced view of the electorate and see some opportunities for Unificationists to steer the national conversation in a more constructive direction. It can be argued that since Unificationists are very comfortable with science, they should be placed toward the middle of the vertical axis, but since Unificationists tend to structure their public programs with spiritual conditions first, their action priority is toward the top end of the axis.
Also, there are two similar recent surveys, from Beliefnet and Real Clear Politics, that support the idea of a complex electorate generally divided along the axes above.
I added a Venn diagram of political interests where one can find tremendous overlap among all the voting groups with a lot of common ground between them. Unificationists are firmly above the line, in that we define human life as primarily spiritual, with non-scientific values like true love and filial piety having priority. We stipulate the existence of an a priori First Cause that has embedded a set of values in human consciousness that must be considered in politics and social behavior. Secular believers think humans are primarily biological and material and therefore vote for social policy that is practical and efficient, and short-term rather than idealistic and multi-generational.
On the right/left scale, many religious people are divided between the religious values of compassion and responsibility. Believers who feel compassion is a primary value tend to vote Democratic and those who feel free will and personal responsibility are important vote Republican. Unificationists tend to see this political tension as a reflection of masculine and feminine characteristics.
In a family, the father often pushes for excellence and effort, while mothers are seen as more supportive and understanding. All children and citizens need both aspects of that support and so it is reasonable that those values be reflected in the political debate nationally.
On the left/right scale for secular believers, there is tension between capitalists who believe in free will and choice and end up on the right side of the scale, and Reductive Materialists on the left, who reduce all human behavior to the physical and psychological and think society ought to be managed by scientists the way a park ranger manages a deer herd.
The American Unificationist responsibility is to clarify, identify and promote the truths that will overcome the divisions based on Unification Thought and to reunite America centered on God’s will. This will involve developing social policy that is compassionate and balancing those policies with others that require citizens to progress toward responsible, constructive, spiritually fulfilled lives.
What then should be our strategy to heal this rift and inspire America back to its divinely-ordained responsibility to lead the world towards Chun Il Guk?
Balancing ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’
One way to relax the tension in political discourse is to loosen the purse strings. Globally, the 1990s were a brilliant vindication of capitalism, and governments worldwide now have plenty of money to invest in the poorest of their citizens.
Below is a graph of the relative costs of food, clothing and shelter over the last 100 years:
Share of family spending per category over the 20th century (Source: The Atlantic, April 5, 2012)
Education, housing and entertainment have risen in absolute terms, but the real cost of the fundamentals have decreased over time. Since 2003, we have experienced a revolution in robotics and genetic engineering, both of which will lower the cost of food, clothing and shelter globally to nominal percentages of every citizen’s budget. Hans Rosling, a doctor and statistician, outlined the tremendous worldwide growth in prosperity over the last 40 years.
From a Unification point of view, the ancient goal of a prosperous world free of hunger and disease has never been more achievable. In an ideal world of material plenty, filled with conscientious people, every citizen would have security, food, clothing, healthcare, and education given to them as a child of God. Their portion of responsibility would be to multiply the blessings they have been given to increase a world of truth, beauty and love. In practice, many individuals and cultures are at the formation or growth stage, and use their blessings to exploit and abuse their fellow humans and themselves.
This newly-created global wealth is a great opportunity for Unificationists to lead the discussion on how that wealth should be applied to a society that leads toward a spiritually healthy outcome. This will create an opening for constructive discussions on education, healthcare and housing.
The place where we can separate toxic political discussions into right and wrong is on the vertical axis. Government policies that treat people as less than human and discard their free will, divine character and moral obligations should be opposed. This is true whether the initiative is from a large corporation that wants to limit consumer rights, or a political organization that wants to limit free speech or religion.
Historically, selfishness exhibited by warlords, knights or kings created societies full of petty wars and conflict causing untold misery. As societies have evolved, National Socialism, which defines human value by race, and Communism, which defines human value by economic class historically have caused the most suffering. Modern democracies assume that people will act responsibly if given the freedom.
Today, the danger comes from Reductive Materialists. In their understanding of life, they try to reduce every understanding to a scientific one and minimize spiritual experience and intuition. This is certainly understandable since the last 400 years have seen incredible scientific and intellectual progress. Modern science, when experienced by primitive cultures, is as impactful as the miracles of the Old Testament.
On the other hand, religious understanding and activity is often mired in confusing theology, poorly translated texts and historical practice that no longer applies to modern humanity. It is no wonder humans have more faith in the hypothesis about life and value put forward by scientists instead of theologians.
With Unificationists’ ability to appreciate both science and religion, we are uniquely positioned to temper cold science-based social policy with the spirit of family. Sometimes it is better to let a person fail at something even though it is more efficient to force them to comply with a government direction. The balance of freedom and responsibility is the essence of the human experience and should not be negated by government regulation, no matter how well-intentioned.
Unificationist efforts to persuade Americans to take up their God-given providential responsibility should center around this understanding. It is not useful to label most Democrats as communists or most Republicans as fascists. A much more nuanced set of understandings needs to emerge as we advance in the 21st century.
In order to move the conversation forward, it is important for Unificationists to make a common base with the constructive elements of both left and right wing thinkers. The compassion Democrats and the responsibility Republicans are seeking the same goal, self-actualized moral citizens. The consumer Republicans and the race-based Democrats are seeking to define humans by their current weaknesses and keep them there.
What are some pragmatic steps Unificationists can take to move the national dialog to a place more favorable to Parentism?
Separate the compassion Democrats from the Reductive Materialists
- End the marriage penalty in welfare and social support programs. While most programs no longer prevent married people from receiving benefits, social policy should be reversed to favor married couples who are responsible citizens. This will encourage couples to work through their differences and protect children from the well-documented tragedy of single parent families.
- Focus on Dr. King’s message of the “content of their character” rather than the “color of their skin.” Most people instinctively see this as a noble goal and it will separate us from those who see “race guilt” as an unchangeable birth defect. Support Rev. Moon’s goal of cultural and racial intermarriage as the most hopeful social policy.
- Argue for the balance between appropriate levels of free will and responsibility and compassion and support. As in a family, irresponsible family members should be challenged and struggling members supported, both emotionally and financially. The same is true for public and government programs.
Keep the capitalists off the moral high ground but listen to them
- While capitalists at least respect free will, they occasionally forget to be compassionate and treat their customers and employees with respect. Amazon’s warehouse workers are a good example of techno-slaves who can be dehumanized in the pursuit of profit.
- Pay as you go. It is tempting to “run up the credit card” to be nice to people. This can cripple an individual or family and definitely destroy a nation. Venezuela used to be the richest country in South America and now is a socialist hell where kidnapping for ransom is a growth industry.
- Business is good at recognizing merit. People who are successful at business are useful allies in spiritual matters because they can provide practical and effective ways to communicate and manage the actual work of “selling” the Unificationist ideal.
It is critical we participate in the battle for constructive political dialogue, policy and investment. We need to do it in a way that is informed by the higher perspective of Unification Thought, unencumbered by the biases of history and popular culture. It will not be enough to set spiritual conditions and wait for a miracle. Serious Unificationists need to use the science, economics, business, communications, and politics available to them to shape the world the way we want it to be.♦
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.
Excellent analysis and constructive suggestions for our nation to heal and our Unification movement to become cutting edge and relevant.
Thanks very much for your thoughtful piece, John. This is much needed right now — for our movement and our nation. Let’s come together around the higher principles that are alluded to in the concepts of Headwing and Godism. Not easy — we have to articulate some ideas first. You have taken an important first step.
Thanks, John, for your well-researched and thoughtful perspective on the dysfunctional divide we and our nation face.
My question is how do we find common ground with those bent on deconstructing the very spiritual and moral beliefs that we hold as Unificationists? I want to be compassionate but defunding the police, redefining American history, dissolving the language of the two parent family, etc., are issues where middle ground is hard to find.
