Marxism vs. the Principle as a Means to Solve Social Problems

By Stephen Stacey

Within the Principle framework, social development is primarily seen to be a product of lineage development. If our children are a bit more wholesome than we, then future development is assured. Many parents in the movement are incredibly proud of the remarkable gifts their children embody. The Divine Principle notes social improvement occurs when development happens inside any of the three blessings.

But social improvement based on lineage improvement takes time.

It takes time for individuals to grow so that they can then enter the world and improve the education system, the health system, the legislative framework, the media, the national infrastructure, the way businesses are run, the products companies can make, medicines, the kind of help charities might provide, and what religious communities may be able to offer to the faithful and others — all as a means to improve social outcomes in the next generation.

For example, it took time to develop the education system in the West. But, eventually, each generation grew up to be slightly more skilled than the last.

As this happened, each successive generation typically became slightly wealthier and more capable of protecting itself from the ravages of life. Through taking this natural pathway, the West slowly but surely developed.

However, some can get impatient with this natural law. They might insist that social development should happen much faster, primarily through state intervention. Sometimes, new technology allows for this to happen. But often there is no way to solve a social problem other than for the whole of society to work together to improve the level of wholesomeness of the children we bring into this world.

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Unconscious First Principles

By John Redmond

Everyone has some blind beliefs about the nature of existence.  They will swear that their ideas are well-reasoned, tempered by experience and fully rational — but they are not.

This is due to the fact we do not cause ourselves to come into being. We can never be fully sure that our suppositions about where we came from and what our purpose might be are correct.  Most people seize on a likely explanation or adopt their family framework and get on with the business of day-to-day living.

The unusual ones search out the larger truths and struggle to understand the patterns that underlie their assumptions. Based on those assumptions, every human, even non-religious ones, “act in faith.”  They make decisions and act as if their concepts are true and blindly hope they are. Even existentialists, proud deniers of doctrine and belief, cling to a first principle of absurdity.

Historically, humans worshipped the sun or nature because of the power those things had over one’s continued existence.  As civilizations developed and the forces of nature were tamed, the elite of most societies sought to develop more sophisticated and well-rounded explanations of how things actually were and then what to do about them. They made ontological assumptions.

Much of the conflict in society today comes from people with opposing ontologies, both conscious and unconscious.

Ontology is the philosophical field revolving around the study of the nature of reality (all that is or exists), and the different entities and categories within reality. All ontologies are hypothetical.  They are a good guess about how things really work and what is behind them.  The way these hypotheses are tested for accuracy is by history.  As generations of humans live based on the assumptions of their ontology, they develop all the other philosophical practices based on those primary assumptions. They also test these for efficacy over time.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic and America

COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the U.S. by county, June 10, 2020.

By Ronald Brown

In April, as I sat in lockdown in my Queens apartment, blocks from Elmhurst Hospital, ground zero for New York City’s pandemic treatment, I tuned to radio news hourly, religiously followed the BBC, PBS Newshour, network news, virus specials on television, awaited the morning clap of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal on my doorstep, and consumed articles in magazines.

As of mid-June, the daily death toll in the City is now around 20 (down from a peak of as much as 1,200 per day in April), over 120,000 have died nationwide (6,500 in the borough of Queens alone), shutdowns and lockdowns in the City are just beginning to ease, and many fear a coming second wave of infections, likely a result of lifting stay-at-home restrictions too soon.

I am not the ordinary citizen lamenting home imprisonment, teaching on Zoom, not finding the right foods in the supermarket, and receiving news of friends in the hospital, quarantine or morgue. I am a news junkie, but also a professor with a BA and MA in history from Gannon University and the Hebrew University, an MTS in theology from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Geneva.

From my balcony in Queens, I witnessed the racing ambulances on Queens Boulevard, scalpers selling overpriced face masks, my downstairs neighbor coming home late at night from nurse duty, and two elderly neighbors peering through covered windows. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans fought in Washington. With major corporations declaring bankruptcy, unemployment rising close to 16%, pastors and rabbis insisting on their religious freedom to gather their followers, and armed militias unwilling to sacrifice their American freedoms for the common good, I couldn’t help but ponder, “whither America?”

