Culture, in a broad and general sense, refers to the totality of the various kinds of human activity, including economy, education, religion, science, and art, among which the most central is art. In other words, art is the essence of culture. However, art today is showing signs of a global tendency towards decadence. This is the case whether one considers democratic or former Communist nations, or whether one examines developed or developing nations. Decadent art can only generate a decadent culture. If today’s decadence continues, world culture will face a serious crisis. Accordingly, in order to reverse this decadent trend, and even to create a new culture, a true art movement must be promoted, and for this purpose, it is necessary to propound a new theory of art.
The dawn of new eras in the past was always preceded by a new spirit in art. During the Renaissance period, for instance, artists played a leading role. In Communist revolutions as well, artists made a substantial contribution. It is well known that Maxim Gorky’s works in the Russian Revolution and Lu Xun’s works in the Chinese Revolution greatly contributed to those revolutionary movements. Therefore, in creating a new culture in the days to come, true art activities must be developed.
Communist art, centered on the Soviet Union, was called “socialist realism.” Communists regarded art as a very important weapon in their revolution. Through art, they sought to expose the contradictions of capitalist society and to motivate people toward revolution. Socialist realism was a theory of art based on the materialist dialectic and historical materialism and it easily eclipsed theories of art in free societies, theories whose philosophical grounds were weak. Whereas socialist realism once dominated artistic society in Communist countries, with the fall of Communism―or rather, since before its fall―it began to fade away.
Nevertheless, even though socialist realism has faded away, there is a possibility that it may reappear, inasmuch as it faded away without a substantial theoretical critique and, therefore, its disappearance was only superficial. In order to preclude its reappearance, it is necessary to critique it with a new theory of art.
It is in this context that I present the theory of art of Unification Thought, or the Unification Theory of Art, as just such a new theory of art. The Unification Theory of Art seeks to reverse today’s trend towards decadence in art. Also, being based on a new philosophy it is presented as a critique of socialist realism, and as its counterproposal. This theory is for the purpose of contributing to the creation and establishment of a new cultural society. From the viewpoint of God’s providence, the future society is not only true and ethical, but also artistic; therefore, it is all the more necessary to present a new theory of art.