I think we argue aggressively on elements along the vertical axis and less so along the horizontal one. We need to carefully define the terms of the argument so we are not defending greed, but are arguing for a long-term point of view.
Thank you, John — excellent article.
Your call for a headwing approach to discussing our national and world issues cannot have come at a more important time, not only for America at large but also for our own Unificationist community in particular. Constructive dialogue, with the assumption of goodwill by the parties involved, can lead to improved understanding of each other’s positions and serve as the basis for crafting together comprehensive solutions. The hollering and screaming at each other from the polar fringes accomplishes nothing except hurt, anger, and resentment — and the desire to retaliate and crush the other side. Where is “love thy enemy” (let alone “love thy neighbor”) in that scenario? Let us work together to craft working solutions to create One Family Under God.
John Redmond’s essay is the best I’ve ever read so far on the topic of headwing, in my opinion. It is written with a genuine concern for objectivity, moderation. The article comes from inspiration, but was was written very carefully, and the author had an evident concern to do some research, so that the inspiration is confirmed by the objective reality. I am aware that some readers will not appreciate this objectivity, especially if they have strong political opinions. For some Unificationists, the very notion of a center, of a need for balance, has become irritating. They want to put you in a category.
Though the essay addresses very burning issues, especially for the USA, it is written with a broad and general concern, which applies not only to the USA, but to many political situtations of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This is because the author is using the right tone. His arguments are often very convincing. He is able to balance a theoretical model with facts, statistics, case studies. I consider this piece as a model of a good essay.
I just have a question regarding the Dad/Mom paradigm. I have sometimes heard this view, and though it is an interesting model, I wonder how much it is confirmed by facts. Can we really say, for instance, that men in general tend to be more conservative, and women more “left”-leaning? I am not sure. It seems that, as far as gun control is concerned, women are more in favor of gun control than men according to polls, but I have also read rather the opposite. Regarding the acceptance of the death penalty for some crimes, is there a clear divide? I wish the author could elaborate a bit more on this, if he feels inclined to do so, and provided other readers of the blog are interested in this topic.
Your view regarding find “the center” reminded me of two books I came across prior to the 2016 election in the USA: Alan Abramowitz’s book, The Disappearing Center and Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler’s co-authored book, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics. Both books seemed well-researched and indicated that the partisan political divide that simmers in the political arena reflects a more significant division, one that goes beyond the common contention that only political elites and their acolytes are caught up the fray.
Hetherington and Weiler offer an insightful perspective that a significant underlying factor in the battle for the hearts and minds of the populace is the degree of “structured authoritarianism” that we want in our lives. Questions about “who controls who and what,” and under what ideological rubric are never far from the surface when social, political and cultural debates occur. The framers of the American Constitution sought to put limits on the power of government, but over time those limits have been eroded (or ignored) and herein lies the basis for many of the contentious debates about control and authority.
Hetherington and Weiler assert that this cultural and ideological dichotomy “is not between two groups with the same psychological disposition who merely disagree,” but are “animated by fundamentally different dispositions” and “dramatically different world views.” Abramowitz, Hertherington and Weiler all contend that those worldviews are increasingly connected to the issue of morality and as a result, the issue of religious-based values becomes important and vexatious.
Though the concept of headwing needs to be examined more deeply as you suggest, I believe it is safe to say that rather than a left-right assessment we should examine headwing from a higher-lower perspective with regard to the values and virtues that comport with Godism. We promote the idea of “universally shared values,” but what are those values and is there a universal acceptance of such? If the truth is what will set us free, then getting to the essence of truth regarding morality, ethics and values is an important step in the process.
Excellent points, David. I am reminded of the CAUSA phrase, used in all American Leadership Conferences, “It’s a God or No God proposition.” Indeed – this just about sums it all up. So “Godism” would be the best way. In marketing Mother Of Peace, True Mother’s memoir, we worked with a professional copywriter. One of the first things was to clarify the “target customer.” We went as broad as we could: “A God-believing, conscientious person.” Or, “A conscientious God-believing Person.”
If we can bring together that group, we might have a chance to change the world, and/or America.
I think your comment on universally shared values is a good point. I think that is why True Father had the World Scriptures book developed. However, that tome is very thick and would take a lot to go through, but I think almost every religion would agree with the last five commandments.
Laurent, David and Henry,
I think the vertical axis, the values one, is where we want to engage the argument and I appreciate you all enlarging that understanding. Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ is seen by some as a guide to what culture warriors are targeting, seeking to amplify contradictions at every level in society. To counteract that targeted influence, I think we need to find common cause with compassionate spiritual liberals.
Common issues we can share are overcoming poverty, supporting individual responsibility, and marriage and family. There is also room to support environmental improvement by highlighting creative, technical solutions rather than government intervention.
One thing the left does well is identify system failures and then jump to government-imposed solutions. I think we can move the discussion if we acknowledge the problem, but champion the solutions that involve free will, creativity, and individual and family responsibility.
Again, I am grateful to John Redmond for the good debate. When seeking models of what headwing could be, we may look at Germany.
During the past 40 years, many democratic nations have gone through major turbulence. Germany is steady and navigates through turbulence with remarkable stability. It has experienced only 3 leaders, the three of them remarkably talented. Helmut Kohl (CDU) stayed 16 years in power (1982-98). The succesfull father of a reunified Germany, he was also a major architect of the new Europe. He was succeeded by the SPD Gerhard Schröder (1999-2004). His management to reform the German economy is often seen as a model. Then came Angela Merkel (CDU). She will have stayed 16 years in power (2005-21). Can you imagine? This absolutely non-charismatic lady has been considered the most powerful woman in the world for a decade.
The German political system allows for political coalitions. There are extremists in this country, and they can be vociferous. But the helm is always at the center, and German leadership is one of the most efficient among mature democracies.
According to the Democracy Index (an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a UK-based company), Norway is the most fully democratic nation in the world, with an index of 9.87, followed by Iceland and Sweden, two other Scandinavian nations. Germany occupies the 13th position, with an index of 8.68. Among the nations of the G7, only Canada has a better ranking (7th position, 9.28), whereas UK is 14th, France 20th, Japan 24th, USA 25th, and Italy 35th.
Needless to say, the high level of democracy often entails a low level of corruption. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published annually by Berlin-based Transparency International, Germany ranked 9th in 2019, followed by UK and Canada (12th), Japan (20), France and the USA (23rd) and Italy (51). Headwing needs this kind of environment.
These high rankings may explain much of German political constancy. Among the major democratic nations, this country of 80 million people shows its capacity to follow the rule of law, with a high level of citizen participation, transparency, respect of institutions. It is all the more remarkable that, among the G7, Germany is probably the country which had to face the most tragic destiny in the 20th century.
The G7 nations have been leading the Free World and have advanced democracy since 1975. Thirty years after the end of World War II, the 7 strongest economic powers decided to create a very unlikely alliance, bringing together the allied forces of World War II with a democratic foundation (USA, UK, France, Canada) and the 3 former axis powers: Japan, Germany, and Italy. Among these 7 nations, Canada is by far the nation with the least tragic fate. It has always kept a strong culture of peace.
The six other nations are all marked by national tragedies and a painful process of atoning for various forms of evil. And among the six nations, Germany probably had the most tormented fate in the 20th century. This brilliant nation of philosophers, scientists, artists, theologians entered the 20th century with the disaster of World War I.
Immediately after World War II, Germany was divided into West and East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany was organized around a federal system and a parliamentary regime. The small city of Bonn became the capital of this new nation, in preference to much bigger cities. Now, Berlin is again the political capital, but the cultural and industrial centers are found throughout Germany.
This effort toward decentralization and a sharp separation of powers did not prevent Germany from having very strong chancellors (Bundeskanzler). The chancellor serves as a prime minister and is strictly controlled by the parliament, but the system has allowed for highly qualified and often charismatic leaders to emerge. Almost every chancellor in Germany was able to implement fundamental reforms. In reality, the political miracle of contemporary Germany is the central place of the chancellor.