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The Marriage Has Come: Holy Wedding and Holy Community

By Thomas Selover

Unificationists recognize the Holy Wedding of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han on the 16th day of the 3rd lunar month (3.16)  in 1960 as the long-prophesied Marriage Supper of the Lamb from the Book of Revelation. “Blessed are those invited to celebrate this great event,” proclaims the angel in Rev. 19:9.

This year, 2020, marks the 60th anniversary of True Parents’ Holy Wedding, a time to renew our understanding and celebration. In East Asian life philosophy, a 60-year cycle represents a full completion and a new beginning at a higher level.

At a special gathering to mark the 60th anniversary of True Parents’ Holy Wedding, on May 8, 2020, True Mother announced a new name for our providential endeavors, namely “Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community.” At the same time, she also announced that from now on, our New Year will begin in the Spring. Heavenly Parent’s Day (formerly 1.1) will be celebrated on 3.16 of the heavenly calendar, the anniversary of True Parents’ Holy Wedding.

In the context of world religions, I offer some thoughts on these major announcements.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb: From Persecution to Celebration

In chapter 19 of John’s Revelation, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is prophesied as a momentous event, accompanied by great rejoicing: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:6b-7, RSV).

Yet, as we know, that most holy event happened in the midst of terrible persecution. True Father explains: “Despite the global and cosmic significance of that ceremony, in reality it was held in the presence of a small number of people and amid persecution that was beyond imagination.” (CSG, 1233-34)

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An Economic System That Honors Our True Purpose

By Alison Wakelin

Confined to our homes by a virus for which we are severely underprepared, the whole world is faced with the inadequacies of our systems.

We Unificationists, in particular, because of our high ideals, are challenged to reassess who we are, what values we are expressing in how we live, and how can we choose the best path to a future that manifests our vision for one united world (see my previous article on this site).

Besides the obvious failures of the healthcare system, from the perspective of a Unificationist, we can see that our current Western economic system fails to serve our deeper purposes in life in many ways. We spend most of our lives in debt, trying to catch up, and figuring out how to pay for healthcare, education, etc., instead of being able to invest time and love in our children.

Given that we expect to live in an eternal world after this, how can we design an economic system that allows for the greatest freedom to make our own decisions, and that enables personal growth?

Humans grow by receiving love, and by giving love, by investing effort, through relationships, by exercising their own responsibility towards living a life of value fulfillment. We grow by living for both the whole purpose and the individual purpose, and especially through investing in our children and communities.

Indigenous communities sustained their way of life throughout thousands of years, supported by nature, and without destroying that natural world. Despite its technological achievements, Western thinking, originating in Europe but now worldwide, has led us to the brink of destruction of the natural world, as now seen in the sudden clearing of atmospheric pollution as human economic activity is forcibly shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Imagining the Third Millennium

By Ronald Brown

As I walked into the monumental replica of the Temple of Solomon in a slum of São Paulo, Brazil, I was struck by the other-worldly atmosphere of the holy place.

Ushers were dressed in tunics and sashes like Jesus might have worn. In the center of the stage stood a gilded replica of the Ark of the Covenant with two angels keeping guard. Rows of temple candlesticks, menorahs, lined the walls, and copies of the Ten Commandments, Stars of David, and a plethora of other Judaica filled the interior. Forgotten was the downtrodden neighborhood in São Paulo. The congregation was treading the sacred ground of Jerusalem as Jesus had over two millennia ago.

Humans have never been satisfied with the world as it actually exists. Robins have built the same nests since time immemorial, but humans are never content with the world as it is. From the founding of the first Jewish Kingdom under Kings David and Solomon to the Marxist utopia of the Soviet Union, from Catholic monasteries to the Mormon utopia of Deseret, and from California communes to the Islamic State of ISIS, humans forever seek to fashion a perfect world out of the mud and rock of this world.

