What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance

By David Eaton

The 19th century French novelist, Gustave Flaubert, asserted that “the art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

In the process of writing my book, What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance, I realized Flaubert’s assertion was quite apt.

The chapters in the book span several decades and were written for various publications, including The World & I magazine, the Journal of Unification Studies, the Peace Music Community blog, and the Applied Unificationism blog.

They draw upon many of my experiences as a musician, as well as my interest in music in relation to politics, philosophy, commerce, education, and religion. The influence of music on self and society is a central narrative of my book.

What Music Tells Us

One of my favorite composers is Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Mahler is generally considered to be the last of the great symphonists of the European symphonic tradition. He composed nine symphonies and his third symphony, written between 1893 and 1896, has six movements. He ascribes the following titles to each movement:

1.  Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In
2.  What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me
3.  What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me
4.  What Man Tells Me
5.  What the Angels Tell Me
6.  What Love Tells Me

For Mahler, nature, angels, humankind, and love all had something to say to him — presumably something imbued with beauty, truth and goodness. He would say that it was through the art of music that he could find answers to many of his questions regarding life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Mahler intuited, as did those in ancient cultures, that music wasn’t solely about pleasure or aesthetics. Like the philosophers of ancient China and Greece, Mahler believed music possessed moral and ethical implications and could be a gateway to higher truths and deeper understandings of the human condition.

Hebrew and Christian philosophers also shared this perspective and wrote treatises regarding the effects of music on self and society — psycho-acoustics in modern parlance. Any examination of our cultural patrimony reveals that the metaphysical, spiritual and axiological aspects of music, and its potential as a change agent in the spheres of politics and public ethics, has been a constant refrain from antiquity to Mahler, and remains so today.

The Unification movement’s founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, often alluded to the importance of art and culture in establishing a culture of peace. In their respective memoirs, they each aver that it’s not politics that changes the world, but art and culture that can move people’s hearts and raise consciousness and thereby foster conditions for socio-cultural betterment.

Continue reading “What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance”

A Manifesto for an Integral Society

By Gordon L. Anderson

Societies have become very complex since early nation-states formed in the 17th century.

Corporations, central banks, political parties, government bureaucracies, and many other social institutions have arisen to assert great control over individual citizens. These institutions can be of great service or harm to individuals, depending on their purpose and how well they are managed.

Will a way be found to keep them in the service of the people, or will they create a dystopian future in which people have little value except as serfs to those who control these institutions?

Much of the strife in our societies results from the loss of freedom and personal sovereignty as social institutions expand, taking control of governments, land, food, money, health, and energy.

Self-sufficient individuals, small businesses, and small towns are threatened by wealthy elites, global financial conglomerates, and the financial, ideological and political hijacking of institutions. Inflation, the fear of rigged elections, and energy shortages are causing populist uprisings as those who control governments, banks and resources threaten them with indignity.

We have reached a critical point in the evolution of human society. The array of highly developed social institutions in our complex post-modern world can either be put to the service of individual sovereignty and happiness or, left unchecked, put to the service of elites who use these institutions for their own power and wealth as sovereign citizens become a new type of feudal serf.

The Divine Principle refers to this time as the “Last Days,” when the Messiah will appear with a higher truth that can usher in the Completed Testament Era. Rev. Sun Myung Moon spoke about headwing thought that would transcend both the right and the left centered on Godism.

In a Journal of Unification Studies article, “Toward a Headwing Society: The Harmony of Three Social Spheres,” I explained how important elements in Unification Thought fit with a developing school of integral thought: stages of growth to perfection in both individuals and society, internal and external aspects of human life, and the preparation for the ideal world with developments in the last 400 years in which feudalism gives way to individual sovereignty.

An integral society can be viewed as Completed Testament society.

This book intends to show the way forward and stimulate discussion on how to achieve an integral society. In an integral society, social institutions exist for specific purposes that serve human beings. Integral society is created by an integral consciousness. That consciousness is rooted in a view of the whole that respects the value of each individual.

Integral consciousness is developing in our world as reflection on the nature and purpose of our post-modern life accelerates. The most popular pioneer in the field of integral studies is Ken Wilber, whose A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality was a bestseller.

Continue reading “A Manifesto for an Integral Society”

The Need for a Unificationist Blessing, Marriage and Family Theology and Education Providence

By Alice Fleisher

I experienced a flash of insight a few days ago while looking at Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s picture (who Unificationists call True Father).