In a nation which had been ruled by a dictator, it was a real challenge to have a leader who can be strictly controled, and yet very powerful. Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor, even talked about a Kanzlerdemokratie. (democracy of the chancellor). Whereas the federal president only has symbolic powers, the chancellor is the architect of national politics. Among the major nations of Europe, Germany stands out for its succession of remarkable chancellors from the two main political parties: the CDU (Christian Democrats, center right) and the SPD (center left). Many people would envy such a mixture of stability and strong leadership. But can we ever imitate the German culture? Every country has to find its unique way to headwing.
And this is only the political context for a headwing policy in Germany. So much could be said about the qualities of the German economic system: soziale Marktwirtschaft, often translated social market economy (SOME), also called ordoliberalism. That is another story.
I like some of the ideas and proposals you’ve articulated here, John. However, I wonder if maybe you are engaged in some wishful thinking (wanting something to be the way you wish it to be, thus filtering out necessary information, because you want to believe something is true).
For example, you seem to imply the existence of an organized like-minded group of American Unificationists on call to mix it up and transform American culture: “With Unificationists’ ability to appreciate both science and religion, we are uniquely positioned to temper cold science-based social policy with the spirit of the family,” and; “It is critical we participate in the battle for constructive political dialogue, policy and investment.” I certainly want to see social policy imbued with the “spirit of the family,” and I’d like to see more constructive political dialogue, for sure (I have made some efforts in this area).
Perhaps there exist self-motivated Unificationists giving it their best shot, in their local area. Good. If this is what you are encouraging, great. To think the “American movement” — over the last fifteen to twenty years- – has been intentionally focused and active to achieve such aims, well, I think this might be more along the lines of wishful thinking, by not taking into account the existing constraints making such an effort unable to materialize anytime soon.
What do you think about my narrative here…?
Good points, Jack.
Three years ago, I posted an article on this blog on “Toward a Headwing Idea for America.” It got the most comments, I think, for any post to that date. Not so much my brilliant writing, but the topic touched a real nerve with first generation elder Unificationists. My conclusion was: Can we get UTS, or some of our Unificationist scholars and professors, to begin working on this? Crickets.
We all talk about it (“headwing” and “Godism”), but the movement itself seems to have gone very much toward a more Pentecostal, spiritual sort of culture these days, Which is fine — the movement was much like that in the early days. But it is not oriented toward addressing this particular need.
Is it possible for something to bubble up from the grassroots? Call me cynical (many do!) but I haven’t seen the vision for that yet.
As you know, “all politics is local,” and in this respect that may hold true for our attempts to implement headwing in a meaningful way. As tribal messiahs, we work with those who are in our immediate sphere, but our spheres can expand by using technology and social media with greater effectiveness.
The Rallies of Hope produced in Korea can now reach a global audience. I just completed a recording project with three artists in three different locations — Korea, Utah and Los Angeles. If we can produce results in our education attempts to promote headwing and Godism via the various platforms within our grasp then perhaps church leadership will take greater notice. Attempts at finding consensus (or finding a “center”) require outreach to identify those who may already be working in ways that are not so extremist or highly polarizing.
Thank you for your informative and well-reasoned article. I really like what you say and agree with almost all of it. My major criticism is I think your evaluation of Unificationism is not on target.
In your Venn diagram, you place Unificationism at the center on the horizontal axis. This flies in the face of my experience. Most Unificationists today, at least first generation, who still comprise the core of the church, seem to be firmly on the right. In November’s election, the overwhelming majority of Unificationists who I know supported the incumbent President.
Further, I would say that within Unificationism the term “headwing” has been largely redefined over the years from its original intent. Rather than standing between, and accepting the best of both left and right, headwing has, for the most part, become associated with right wing, and the left wing is seen as Cain who needs to subjugated by Abel (the right wing).
If Unificationism is indeed to lead America back to the center, it must first come back to the center itself and regain a balanced sense of headwing.
I agree with David Burton’s statements. It seems difficult for most American Unificationists (or Unificationist Americans) to embrace a genuinely headwing attitude. And John Redmond is, for me, one of the few exceptions.
We cannot blame anyone for this.
In the daily life of civil society, average Americans and Unificationist Americans, are certainly closer to headwing, culturally, and ethically, than most Western people. There is a generosity, an altruism in the USA, a good will, of a truly open society which we seldom find elsewhere. This is the headwing of civil society, stemming from the “habits of the heart.” Everybody who knows America cannot but be moved by the kindness of the people (contrary to the cliché of the Ugly American).
Can Americans be interested in other political systems? A few days ago on this site, I praised Germany for its remarkable institutions. Anyone viisiting Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries or the Baltic nations, will surely find an atmosphere that is really headwing.
I know that, for most Americans, Denmark would look like the devil itself, because its taxes are very high. Seen from Kentucky, Denmark may appear totally red and Bolshevik (I am joking).
Yet Denmark is exactly as wealthy and prosperous as America (Denmark GDP per capita = $63,829, USA =$63,051. But It is remarkably free, nonviolent and stable.
Norway is an extremely rich nation (European “petro-monarchy”), with a long-term vision for its post-oil future. It is also a generous country with programs of cooperation with the third world. It is true that these nations don’t look glamorous. Decency is their cardinal virtue.
Nothing really spectacular ever happens there, nothing extraordinary. Governance is truly of the people, by the people and for the people, with a high degree of transparency, merciless attitudes toward corruption and strict accountability.
Of course, the rule of law is very strict in the USA as well, but these small nations have achieved this much more naturally, with very few people in prison, and the death penalty is simply unthinkable. Finland is more and more studied for its remarkable achievements in education. But who cares in the USA?
So, when we discuss headwing, we should think out of the American box. From the viewpoint of headwing, the USA is only one among many other nations, and its ranking is not really the best though it is extremely honorable and even admirable in so many ways.
And the USA, it is clear, has received from God a “manifest destiny”, which entails huge responsbilities in a dangerous world. Having said this, many people wish that Americans can keep their noble values without indulging in a culture of violence. In many Hollywood blockbusters, the number of killings is rarely under 100 (of course, there are also very cheesy romcoms if you don’t like violence). In comparison, after 10 deaths, a European movie would really look like a terror movie with no credibility. A culure with less violence would not make America less prestigious. And headwing starts with that, or it never really starts.
I very much appreciate the effort, research and heart John Redmond invested in this paper. I also agree with Laurent Ladouce that this is an exceptional work with regards to formulating a Headwing Thought and its application in real human life, starting from the individual and reaching the entire world.
In my view, it is long overdue that our movement gathers the brightest and most capable minds from all corners within the movement and have them formulate a blueprint for the future ideal world, which then can be presented to world leaders as our movement’s offering to humanity.
The Unification movement should encourage genuine headwing studies, by defining what it is and then producing field research about the topic.
Headwing is too often discussed in purely emotional terms, far from a sincere desire to understand what we are talking about. Headwing could become a thrilling discipline for second and third generations if we were really serious about it. I encourage John Redmond to keep studying it and, why not, create a research team about headwing. It is about time we really publish essays about Godism and headwing which enter the mainstream. John has exposed the methodology, let us work now and produce. Headwingers of the world, please rise. Your time has come!
David Burton referenced the “left-right” political paradigm and the need to get beyond that dichotomy and find what is beneficial from both sides of the political spheres. This perspective highlights politics, and though headwing can apply to politics, it also applies to how we conduct commerce, education, journalism, science, artistic endeavors, etc.
In my previous comment I mentioned the debate over the degree of “structured authoritarianism” that we want in our lives. Political scientists like Thomas Sowell, Max Neiman and Bill Flax make the point that all forms of authoritarian modes of governing (or increased state control) are to the left and modes promote more libertarian perspectives are on the right. When individual freedoms are curtailed to significant degrees personal choice (freedom) is hindered. Edmund Burke and James Madison understood that citizens needed to be protected from government overreach and that is a key issue in the pursuit of headwing solutions, for without freedom being protected we run the risk of not being able to fulfill our 5% in accordance with godly principles.