As I’ve argued on this blog, religion is the human quest to create a perfect human being inhabiting a perfect world. All else, gods and spirits, heavens and hells, creation stories and future bliss, rituals and theologies, are but commentary on this human quest. Here I focus on four of the most exciting experiments in religious engineering I studied during my 2019-20 university winter break in Brazil, Mexico and New York.

Envisioning the Third Millennium

As humanity plunges into the Third Millennium, chaos may best describe our condition. Global warming, epidemics, economic rivalries, wars of religion, immorality, crime, homelessness, the spread of nuclear weapons, and a host of other problems cause many to view the new millennium with fear.

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‘Parasite’ and Viewing a Film in One’s Imagination to Overcome Cultural Barriers

By Incheol Son

You may be curious about the Korean movie “Parasite.” The film and its director, Bong Joon Ho, won Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards in February. Bong and “Parasite” also won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

Their winning streak began at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival last May by winning the Palme d’Or. Wins followed at the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Award (for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture), and the British Academy Film Awards, to name a few. “Parasite” became the first South Korean film to receive an Oscar, as well as the first in a language other than English to win Best Picture.

Parasite,” or “Gisaengchung” (기생충) in Korean, was Bong’s descent into the “real world” from his previous films about social inequality such as “Snowpiercer” (2013) and “Okja” (2017). “Snowpiercer” was impressive because well-known Western actors and actresses were cast. I wondered, “Did they follow Bong’s direction with respect in every scene?” Later I learned they respected him a lot.

As Bong said, winning the Best Picture Oscar would not have been possible without the long-running success of the globalization of Korean culture or hallyu (한류, the Korean Wave) over the past 20 years. Especially, the boy band BTS has swept the Western world for several consecutive years. The West is now ready to recognize a new kind of cultural expression. I’m reluctant, however, to say that “Parasite” is from the East. It’s because the movie is rooted in Western culture as a motion picture. It’s like riding in a Hyundai sedan but never thinking it’s Korean.

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The Unification Community 100 Years After the Founder’s Birth: Are We There Yet?

By Franco Famularo

Where are we and where do we want to be?

By month’s end, the global Unification Family will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and 60 years since his marriage to co-founder, Hak Ja Han, in 1960.

It might be helpful for us to take an honest look at where the Unification Community is at currently in relation to where it wants to be.

In this article, I draw comparisons between the early Christian movement and where it stood after the birth of Jesus in the year 100 A.D. and the Unification Community in 2020. Estimates of the growth of early Christianity are referred to.

Of course, there are different approaches one can take to assessing the current situation. One can be totally optimistic and conclude that the movement founded by True Parents is far beyond God’s expectations. One can be consumed by idealism. On the other hand, some may consider a more pessimistic view and conclude that the Unification Movement is not growing as rapidly as it could. Some may even say that it is in decline.

Is the glass half full or half empty?

More that 40 years ago, Rev. Moon asked a gathering of members, “Why are we here? What is our purpose?” Various answers were entertained until one young 20-year-old in the front row responded: “To restore the world,” to which the founder responded, “That’s right. We are here to restore the world.” A tall order by any measure.

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Religion as a Dream World and the Next Century of Unificationism

By Incheol Son

According to Chinese tradition, a sage named Chuang-tzu (莊子) once had a dream of a butterfly. In it, he became a butterfly flying over a garden and enjoyed the beautiful scenery:

Once upon a time, I, Chuang-tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

This story reminds me of the movie, “Inception,” where the people of reality become significantly confused from cyberspace. People need the “kick,” the only way to show whether the world one belongs to is physical reality or cyber reality. In particular, what impressed me was the scene full of the poor lying on beds in a dark room, connected to a device that enables them to “live” a happy cyber-life. Watching the movie in a dark theater, I was confused after it ended, wondering whether I held the kick in my pocket to return to reality.

Sigmund Freud discussed in his book, Dream Psychology, the will to remain in a dream. When the desire to remain in a dream is so strong, the dream itself twists all the physical senses caught into a dreamer. Light, sound, smell, and touch are transformed into properties in a dreamy scene.

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