The gist of the revelation was that some 30+ years ago, I was in a position to facilitate and contribute towards the development of a Unificationist Blessing, Marriage, and Family Educational (UBMFE) providence.

If that was the case, you may wonder why am I only now proposing the development of such a providence rather than 30 years ago? (I was first active in the American branch of the Unification Church’s marriage and family ministry — known as the Blessed Family Department [USA BFD] — between 1987 and 1989 and then reconnected in 2004)

In the 1970s and 1980s, the USA BFD work consisted of supporting and administrating the Blessing providence. The providence of guiding Blessed couples and families mainly consisted of preparing couples for their three-day ceremony, counseling, and the publication of two Blessing-related magazines, which included True Parents’ speeches and some educational material, called The Blessing Quarterly and The Blessing Journal.

Family education was not pressing because most couples were just starting out and few had children. However, anyone connected to the USA BFD who was even remotely observant could see we were eventually going to need education material and programs that could minister to and provide life guidance for these Blessed couples and families.

Unfortunately, budgetary concerns and administrative decisions occurred that had a major impact on the USA BFD and the development of that kind of material. Around 1990, the USA BFD was completely shut down, an action that wasn’t reversed until 2004 (due to True Father’s prodding).

Upon reflection, I believe that from the 1990s going forward, the development of mature, professional and comprehensive educational material on the Blessing, Marriage and Family derived from the revelations of True Father and Rev. Hak Ja Han Moon (who Unificationists call True Mother; together they are called True Parents) would have occurred. Sadly, such efforts were stillborn and cut-off abruptly due to the USA BFD’s demise.

It was not a coincidence that during the time the USA BFD was dormant, the Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE) was founded by Diane Sollee in 1996. I believe through the CMFCE and the Smart Marriages Conferences they sponsored, God worked to encourage faithful professionals who were caring for beleaguered families to identify and make available to the greater public, ministries, clinical practices, and educational programs dedicated to enriching healthy marriages and saving marriages that were in trouble. The purpose of the CMFCE, found on their website, is below. These are worthy and laudable goals.

The coalition serves as an information exchange and clearinghouse to help couples locate marriage and relationship courses; to help professionals, clergy and lay educators locate training programs and resources; to connect those with an interest in the continuing development of the field; to support community initiatives, legislation and research; and to promote the effectiveness of marriage education programs and increase their availability in the community.

Continue reading “The Need for a Unificationist Blessing, Marriage and Family Theology and Education Providence”

The Abundance Mentality, with Biblical References

By Esfand Zahedi

As many teachers and prophets have taught, and as supported by scientific and historical evidence, our experience is largely shaped by our perception.

A person who expects the worst, or the commonplace, is very unlikely to attract positive things or even see them if they surround him. A person with faith or a good attitude is likely to invite good experiences and frame seemingly negative events in a positive light.

If faith doesn’t lead to a life-affirming and optimistic attitude, it can hardly be called faith. Faith should lead to the conviction there is a universal answer to our inner desires and an infinite supply of good things for all; that nothing can be “too good to be true” if goodness and truth have the same Source. Convictions like these constitute what I call an “Abundance Mentality.”

Many human fears are unnecessary and debilitating. Jesus declared, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). When the multitude came to Jesus with their troubles, he comforted them and — without affirming their thoughts of scarcity — pointed to the infinite abundance and responsiveness of the Father.

How much of our trouble arises simply from want of faith? A mentality or attitude contains an element of faith when the mind assumes a truth that transcends immediate experience. Seeking to define “faith,” I find this a solid definition: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen… By faith we understand that… what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (Heb. 11:1, 3).

Things seen (our outer conditions) were made out of things unseen (our inner beliefs). With our minds we frame the world around us, be it a world of selfishness and poverty or a world of harmony and wealth. The greatest benefits life has to offer are obtainable by changing the mind. By change of mind is meant not a mere change of opinions, but the transition to a new mentality. The word “repent,” from the Greek metanoia, means “to change the mind.”

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).  Change your minds, for all the wonderful and good gifts of life are readily available, within your reach. We have the freedom to change our minds from a state of poverty and doubt to a state of wealth and assurance; to abandon the Scarcity Mentality and put on the Abundance Mentality.

The Bountiful Father

God is our Bountiful Parent; able, willing, and ready to do all things. The Divine Will is, however, to accomplish things through us. “[By] the power at work within us [He] is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20).