True Father said that headwing can guide us to Godism. We should, then, examine the principles, values and virtues that comport with Godism and apply them to all realms of human endeavor. That requires the freedom to choose the best course for arriving at God-centered solutions, starting with the most fundamental issue — God-centered families. It’s interesting to note that just prior to Father’s words on headwing philosophy in Cheon Syeong Gyeong (pp. 1060-72) there are about 20 pages in which he instructs us on the importance of the Three Blessings, which is central to attaining headwing solutions.
Thank you, David Eaton, for your interesting insight. However, something in me is very cautious with the assertion that “all forms of authoritarian modes of governing (or increased state control) are to the left and modes which promote more libertarian perspectives are on the right.”
Let me discuss Augustine (354-430 AD) versus Pelagius (c. 354–418 AD).
Various explanations have been given regarding the origins of the right and the left. An interesting one says that the right wing, conservative thought, is leaning more toward Augustianism, whereas the left wing would be the heir of Pelagianism, from Pelagius, a monk famous for his ascetic practices and staunch belief in free will.
In light ot the Divine Principle, both views contain some good points and have their limitations as well. Augustine thought that the human fall and original sin have so much perverted our original human nature that nothing remains of the original goodness of man before the fall. We totally depend on God’s grace to be redeemed. The Principle would not agree 100%. There are many conservatives who are, consciously or unconsciously, on Augustine’s side, and I don’t think that they are very optimistic about human freedom.
Pelagianism holds that human beings can achieve much progress through their own powers, and without necessarily needing the grace and illumination of God. In the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas was working on a synthesis between revelation and reason, between Hebraism and Hellensm. His thought could have guided medieval society, but the foundation for the Messiah was not established: the Italian popes and the German emperors failed to unite. Hence, a separation between good and evil was needed, and this gave rise to the Reformation and the Renaissance. An excerpt of the Divine Principle, says the following, regarding the Renaissance, and seems to support Pelagius:
“According to the Principle of Creation, we are created to attain perfection by fulfilling our given responsibility of our own free will, without God’s direct assistance. We are then to attain oneness with God and acquire true autonomy. Therefore, it is the calling of our original nature to pursue freedom and autonomy. A person of perfect character understands the Will of God and puts it into practice through his own insight and reason, without the need to rely on revelations from God. Hence, it is only natural that we pursue reason and understanding. We also are endowed with the God-given right to master the natural world, to tame and cultivate it in order to create a pleasant living environment, by investigating the hidden laws of nature through science. Hence, we value the natural world, pursue science, and esteem the practical life.”
In this particular excerpt, the Principle exalts all the elements of Pelagianism which are perfectly acceptable, and where human responsibility is emphasized. The problem of Pelagius, however, was to minimize how serious the fall was.
There are many instances where we would rather blame the left for its blind belief that human efforts and initiatives alone will solve everything. That’s why the left is called “liberal” in America, whereas in the French language, libéralisme means exactly the opposite, close to center right, and free market economy. Even our languages don’t agree. How much work is needed!
The “liberal” aspect of the left turns Pelagianism into a Promethean ideology. Please also consider this amazing paradox. Much of modern capitalism is rooted in the Calvinist work ethics. We may therefore believe that Calvinism is a doctrine promoting initiative, human freedom and initiative. And maybe it does, practically, but not theologically. Calvin was adamant about absolute predestination, and really believed that our destiny is already decided by God, even before we are born. I don’t know of any left-leaning movement of Calvinist origin, but I see quite many on the right and far right who would agree with Calvin’s absolute predestination.
Calvin was a forerunner for the Messiah through Puritanism and Presbyterianism, and True Mother has recently praised him a lot and as a French person, I often pray for him, born in the north of France (I visited his house twice and tried to understand his character and role). Calvin was a good man but not everything in some branches of Calvinism is acceptable. In South Africa, apartheid was the direct child of Calvinist theology and Nelson Mandela was able to dismantle all of this, with the help of Frederick de Klerk, who recently spoke at one of our Rallies of Hope. In the CAUSA manual, we clearly suggested that Social Darwinism (laissez-faire capitalism) had common points with Calvinism. The history of ideologies is such that you often find strange bedfellows. Our inquiry into headwing thought will therefore have to be nuanced and balanced all the way through.
By the way, was Napoleon a man of the right or a man of the left? As France is about to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death (May 5, 1821), historians are divided. Young Bonaparte was definitely the son of the Enlightenment, the son of the French Revolution, a good disciple of Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, the Encyclopedia, with a strong belief in progress and science. Being agnostic, he believed that he had a destiny in his own hands, not dictated by any God. He was the radical Prometheus of modern times.
This aspect of Napoleon was praised by Beethoven who saw in him the great emancipator and the man who would bring liberty and Republican regimes all over Europe. Even Kant was interested in him. We have to add that Bonaparte was crazy with the Roman Republic, he had nostalgia of these good old times. But the same man became Caesar.
After Bonaparte proclaimed himself Napoleon the first, Emperor of France, he was reborn into a despot and restored a very patriarchal order. This aspect of Napoleon is very appreciated by some conservatives. What was Napoleon? A man of law and order, the man of the Civil Code, of high administration, with a strong police, high security forces, and religion is back in France.
He appeared spiritually once to a French member and confessed that he had been seeking justice and righteousness, but not knowing God, he had gone the wrong way. It could partially be true. I am sure he would like to be taught what headwing is, but if we can’t explain it to him, he will continue to wander like a ghost in the spirit world.
Though Beethoven initially dedicated his third symphony to Napoleon, he angrily retracted the dedication when Bonaparte declared himself “Emperor.” Beethoven was an advocate of liberty and was supportive of the French Revolution’s emphasis on the liberation of the common man and was deeply dismayed by Napoleon’s authoritarian inclinations.
With regard to the left-right paradigm, Israeli biblical scholar Yoram Hazony makes the point that both conservatives and traditional liberals now find themselves being targeted by the far left if they don’t comport with postmodern/progressive orthodoxy. Long time, old school liberal art historian Camille Paglia has been severely chided by the far left for her view that art should not be assessed by some a priori abstractions based on politically correct multicultural conceits.
Thank you, John, for your remarkable effort to decipher the puzzling “headwing” riddle.
Our polarized and confused world is sadly plagued with fake news and nonsensical perspectives. Simplistic unprovable theories are not only unscientific but easily lead to modern day obscurantism. And the most surprising is that they do mobilize some bright intelligent brains to keep defending and promoting these theories through an impressive denial of reality.
Can we then today bring a promising ray of hope? Yes, as much as we clarify ambiguous misleading concepts and share a realistic practicable alternative. And your essay does contribute to it.
The unfinished Unification task is huge and we’ll need help from above to propose a crystal clear spiritual perspective whose feasibility is manifest through substantial desirable fruits.
What shall we start with? What is our most unsubstantiated Unificationist concept? Is it the Messiah? The Ideal True family? Cheong Il Guk? Divine Principle? Unification Thought or headwing?
Our faith can indeed move mountains. But it should not just provide us with rocks to unlimitedly build castles in the air. One can notice that no religious or political ideology — including Unificationism — detains the monopoly of empty slogans and wishful thinking.
I am grateful that “Applied Unificationism” can be an inspired channel “to speak plainly about our Father’s ways” — as centuries ago another John prophesied in the Bible — and most of all become an efficient realistic guide toward healing our world.
The issue of language prevents headwing studies from developing. One founding text of headwing thought is Dr. Lee’s “Principle of Mutual Existence, Mutual Prosperity and Mutual Righteousness” (Essentials of Unification Thought, 2006, pp. 507-24). There are issues of language here:
1. The Korean terms
Kong Saeng (공생, 共生), Kong Yang (공영, 共榮) Kong-Ui (공의, 公義) all use the same prefix kong, best conveyed in Western languages by the prefix co (from cum in Latin, whereas Greek says Syn). The idea conveyed is togetherness, or mutualism as Dr. Lee’s team chose to translate it. In Korean and Japanese, it sounds good. Three times two syllables, kong repeated three times, easy to remember.