The beliefs of the Abundance Mentality apply to the abundance of food, water and natural provisions. Nature offers the resources that can produce more goods than can be counted. If we are connected to the Source, then every resource can be resupplied again and again without limit. There is no real shortage in nature.

Continue reading “The Abundance Mentality, with Biblical References”

Giving an Adversary the Respect They May Not Deserve

Hand_Shake

Note: This article from Nov. 11, 2013 is being re-posted on Applied Unificationism in remembrance of Antonio Betancourt (1944-2022).

By Mark P. Barry

In April 1990, after his Moscow meeting with Soviet President Gorbachev, Rev. Sun Myung Moon asked Antonio Betancourt, Secretary General of the Summit Council for World Peace, to reach out on his behalf to North Korea. Dr. Betancourt had many years’ experience working with former heads of state and government from Latin America and elsewhere. On several occasions, Rev. Moon gave him specific instructions how to conduct diplomacy prior to undertaking this overture.

Shortly afterward, Dr. Betancourt started to visit North Korean embassies in Beijing, Lisbon and other world capitals. He would walk into an embassy, introduce himself and his affiliation, and quickly would be bodily escorted outside, and told he was not welcome. The reason was our worldwide movement’s strong anticommunist stance. Although he gave them the precedent of Rev. Moon’s meeting Gorbachev, it made no difference.

Through sheer persistence, he eventually impressed the North Korean diplomats because he showed both a willingness to listen, as well as displayed a refreshing attitude. On one occasion, he went to the North Korean UN mission in New York and met with their deputy ambassador. This official carried on for three hours condemning the United States, Japan and South Korea for many of the North’s ills. Dr. Betancourt said that once he did his best not only to endure the diatribe but listen attentively, an unexpected change in the atmosphere occurred.

The North Korean diplomat suddenly became curious and willing to listen to what he had to say. The deputy ambassador was amazed this visitor had taken his verbal punishment, digested it, and was willing to proceed to more constructive conversation. What came from this meeting led to Dr. Betancourt’s first of 17 visits to Pyongyang in May 1991, accompanied by Rodrigo Carazo, former president of Costa Rica.

Once in Pyongyang, Dr. Betancourt’s real test began. He was subjected to verbal berating for two days, despite being a state guest, because the North Koreans wanted to test his true intentions and capacity to deal with them. He concluded they do not trust someone unless proven trustworthy. This is part of understanding and managing North Koreans’ complex logic used when dealing with those with whom they have grievances.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, assisted by Dr. Betancourt, laid the foundation for Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s historic meeting with President Kim Il Sung in November 1991, as chronicled in Chapter 20 of Dr. Pak’s Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Vol. II.

Dr. Betancourt notes, “Dr. Pak practiced the application of Rev. Moon’s teachings in his diplomacy and exemplified the principle of respecting and honoring everyone, including his enemies. He could speak very strongly against communism in his lectures, but in personally dealing with adversaries, he never demonized them. That’s why he could convince North Korea to invite Rev. and Mrs. Moon to Pyongyang. Without Dr. Pak’s sincerity, that would never have worked.” He adds, “When Rev. Moon embraced Kim Il Sung, it was not a political act or a pose for a photo-op. It was a heart-to-heart embrace that won Kim Il Sung’s heart. Father understood the art of turning enemies into friends.”

Continue reading “Giving an Adversary the Respect They May Not Deserve”

A Proposal to Allocate More Resources for Counseling

By Incheol Son

A two-year-old child sat on the floor in a relative’s house, wearing only one piece of knit in the cold winter. He was staring aimlessly and couldn’t recognize who had come before him.

This boy had forgotten the faces of his mother and father. He was left there all alone in “separation” from his parents who went out for witnessing. Immediately after his father saw the baby, his father escaped to the kitchen and cried quite a while.

This is the story my mother shared with me. It was about me. In fact, I have no recollection of it.

But, I surely recall the day when I tried to describe that scene in a testimony at a workshop. All those listening suddenly cried along. They were all second generation and had similar experiences as mine. I came to realize it was not just an individual but a collective one.

From a psychological point of view, however, the vulnerable little boy was exposed to an “overwhelming” event to lose his parents in his earliest years by being abandoned in what for him was a strange place. I had to face a series of similar events that continued to take place afterward, such as my mother’s sudden disappearance to go witnessing and my father’s quitting his job to become a pastor.

These experiences were very damaging to a child, though it’s been theologically justified as “indemnity” to build a condition that UC members tried to love the world more than their own children. I was educated in training programs to accept the logic as such. I tried and it worked — for a while.

I’ve even been encouraged to sublimate such primal wounds. But, they have never gone away. Rather they’ve accumulated; the emotional lump of trauma is still active inside me. And, now I realize it has kept influencing my life.

For example, I have a kind of “fear” of facing strangers, new people. Some say it’s just my character. And so I’ve also been encouraged not only to overcome it personally but to apply the ideal model of engaging in a new relationship. But, it’s like the fear of heights I have. I just react naturally to it. Fear is a psychological “symptom” of trauma.

When I served briefly as a pastor, one Japanese woman who had married a Korean man approached me for counseling. Her husband had no faith at the time and so was more like a secular man. He just joined the church because his older sister, from a senior blessed couple, had urged him to get married. The application forms were submitted and the man was able to participate in the blessing ceremony though he was not fully qualified.

On the other hand, the Japanese wife, who graduated from a renown university in Japan, entered the blessing by hope and faith. But the reality she had to face afterward in South Korea was far from what she had dreamed. Her specific difficulty she shared with me was her husband’s habit of inviting his friends over in the evenings. She had to welcome and serve those unexpected guests every time, but she, who already had two children and was pregnant with her third, couldn’t feel happiness from his habits.

Continue reading “A Proposal to Allocate More Resources for Counseling”

My Fellow Christians: We Are Challenged to Make the Case for Faith Itself

By Robert Duffy

Dear Christians,

Let me clearly state I have the greatest respect for Jesus, my Savior and Messiah. And I have great respect for the church universal that Jesus established after his death and resurrection, and which has served, however imperfectly, to care for our Heavenly Parent and to further God’s providence of salvation.

But it seems to me there are many in our culture who are philosophically Christian, but not church-goers — would-be Christians who have become discouraged as I had in my teenage years.

In my current experience, churches today can deliver a somewhat satisfying experience on the spiritual and emotional level, but without a more credible philosophical substrate, lack the capacity to support a moral or ethical context on which further societal development can be built.

More modern referents are called for — those of technology, film, popular culture, science, art, and social media — in telling the story of salvation, promoting the predominant need for moral transformation and spiritual growth rather than a rescue from sinful depravity, although that approach is sometimes appropriate. Many consider social salvation more important than mere personal salvation, though the causal relationship should be clear.

The world today is experiencing some of the worst convulsions from the widest possible number of sources in history — wars, extreme climate change, ideological and cultural conflict, dysfunctional social systems, family and societal breakdown, to name a few.

One of the factors holding a society together, historically, has been the acceptance of similar values among its citizens, values which most of the population held in common.

In our age — with peoples and their cultures, languages and customs interacting in sometimes competitive and combative ways, sharing space with each other through the relative ease of migration and travel — societies, particularly in the developed world, have experienced unprecedented levels of social confusion as the demographic complexion of nations changes, and with it, the political and spiritual environments.

And so, dear Christians, although we may feel that our religion is the greatest (and final) one, our witness to Christ in our time must take on an interreligious character. Indeed, we are challenged not to convert people of other faiths to ours, as much as to make the case for faith itself, allowing God to move in us in our ways of thinking and acting in the world. The real object of our evangelical efforts is the modern cynic, agnostic or atheist, devoid of faith and unable to realize the omnipresence of our Creator God in their midst in everyday life.

But to reach said cynics, it will be important to have an intellectually sound basis for advocating a perspective of faith. A common value system, based on biblically-rooted first principles, would be interesting if and only if it was able to encapsulate the essentials of both a spiritual and physical view of life. In other words, it would have to embrace both religion and science.

Continue reading “My Fellow Christians: We Are Challenged to Make the Case for Faith Itself”

How to Meet My Ancestors: A Theory of Spirit

By David Burton

For me one of the more fascinating requests Rev. Sun Myung Moon gave to us was his request to WRIST in 1984 to develop technology to communicate with spirit world. It is not something I would ever have thought of doing myself, but after I became aware of the problem he posed, it has stayed with me throughout my spiritual life.

The possibility of such technology requires a re-envisioning of what spirit world is. From 2005, and for about seven years, I was part of an online spirit world machine (SWM) discussion group called Technician2, or T2 for short, dedicated to keeping alive the dream of building a SWM. We even began some rudimentary experimentation, which, unfortunately, did not yield any results.