Roughly translated, this means:
– Co-existence, related to economics (property, management of assets)
– Co-governance, related to politics (elections, separation of powers, governance)
– Co-vision (beliefs, visions, values)
We share the same planet, the same humanity, the same Heaven. The earth is the common property of humankind, humanity belongs to all, all isms lead to the same God.
Being familiar with Eastern culture may help to grasp these notions. They are certainly connected to the three levels of Eastern cosmology, i.e., the earth (Saeng), humankind (Yang), Heaven (Ui) They are unfamiliar to the Western mind, even if some obscure Western thinkers, following Raimon Panikkar, have proposed a cosmotheandry …)
2. The DP translation and its problems
Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996) presents the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universally shared values (pp. 342-44). This translation ignores the common prefix and mistranslates 6 syllables into 20 syllables. Needless to say, it takes days to remember them.
If you ask people what interdependence means, how many do you think will answer, “it looks like economic theory”?
If you then ask, what does “mutual prosperity” mean, and they answer, “it is about economy”, how will you explain, “no … well, it’s about politics.”
Why was Kong yang translated as “prosperity”, why is it a problem? No matter how you explain it, prosperity is connected to wealth, abundance, mutliplying resources. It cannot apply to politics. Politics is the search of the common good, no, the quest for goods in common.
I have tried many times to explain that this terminology is confusing. I was assured that it is perfectly clear, that everybody undertstands, and that our ambassadors for peace really love it. Implicit here is the idea that we don’t need to explain what it means. We just have to chant it, like a mantra. But mantras don’t make a thought.
I discovered that, according to the place or the occasion, interdependence is sometimes presented as our economic doctrine, sometimes as our political doctrine. And Mutual Prosperity the same. It is then a serious case of mistranslation. People talk about something and understand exactly the opposite of what Dr. Lee conveyed.
This is just about Kong saeng, kong yang, kong-ui. To make headwing attractive, we will need to work on similar issues of language. This will help.
You make excellent points about the challenges we need to work out in the language and terminology we use. If we are to ever flesh out “headwing”, these issues need to be adequately addressed. Thanks for elucidating many important issues.
Thank you David Rosenblum.
I just need to clarify something. I wrote, “They are certainly connected to the three levels of Eastern cosmology, i.e., the earth (Saeng), humankind (Yang), Heaven (Ui).”
I was too quick. I should have been more clear: saeng means life, for all creatures of the earth, the yang here conveys the idea of a common good, and concerns mankind. Ui simply means ism, or “vision” and can be connected to Heaven. I sincerely apologize to our readers. My explanation was confusing.
Another point needs to be addressed, and we would need clarification from our specialists of East Asian studies. The yang here (共栄) is using exactly the same Chinese characters that the Japanese were using to justify the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (Japanese: 大東亜共栄圏). This 共栄 was used by Japanese imperialism to “liberate” and exploit Asian people.
Implicit in the DP terminology is probably the idea that this is the law of the false preceding the true. But personally, I feel that it was not a good choice at all. Politically, 共栄 served as a Japanese bait to attract and flatter some Asian political leaders that they would be associated with the prestigious Japan to build a thriving Asia together, free from Western colonialism. But economically, it simply meant the same Lebensraum (living space) that Hitler was trying to implement in Eastern Europe and mare nostrum that Mussolini tried to implement across the Mediterranean. 共栄, Lebensraum and mare nostrum were three evil imitations of the Third Blessing.
It is good to say that Satan tries to imitate the Three Blessings through the Axis Powers and then through Communism. But then, we should use a completely different terminology. I believe that if we are really sincere and really trying to develop a headwing thought, it will require a lot of work and patience, but it is worth trying.
Thank you, Laurent, for explaining these Korean words which seem almost as ambiguous and difficult to grasp as the English term “headwing” (which sounds like a mysterious coded label) is difficult for me to understand.
Co-prosperity, co-governance and co-vision represent quite an appealing and desirable program for humankind. I guess a vast number of organizations, economists, politicians and religious leaders are already working on it with great enthusiasm, and diligently aim at progressively making this dream become a reality.
My plain ignorance of the topic and my naïveté lead me to ask the following politically incorrect and worrisome questions:
– Does co-prosperity refer to an economic system in which businesses pay their share of taxes without resorting to hide benefits in tax havens, where workers are fairly paid and where all generated benefits are possibly shared between all the employees? Has Unificationism ever set up such a business upholding strict financial transparency and genuine care for its workers which could be a model to be followed?
– Does co-governance refer to an exemplary democracy where real separation of powers exists and people govern through their trusted representatives whom they can freely elect, hold accountable and possibly remove? How then can the Unificationist Movement with its specific history of unshared governance based on absolute theocratic monarchy genuinely plead for such highly desirable cause?
– Does co-vision refer to a crystal clear universal and workable vision, the greatest ever and long awaited unanimously satisfying constitution which could lovingly gather all the infighting human family? Here again, how can today the intellectually, emotionally and economically divided Unificationist movement successfully promote such an all-encompassing vision which obviously either seems to not really exist yet or is blatantly unapplied and/or unconvincing within its own ranks?
In my book, the “headwing” problem does not reside in Korean words but in the disturbing absence of clear-cut example-setting. To me, it looks more a matter of consistency than a matter of translation.
But I’ll definitely keep doing my very best with God’s help, longing in my heart for the day when all humans will at last be able to joyfully acknowledge that “the Word has become flesh”!
Hi, Jean-Jacques, who gave me my first Divine Principle lecture. Thank you. You are right, the central problem is consistency. The first laboratory of Godism and headwing should be our Unification movement.
Tribal Messiahship is a gateway to implement the original Unificationist management. Critical to the success of Tribal Messiahship is the creation of small groups (trinities), then home-groups (at least 12 families). I could experience that Heavenly Parent is much more present, and the feeling of a Holy Community of Heavenly Parent much more real, than when we work with big, often anonymous congregations, where central figures are just leaders, but not really caring parents.
Being concerned by local governance, I have specialized in city diplomacy, and with friends, we have been able to promote a few international cities of peace. Recently, we made the website of Dangbo, in Benin. This country has 77 cities (commmunes), and only 2 had a website until now. We made their website and our work with the mayor is a real partnership. We have to respond to their needs. We learn a lot. At the same time, they could immediately recognize that our impact on our couples is a great lesson of grassroots mobilization
I believe that Godism and headwing start in the city, before they start in the nation. Many American cities are practicing headwing much more easily than DC can ever dream for all the USA. Likewise, in France, some cities are very well-managed, sometimes by a coalition of good will.
Having said this, I also believe that our movement must have a clear message to large organizations. And here, we need to be very precise in language. We may criticize the UN a lot, but the United Nations has an excellent record of defining terms and issues. Of course, about 10% of their terminology is rubbish, and there are some issues that they ignore (especially the family). But we too easily say the UN is just the Cain UN. We should never underestimate the expertise of Cain. For the moment, the Cain UN is waiting for the Abel UN to get ready and make real proposals, clearly articulated, with a clear action plan. This is why I believe that John Redmond’s essay is so good, and I urge him to be back in the discussion, after one week. John, can you give us some homework to folllow-up your essay?
Thank you, Laurent, for sharing your experiences and the lessons you are drawing from it. I appreciate you try to describe an inspiring larger picture.
Yet it raises legitimate questions for those who look for consistency.
Isn’t it slightly problematic and rather disconcerting that those who seem to succeed “in implementing the original Unificationist management” are those who didn’t try to follow all the UM official directives but responsibly decided to settle down and invest themselves locally allowing themselves to not give a damn about some other “Greater Providential imperatives”? Is it a sign that at the dawn of the Cosmic Spring humankind can finally enjoy spiritual cherry picking and simply prosper through lovingly following their conscience?
Isn’t it also both rather disconcerting and at the same time genuinely hopeful that the example-setting in matters of governance appears to come from people who never knew, acknowledged or referred to the UM rhetoric to efficiently demonstrate a better way? Could this be the positive consequence of Satan’s total surrender 22 years ago, in May 1999? And from that time on, the indisputable consequential disappearance of the then obsolete ancient providential Cain/Abel cleavage?
I realize now I am much more blessed than I ever imagined…
Everyday day that God makes, we can’t but be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities we are now given to let our light shine and make this world a better place.
Thank you all for the great discussion.
To David Burton’s question, I think that dialogue like this one is where we can develop and enlarge the Divine Principle footprint in society. The Movement does not have enough money or time to develop all the threads of a thorough academic, social and political expression of the Unification mission. As people reach retirement age, they are free to work together to do the research and discussion necessary.
As for Laurent’s question on next steps, I think the Divine Principle, Unification Thought and Reverend Moon’s commentary are the seminal documents for a larger and more complex body of work. If we compare the Bible to all the words written about Christianity, or Das Capital with all the Marxist documents – that is our future. With the Internet we don’t need institutes, libraries or conferences. We do need a board of directors, a vision and a mission and we definitely need second gen readership and participation. With those elements, I think we can make an impact on many parts of American and then global society. I would recommend many small institutes that share members and ideas. That way we aren’t a single target for the opposition. Additionally we should be self-funding. There are members who have enough to support thought leadership at a comfortable level.
Check out the Higher Purpose Forum or Project Phoenix for model examples. These types of gatherings are perfect for the Tribal Messiah type activities being supported by the movement.
Thank you, John, for your excellent analysis and for your lifelong dedication to applied Unificationism.
I didn’t know about the Higher Purpose Forum and I‘m excited to see such a conversation “bubbling up” within our ranks. Like Henri Schauffler was saying, there is a thirst for such things in our movement which doesn’t seem to be acknowledged much within the mainstream church. I also think Henri raises a really good point (and he’s not just being “cynical”) when he says that the conversations that we are having on this Blog, etc., may not amount to much in terms of having a real impact.
I wonder if there’s a way we could connect these ideas, discussions, etc., to our mainstream church which, for all intents and purposes, seems to be where the action is (i.e., financial, manpower, networking, etc.). In this regard, I think we should take a look at what some of the most influential and powerful Christian ministries have been doing. For example, Focus on the Family initiated a biblical worldview-type ministry called “The Truth Project” which has been taught in churches worldwide as well as an initiative for undergrads dealing with Christian worldview called the Focus on the Family Institute. Rick Warren has also done significant work in this type of ministry ( i.e., “Wide Angle: Framing Your Worldview”). So might it be possible for us to frame what we are doing in terms of a “Unificationist worldview ministry” which could then take its place in our mainstream churches alongside ACLC, youth ministry, golden age ministry, etc. ?
Thank you, John Redmond, for these practical guidelines that you suggest. Very good points, and thanks again for launching this debate.
Ideally, the resources of the movement would be applied to educating every level of society, not just the religious or family level. Father supported all sorts of political, educational, social and religious organizations. Our current movement is limited by money and manpower. Many of the best and most capable second gen (the future of the next 40 years of the movement) are hostile to the church organization and won’t work with church leaders.
The bubble up organizations are more credible and can be more flexible and responsive to the current intellectual environment and provide a “safe” intellectual and professional environment to include disaffected second gen.
Additionally, diverse grassroots organizations are more credible than a monolithic organization in the court of public opinion.
I have three recommendations:
1. Develop a real curriculum of headwing studies. Sun Moon University already has a Pure Love Department, which is a truly Unificationist discipline. Needless to say, field studies should be encouraged as much as theoretical education.
2. We should ask members involved in local government (a city, a state in the case of USA) to share their practical experience.
In Nepal, Eknath Dakhal has been the leader of the Family Party, was elected a congressman, and has been a cabinet minister. He told me how our movement was deeply involved in the writing ot the new constitution (which was brought on top of the Himalayas by the way). Our Unificationists in Nepal work in an extremely multiethnic nation of 30 million people, landlocked between China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were very influential to bring the Maoist leaders to the negotiating table. The current president of Nepal is a communist woman, but she warmly welcomed True Mother for the Katmandu Summit of November 2018, where 2,000 mayors received the Blessing. Nepal is often seen as a key player in Korean reconciliation, because the country has deep relations with both Koreas. One problem is that most members in the Western World have only a very vague understanding about these nations in the Third World where Unificationism has penetrated the society (often non-Christian) much more deeply that in the West.
3. We should pay particular attention to micro-states, especially in Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific, but also Africa (Sao Tomé, Seychelles, Cape Verde). Micro-states are often governed like a big family. Our movement promised many things to the Sao Tomé government, which was very open, but there was no follow-up. Too bad. A small nation-state like this, which is peaceful, could be a laboratory for headwing governance. In Cheongpyeong itself, there are quite many Unificationists in our community who influence very directly the county of Gapyeong (about 70,000 people). The local population can see our power and has a rather positive view of our movement, particularly because Japanese, Filipino and Thai wives are extremely involved in serving the rural population, especially the elderly. They can see that our movement is bringing more and more tourists and visitors, that our facilities (Peace World Center, particularly) are world class and state of the art. Yet, all of this remains undocumented in English, though there have been many interesting studies in Korean by people outside our movement.
Let us study headwing, in the field, preferably at the local level, possibly in micro-States.
Thanks for that analysis. The best part in my opinion is:
“We need to do it in a way that is informed by the higher perspective of Unification Thought, unencumbered by the biases of history and popular culture. It will not be enough to set spiritual conditions and wait for a miracle. Serious Unificationists need to use the science, economics, business, communications, and politics available to them to shape the world the way we want it to be.”
Aren’t we then reaching the conclusion that for the betterment of humankind, Unificationism can only succeed through adopting realistic and pragmatic steps which will override its ideology?
We are witnessing that some organizations and local level governance are obviously doing quite well all by themselves without the UM intervention or its complex “headwing” rhetoric. It’s certainly both elating and rewarding to associate with such people.
However, is there not here a risk for Unificationists to conveniently reassure themselves to be on the right track by merely mixing with these secular inspiring models? Our own disheartening lack of results after years of zealously preaching a puzzling religious recipe nobody wants to buy anymore, might lead us to somehow believe we have probably been helpful or been possibly “spiritual contributors” in these realizations just by having vividly dreamed about it?
This kind of subtle, unconfessed appropriation of others’ accomplishments might provide us with the astonishing feeling of legitimately deserving part of the credit for what others have already achieved. But isn’t it indeed a rather cheap way to “justify” at minimum a correlation between our particular dogmas and our high expectations for meaningful substantial results? Isn’t this swallowing up attitude giving real ground to observers who in the past have qualified this predatory proceeding as being from its inception the specific UM hallmark?
The familiar intoxicating spiritual vertigo felt by those who mistakenly believe they hold the monopolistic privilege of unfolding God’s Providence might however lead them one day to face the greater complex reality and somehow wake up with a serious hangover.
Meanwhile, in dealing with our “Cain partners”, we should be very careful to turn our subsequent ideological patronage into a substantial reality and not just an ambiguous, opportunistic or bogus move. A lot of empty promises and unsubstantial lip service seem to have already abounded during past costly glamorous Unificationist-staged shows whose unspoken aim was mainly to have for a few minutes our UM leaders in the spotlight.
However, such a desperate search for recognition should not allow that once the glorious pictures have been taken and the show is over, nothing else will later happen after the victory cakes have been joyfully eaten and we have warmly congratulated one another.
This being said, I can but agree and support John Redmond’s wise and pragmatic recommendations “to use the science, economics, business, communications and politics available to us to shape the world the way they want it to be”.
You asked, “Is there not here a risk for Unificationists to conveniently reassure themselves to be on the right track by merely mixing with these secular inspiring models?” I am not sure if I catch your point well, in the context of this debate on the need for a headwing thought. My understandng of Cain and Abel is not that God rejects Cain’s offering. Abel is responsible to help Cain make an offering acceptable by God. Then, both can go to the Heavenly Parent. Abel has to see what elements are good in Cain’s works. Remember how Jesus praised the faith of a Roman centurion (Lk 7: 1-10). Moreover, he accepted the anointment of a woman depicted by Luke as a sinful woman. When we accept the offering of Cain with a deep and sincere heart, we succeed in the substantial offering, which is more internal and deeper than the foundation of faith (Foundation of Restoration 1.3). If we do it well, the Providence develops. I hope that this answers part of your question.
Thank you, Laurent, for your reply.
My point was to underline that in the universal headwing dynamic, God seems to show us that He now welcomes and supports concrete realizations which have not been at all initiated by Unificationists nor linked in any way to the UM.
If in Genesis, the writers of the Old Testament obviously thought God had rejected Cain’s offering (Gen 4:5), apparently Jesus did solve this issue. I am not a theologian but one of my more recent discoveries is that God is definitely not nitpicking in term of theology.
Besides, it seems to me that independent of the easily interchangeable “Abel” or “Cain” positions, one can’t truly advise anyone on how to succeed without having first himself/herself achieved visible substantial results that validate his/her theoretical or theological insight.
This is a sine qua non condition to both get an ounce of credibility and not get relegated to the mere secondary role of just commenting on others’ achievements.
Isn’t the “Cain” and “Abel” labeling an obsolete concept in this time of proclaimed providential cosmic victory?
If this is a reality, we might soon realize with relief and/or astonishment that for God Unificationism is definitely a too serious matter to be solely entrusted to Unificationists however talented and dedicated they undeniably are.
At the dawn of the era of peace and reconciliation, may all infighting humans gratefully ponder the following genuine Unificationist inspired words from Abraham Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
“My point was to underline that in the universal headwing dynamic, God seems to show us that He now welcomes and supports concrete realizations which have not been at all initiated by Unificationists nor linked in any way to the UM.”
I believe that God has been welcoming various initiatives that were not “directives” by UM leadership for decades. Think of Glenda Moody’s DC Striders track and field team back in the 1970s, or Tom Ludwig’s initial work with the NYC Symphony around the same time. I have done a number of “concrete” projects outside the UM realm in my attempts to use music to foster relationships in order to witness and teach artists about the values and virtues of DP. In our tribal messiah outreach we ought to be utilizing our creativity to find all the ways we might advance heaven’s providence. Our results will justify the means that we chose to employ.
Back in 2018 I was in a meeting in which True Mother told the Korean leaders, “Don’t wait to be told what to do.” Many members have developed their personal “ministries” without directives (or sanctions) from the leadership. In Los Angeles the L.A. band has produced several YouTube videos of their original songs — a few of which won awards in our five CIG Holy Song competitions. They’ve been pro-active in this regard. Songwriters Rebecca Zinke, Jenny Hughes, Woo Ahan, and Sarah Eide have many videos on YouTube now. I have a few of my own that are the result of non-UM initiated directives.
In my case, some of these projects were not UM funded or initiated, but nonetheless were motivated by a Headwing/Godism approach in the hopes creating effective ways to build bridges with others and in so doing create that “larger framework” which True Father alluded to when he initiated the “federation” concept.
Amen to David Eaton’s reply about taking personal initiative in creating and doing a Principled project with or without direction or permission from others. That’s what I’ve been doing in my work in relationship skills which I believe are a natural (even essential) complement to the spiritual aspects of the Marriage Blessing. I see the communication skills work as learning and practicing behaviors that bring the Blessing down to earth in daily action — for example, the slogan “living for the sake of others” being manifest as “listening with empathy to what my wife is telling me” — that’s living for the sake (benefit) of my wife.
I wholeheartedly congratulate David Eaton and Bento Leal for having taken positive personal initiatives which do contribute to expand the realm of love and happiness in this world.
Such highly desirable God-given freedom to exercise one’s creativity has not however clearly been the main encouraged behavior in the recent history of the Unification movement. There are obviously reasons which would need to be explored and understood for the necessity to have grown up dedicated loyal leaders having to be reminded they can take initiatives.
Headwing is the hopeful promise that a better world is possible and we certainly all want to efficiently contribute to it. I am pretty sure all Unificationists can agree with Karl Marx’s remark: “Until now philosophy has only been describing the world but now is the time to change it”.
Communism however after 72 years of application of its ambitious program had to acknowledge its failure to realize its prophesized ideal society. Communist theoreticians vainly counted on a spontaneous support of an abstract enlightened proletariat who never showed up. But there are still today a handful of hardcore communist believers who can’t admit this failure and the need to question the validity of their ideology.
Is Unificationism itself after now 67 years of existence in a better position and truly able to claim the substantial fulfillment of its prophesized utopia? Haven’t Unificationists proved exceedingly confident to be God’s modern day champions whom the entire cosmic forces were unconditionally attending? Haven’t we believed we had God’s total approval and the entire Heaven’s unreserved support for all our “providential” projects that would rapidly bear fruits and unstoppably succeed in an amazing short span? Sadly, the vainly expected cosmic Pentecost and unconditional support from spirit world hasn’t showed up yet. That could explain why quite a few people came to consider that the promised blissful upcoming kingdom of God on earth had turned out to just another cruel messianic delusion.
Isn’t then our perceived revealed UM rhetoric following the same trend than the Marxist fallacious theory?
Unificationism might appear today as just another intellectual human construct whose faithful talented supporters remain presently cornered in cleverly commenting worldly issues through their own absolute deeply ingrained ideology and inherent alternative flavor of utopian fantasy.
But without having in any way the slightest visible impact on society…
As if over the years the UM narrative had somehow remained an impressive stimulating mantra and a comforting self-satisfactory ideology for its followers. However, it is undeniable that Unificationists have genuinely invested the greater part of their life in courageously trying to realize what they understood as being God’s most cherished dream.
Meanwhile haven’t these awesome committed souls sadly made the unnoticed economy of having a real check and balance of their undisputable outstanding efforts and recurrent consented sacrifices?
Is there not another way to succeed at influencing society than by counting the number of Blessed couples? Aren’t we now putting the cart before the horse and counting our chickens before they are hatched… and UM members before they know anything about the redeeming role of the True Family?
Instead of lastingly focusing and building on amazing common grounds and uplifting shared values we have with others, our inherent Unificationist proselytizing and permanent unconfessed objective to convert others often generates ambiguous unbalanced relationships. These can’t actually last much longer than the period of the seductive honeymoon when only sweet half-truths are mentioned to hide untold ultimate objectives which unavoidably only bring symbolic illusory victories.
One can understand that most loyal Unificationists keep adamantly trying to make sense of the absolute Divine Principle teaching and its ultimate revealed interpretation of ancient biblical mythology. Isn’t however this hard to sell highly speculative narrative we have totally identified with, simply providing us with a respectable personal belief which yet might also be seen by outsiders as a rather out of place stinging messianic ideology? Like a cumbersome trump card which doesn’t automatically lead to the actually desired success…
The way toward God’s utopia of Unification will definitely be a long road. No one will ever detain the monopoly of its process, but inspiring examples do exist everywhere and deserve to be acknowledged. Each and every one is invited to be part of this leading team and cooperate with all other people of good will in a sphere of mutual appreciation, encouragement and love where God will freely shower His abundant blessings on all His children.
“Communism however, after 72 years of application of its ambitious program had to acknowledge its failure to realize its prophesized ideal society. Communist theoreticians vainly counted on a spontaneous support of an abstract enlightened proletariat who never showed up. But there are still today a handful of hardcore communist believers who can’t admit this failure and the need to question the validity of their ideology.”
Several authors have documented this scenario including Roger Scruton, Stephen R.C Hicks, Bruce Bawer and Jonah Goldberg. The emergence of a large contented middle class deflated the revolutionary urges that Marxists had hoped to use in order to fuel political change. As Goldberg notes, after World War II, the neo-Marxists of the Frankfurt School — Adorno, Marcuse, Horckheimer — “deftly psychologized” the Hegelian conflict mode and replaced the economic struggle trope with cultural struggle — oppressor vs. oppressed. This is current iteration of the Marx/Hegelian paradigm and we see it being played everywhere on matters or race, sexual identity, gender, etc.
Hicks observes in his highly informative book, Exploring Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, that contemporary postmodernist progressives fully adopt the four major theses of Hegelian thought:
— Reality is an entirely subjective creation.
— Contradictions are built into reason and reality.
— Since reality evolves contradictorily, truth is relative to time and place.
— The collective, not the individual, is the operative unit.
As Hicks notes, “Whatever the variations the metaphysical themes of clash and conflict, of truth as relative, of reason as limited and constructed, and collectivism are dominant, postmodernists adopt all four of these theses.”
We often talk about left/right viewpoints, but the central issue is God or no God. That was a central focus in the CAUSA initiative that sought to educate people about why Marxism could not ultimately solve our socio-cultural problems. True Father referred to headwing as being beyond globalism, “a cosmic level ideology.” Unificationists view the cosmos as the reality of the corporal and incorporeal realms. No matter how well-intentioned people may be, without acknowledging the reality of God and the incorporeal realm we simply cannot expect an ideal society to emerge.
Thank you, David, for your well-documented, concise and very pedagogic reply.
For those like me who are quite ignorant of these philosophical concepts, it becomes much clearer how dangerous fallacious theories can subtly justify polarization and the historical necessity of fueling violent conflict.
As others may suddenly realize they are using prose without being aware of it, I am definitely relieved to discover I am not Hegelian.
John Redmond, Laurent and yourself, David, with probably many other people on this blog have done precious intellectual and philosophical research to back up a solid consistent vision able to promote and lead the “head wing” approach to success.
My latent questioning remains about the targeting of the potential “workers of the 11th hour” and the shortage of financing.
I understand it would seem logical and tempting to think that religious people would be the first to merge with a positive encompassing view aiming at solving conflicts and peacefully generating a universal satisfactory spiritual unity. History however has sadly shown they have spent so much time and energy just excommunicating and fighting each other and keeping away from “unsaved souls” in their respective delusion of detaining the monopoly of salvation.
At the same time, aren’t Buddhists and other conscientious people who don’t believe in God a lot more “headwing-compatible” than Jihadist fighters or sectarian Christians absolutely believing in a God who is totally in control and/or has only predestined the chosen ones from their congregation since their salvation totally suffices for His eternal Happiness?
What about those who solely count on a miraculous Divine intervention without the need for them to move their small finger? And what about the polarized Unificationists who do lean quite heavily toward the far right political spectrum?
Couldn’t then the huge number of non-religious conscientious people and other “heretics” whose faith is smaller than a mustard seed, be much more inclined to become “headwing-compatible”?
Probably they would more easily agree to cooperate on non-pious profane principles bases that would simply state that:
– Realty isn’t derived from our entirely subjective and partial perception. But our growing perception of reality doesn’t evolve faster than our individual pace. It requires our personal experience and awareness of our co-dependency, along our loving interactions with others.
– Contradictions result from our own inconsistency, self-absorption, slow readiness to acknowledge our flaws and our possible stubborn insistence on being right rather than being truly open to understand others.
– Truth is unchangeable but our perception of truth unfolds step by step, as we make good use of our ability to make mistakes and learn from them.
– Healthy democracy requires educated responsible individuals with a healthy critical mind, and most of all a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
I also understand that such a project needs funding that the UM, on its solid previous victorious accomplishments can easily find. If only two members from each of the 400 million plus worldwide Unificationist blessed families would each bring their two cents, it would already provide right away more than 8 million dollars seed money to start the project.
Jean-Jacques, your concern is legitimate. The Marxist-Leninist messianism created universal illusion and then universal disillusion. It is tempting to see Unificationism as yet another grandiose illusion that will collapse, practically speaking and then the theory will be refuted.
It is vain to “prove” anything. Trust is the matter. I am not talking about faith, but simply trust.
The young Karl Marx wrote poems about how good it is to be with Jesus and to bask in his love. The same young man, a few years later, wrote the most venomous poetry I ever read. He definitely had lost God, felt cursed, and said he would take revenge against God. Communism is the ultimate manifestation of mistrust. It is the religion of Satan.
The tragedy of Marx is that he could not trust God, he feared the wrath of God, the eternal curse for sin. That’s the starting point of Marxist evil poetry justifying genocide.
The human fall started with mistrust, disenchantment. Father asked intimate questions to Satan, without fear. Father dared to challenge even God and all the saints during 40 days. Not because of any arrogance, but because of his absolute trust, based on pure heart and evidence.
When times are dark and little hope is left, I always remember the tears of True Father. Father came to know God’s intimate heart so deeply. It is the foundation of our movement: the revolution of tears. We don’t need any museum for that. But this legacy is there forever, as an eternal source of inspiration. It is the poem of infinite longing, infinite parental care for each one, for you and for me.
Father taught this path, to restore human trust in God and God’s trust in man.
Father, and Mother also, have paid the heaviest price to redeem the lack of loyalty, the disbelief. This, I think, will never, never, never be erased. I remember having doubts one time about salvation. Then, I had a mystical encounter with God, and felt the following “why do you worry? Don’t you know the heart of the Divine Parent? Every human soul is already saved. Because of the blindness, the spiritual blindness, human beings don’t know, don’t feel that they are already saved. But God is making lists. No one will be forgotten. On the list of Heaven, not even one name is missing. Start to make your list.” When I do Tribal Messiahship, I have long lists of prayer, with many names. I discuss their fate with my Heavenly Parent and gradually, we find a path. I have questions, sure. But I trust God that He will trust me and help me find the answers.
Your unwavering trust is obviously impregnating your life which is wholly dedicated to benefitting and inspiring others.
God is the witness that historical key figures’ auras have always empowered trusting disciples and provided them with incentive to surpass themselves. Everywhere devoted followers are able to victoriously persevere through mystical experiences and/or heartfelt unreserved amazement for their mentor’s heroic achievements under worse adversity. Disciples manage overcoming most miserable situations in which faithless ones would rapidly give up and perish.
Examples abound that can be found everywhere, from Jehovah Witnesses to Jews during the Shoah and/or within communist concentration camps; but also from communists to “Liberation theology” Christians who were imprisoned and tortured in South Americas’ prisons to even Jihadist Muslims whose “persecutions” reinforce their conviction to be on the right track and feed their determination to sacrifice for their indefensible cause.
The same principle applies independent of the worthiness of the cause in which one has laid his trust.
The expression “preaching to the choir” reminds us that within a community of believers who are embracing the same vision, testimonies are definitely always inspirational and comforting.
It however raises the following question: Is an authentic personal testimony per se –- however subjectively powerful it may be — a sufficient element to validate one’s trust in charismatic leaders and their religious or ideological perspectives (including Unificationism and other great causes) — or a mere unconscious confirmation bias?
In a busy world of collaboration, people are ready to trust as long as they can also legitimately verify the substantial fruits validating the exciting two-way road of trust. As some wisely proceed when dealing with any promising investment advisor.
Trust doesn’t exempt us from objective fact-checking and healthy regular assessing of the situation to safely go forward.
Only 25% of my remarks were a personal testimony. First of all, I wanted to clarify a major point, concerning trust, and the fundamental difference between Karl Marx and Reverend Moon. Please consider the point I made about this. My personal testimony was a minor aspect. I mostly wanted to focus on two different attitudes. Personally, I never felt that True Father was so adamant about setting a time in the eschatology. Father made many providential declarations, and all of them were calls for immediate action. Father told us it is up to us to follow. The chapter about Predestination is very clear that nothing should be considered as completely finished.