What we did have was lots of discussion, and differences of opinion, but that just petered out over time because we had nothing constructive to show for our work. It was on the science that things got stuck — and are still stuck. We agreed that spirit world existed and could be communicated with, but for a SWM we needed more than that. What we lacked was an experimentally testable theory about the nature of spirit world. Without such a theory we were groping in the dark while hoping for someone in spirit world to turn the light on.

Fortunately, our group was not completely in the dark. We did receive some communication through a medium in 2009 that we should look for a digital interface and that the Internet was being developed as a SWM. These insights, combined with my own writing on Divine Principle and Unification Thought, have led to the theory I present here. I am not claiming this must be true; just that it is a possible explanation for the nature of spirit world, one I believe is compatible with science. It is fully natural and potentially amenable to experimental investigation — in other words, a theory that could be tested experimentally.

Divine Principle

My beginning point is in Divine Principle and a passage I had read, re-read, and overlooked again and again for years. I believe this passage to be one of the most important in the Principle of Creation:

When [subatomic] particles join with each other through the reciprocal relationships of their dual characteristics, they form an atom. Atoms, in turn, display either a positive or a negative valence. When the dual characteristics within one atom enter into reciprocal relationships with those in another atom, they form a molecule. Molecules formed in this manner engage in further reciprocal relationships … [EDP, p. 16]

For us today, with our contemporary scientific knowledge, this seems obvious, even perhaps old-fashioned. Yet I believe it to be the key to the whole of the Principle of Creation, and is what allows the explanation in Divine Principle to be continuous with science. Here in one paragraph is the basic understanding of existence as presented in Divine Principle. We can restate it in one sentence: existing beings are compound beings of particles in relationship. That’s it. However, the implications of this simple statement are enormous.

Continue reading “How to Meet My Ancestors: A Theory of Spirit”

Idealism, Empiricism and Realism in Rev. Moon’s Philosophy

By Keisuke Noda

Conceptual frameworks for interpretation determine the limits, or horizons, of human understanding. This applies to the interpretation of Unificationism, the philosophy of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Here, I look to Platonic idealism and Aristotelian empiricism as two frameworks to interpret “reality;” and I use these frameworks to explore how we can draw out different aspects of Unificationism.  One can certainly use other perspectives to disclose other dimensions of Rev. Moon’s philosophy.

Nevertheless, I use these frameworks to explore how we interpret and relate to Unificationism, and conclude by looking at fishing to highlight the radical realism of Unificationism.

Platonic Idealism: Divine Principle

The most common reading of Rev. Moon’s thought is as a form of Platonic idealism. This aspect of Unificationism is best described in Divine Principle, the core teaching of Unificationism presented in the Exposition of the Divine Principle, the main text of Unificationism. Unificationists, for the most part, understand Unificationism from the way it is presented in this text.

Plato described in his Republic his ideal state as a hierarchical society governed by the Philosopher-King. Likewise, Unificationism presents the Heavenly Kingdom as a society governed by the Second Advent, the “True Parents.” Just as the Philosopher-King, who “knows” the ultimate truth, can tell others what to do, the Kingdom of Heaven is portrayed in the Divine Principle as a hierarchical society where True Parents are the central channel who convey God’s Will and His messages.

Plato viewed the unchangeable and eternal, such as the Ideas of Good, Beauty and others, as reality, and the changeable or temporal as less real, a sort of shadow of eternal Ideas. Hence, the world of Ideas, where souls go after leaving the body in death, is the real world. Accordingly, reality is grounded elsewhere, in another world.  Although Unificationism presents the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth as the ideal, the society it envisions is still a Platonic hierarchical idealistic world under the Messianic “True Parents,” and so the center of gravity exists in Ideas that are eternal, absolute and unchanging.

When I joined CARP, a student organization of the Unification Church, in 1970 on the Waseda University campus in Tokyo, a place occupied by communist radicals, I was inspired by this Platonic vision. Idealism, be it Marxism or Unificationism, was appealing to youth in the 1960s and ‘70s. The majority of my classmates joined Marxist movements to build a socialist utopia. A “Grand Narrative,” a one-size-fits-all theory of modernism, was dominant as the spirit of the era. Many approached these theories through the question of which grand narrative was right, rather than questioning whether a grand narrative was the right approach to begin with. Hence, the Unificationist grand narrative appealed to me as a 19-year-old college student, and I joined CARP to build an ideal world.

Continue reading “Idealism, Empiricism and Realism in Rev. Moon’s Philosophy”

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: