We have surveyed an outline of previous epistemologies; now I wish to explain the epistemology of Unification Thought, or Unification epistemology. Unification epistemology has been established on the basis of concepts about cognition in the Divine Principle, Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s speeches and sermons, Rev. Moon’s responses to direct questions by the author, and so on.
A. Outline of Unification Epistemology
Unification epistemology has, among its other features, the characteristic of being an alternative to traditional epistemologies. Thus, I will introduce Unification epistemology in terms of the topics dealt with by traditional epistemologies, such as the origin, object, and method of cognition.
1. The Origin of Cognition
As already explained, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, empiricism, holding that the origin of cognition lies in one’s experience, and rationalism, holding that the origin of cognition lies in one’s thinking, emerged. Empiricism fell into skepticism in the hands of Hume, and rationalism ended in dogmatism with the work of Wolff. In order to overcome this impasse, Kant tried to unify empiricism and rationalism through his transcendental method, but he was left with an agnostic world of things-in-themselves. It is in the context of such a background that I will introduce the position of Unification epistemology.
In the former epistemologies, the relationship between the subject of cognition (human being) and the object of cognition (all things) was not well-clarified. Since they did not know the relationship between the human being and all things, emphasis was placed either on the subject of cognition, as in rationalism, asserting that cognition is achieved exactly as reason (or understanding) infers, or else emphasis was placed on the object of cognition, as in empiricism, asserting that cognition is achieved by grasping the object as it is, through sensation.
Kant held that cognition is achieved when the sense content coming from the object and the forms of thought of the subject are synthesized and unified by means of imagination, whereby an object of cognition is finally formed. He was not aware, however, of the necessary relationship between the subject and the object. So for Kant, cognition can be made only within the framework of the categories of the subject, and in the end, he held that the things-in-themselves are unknowable.
Hegel held that in the self-development of the absolute spirit, Idea becomes nature by alienating itself, but eventually restores itself through the human spirit. In this system, nature is merely an intermediate step leading up to the rise of the human spirit, and has no positive meaning as a permanent existence. Finally, in Marxism, the human being and nature are in an accidental relationship of opposition.
When we look at the problem in this way, how to understand correctly the relationship between the subject of cognition (human being) and the object of cognition (all things) becomes a crucial issue. From an atheistic position, the necessary relationship between human beings and nature can not be established. Even in the theory of the natural generation of the universe, human beings and nature are no more than accidental beings to each other. Only when the significance of God’s creation of human beings and all things has been clarified, can the necessary relationship between human beings and all things become clear.
From the perspective of Unification Thought, human beings and all things are beings created in the relationship of subject and object. That is to say, the human being is the lord of dominion, or the subject of dominion over all things, and all things are objects of joy, beauty, and dominion for human beings. Subject and object are in an inseparable relationship. This might be compared to the relationship between the motor and the working parts in a machine. The working parts are meaningless without a motor, and vice-versa. The two components are designed to form a necessary relationship of subject and object. By the same token, human beings and all things have been created in such a way that both exist in a necessary relationship.
Cognition is the judgment of a human subject on all things, which are the objects of joy, beauty, and dominion. In this connection, cognition (i.e., judgment) involves “experience,” and judgment is carried out through the function of “reason.” Therefore, experience and reason are both necessary. Thus, in Unification epistemology, experience and reason are both indispensable, and cognition takes place through the unified operation of the two. Furthermore, since the human being and all things are in the relationship of subject and object, we can know all things fully and correctly.
2. The Object of Cognition
Unification Thought, first of all, acknowledges that all things exist objectively, outside the human being; that is, it accepts realism. As the subject of all things, the human being exercises dominion over all things―activities such as cultivating, raising, dealing with, processing, and making use of all things―and also cognizes all things. For that reason, all things must exist outside and independently of the human being, as objects of cognition and of dominion.
Furthermore, Unification Thought holds that the human being is the integration of all things, a microcosm―and therefore, that the human being is equipped with all the structures, elements, and qualities of all things. This is so because all things of the natural world have been created in symbolic resemblance to the human being, with the human body as the model. Therefore, the human being and all things have a mutual resemblance. Moreover, within the human being, the body is created in resemblance to the mind.
Cognition is always accompanied by judgment, and judgment is an act of measurement. For this measurement, standards (criteria) are necessary, and there are ideas existing within the human mind which serve as the standards of cognition. These ideas are called “prototypes.” Each prototype is an image within the mind, and it is an internal object. Cognition takes place as a prototype within the mind (internal image) and an image coming from an external object (external image) are collated.
Realism insisted on the objective existence of the object of cognition, independently of human consciousness. Marxism, which advocates copy theory, is its representative exponent. Subjective idealism, as represented by Berkeley, asserted, on the contrary, that the object of cognition is nothing but ideas in human consciousness. In Unification epistemology, realism and idealism (subjective idealism) are unified.
3. The Method of Cognition
The method in Unification epistemology differs both from Kant’s transcendental method, and also from Marx’s dialectical method. The give and receive method, that is, the principle of give and receive action between subject and object, is the method in Unification epistemology. Accordingly, in terms of method, Unification epistemology can be called a “give and receive epistemology.”
In the give and receive action between the subject (human being) and object (all things) in cognition, both subject and object must have certain requisites. As already explained in the Theory of Art, for example, subject and object must possess certain requisites in appreciation. In the appreciation of a work of art, the conditions that the subject (appreciator) must possess are: a concern for, or an interest in, the object, a desire to seek value, and the subjective elements of education, taste, and so on. The object (work of art) should be equipped with a purpose of creation, and should possess harmony among its various elements. In cognition, the condition for the subject is to have a prototype and a concern for the object, and the condition for the object is to have content (i.e., attributes) and form.
In accordance with the two-stage structure, give and receive action in cognition consists of both inner and outer give and receive actions. Cognition takes place first as outer give and receive action, and then as inner give and receive action. Again, we mention that this theory of cognition is called a “give and receive epistemology.”
Give and receive action takes place between a subject (human being) possessing the necessary requisites and an object (all things) possessing the necessary requisites. First, the content (attributes) and form (forms of existence) of the object are reflected in the human mind at the sensory stage, forming sensory content and form, which may be called an “external image,” since it is brought about by the outer give and receive action. Then, give and receive action (of the collation type) takes place between the external content and form (external image) and the prototype (internal image) which the human subject possesses a priori. This is the inner give and receive action, or the formation of the inner four position foundation. Cognition is accomplished through this inner give and receive action.
Here, I can explain the differences between the method of Unification epistemology, the Kantian transcendental method, and the Marxist dialectical method. In Kant’s method, the content (sense content) comes from the external world (object), and the forms (the forms of intuition and forms of thought) are a priori and subjective elements within the subject. Thus, the content belongs to the object, and the form belongs to the subject. In contrast, in the Unification Thought give and receive epistemology, content and form both belong to both subject and object. That is, both subject and object possess content and form.
In the Marxist method, content and form both belong to the object in the external world, and the consciousness of the subject simply reflects them. Thus, it can rightfully be said that the elements of both Kantian and Marxian epistemologies are contained in Unification epistemology. In other words, in Unification epistemology, there is an element of copy theory in the outer give and receive action, and there is an element of the transcendental method in the inner give and receive action. Thus, within Unification epistemology the dialectical method (copy theory) and transcendental method (Kantian method) are unified.
B. Content and Form in Cognition
Usually, in speaking of content and form, we call what is contained inside a thing its content, and its external appearance, its form. The content dealt with in epistemology, however, refers to the attributes of a thing, while the form refers to a certain framework through which those attributes are manifested.
Content of the Object and Content of the Subject
Since the object of cognition is all things, the content of an object refers to the various attributes it possesses, namely, shape, weight, length, motion, color, sound, smell, taste, and so on. These are material content (or Hyungsang content). On the other hand, the subject of cognition is a human being; therefore, the content of the subject refers to the various attributes that a human being possesses, which actually are the same as the attributes of all things, that is, material content, such as, shape, weight, length, motion, color, sound, smell, taste, and so on.
Usually when we talk about human attributes, in many cases we are referring to reason, freedom, spirituality, etc., but in epistemology, since we are dealing with the resemblance in content, we focus on the same attributes as those of the object (all things). As the integration of the universe (microcosm), the human being possesses, in miniature, all the structures, elements, qualities, and so on, that all things possess. Therefore, the human being is equipped with the same attributes as all things.
Give and receive action in cognition, however, does not take place merely because the subject (human being) and the object (all things) possess the same attributes. Since cognition is a phenomenon of thinking, the mind of the subject should also possess a certain content. The content in the mind of the subject is the prototype, or more accurately, that part of the prototype that corresponds to the content. This refers to the “protoimage,” which appears in the protoconsciousness (subconsciousness in the living being, which will be further explained below). The protoimage is a mental image that exists in correspondence with the attributes of the human body.
The attributes of the human body are in correspondence with the attributes (material content) of all things in the external world. Therefore, the mental image (protoimage), or prototype, becomes the mental content that corresponds to the attributes of all things. Thus, the attributes of the human body correspond to the attributes of all things, and the mental image (protoimage) of the human mind corresponds to the attributes of the human body. Then, accordingly, the human mental image corresponds to the attributes of all things. Therefore, in cognition, the mental image (protoimage) of the subject (human being) and the material content (sense content) of the object are in correspondence with each other; give and receive action takes place between them, thus giving rise to cognition.
Form of the Object and Form of the Subject
The attributes of all things, which are the object of cognition, always appear in a certain framework. This framework is the form of existence. The form of existence is the form of relation among the attributes of those things. This form of existence, or form of relation, becomes the form of the object in cognition. The human body is a miniature of the universe (microcosm), and the integration of all things; therefore, the human body has the same form of existence as that of all things. The form in cognition is the form within the mind, that is, the form of thought. This is a reflection of the form of existence of the human body in the protoconsciousness, in other words, the image of form (or the image of relation), forming a part of the prototype.
Elements Making Up a Prototype
The mental image within the subject, which becomes the standard of judgment in cognition, is called the prototype. The prototype is made up of the following elements.
First, there is the protoimage. This is the image of the attributes of the cells and tissues (elements making up the human body) reflected in the protoconsciousness. In other words, the protoimage is the image of the attributes of the cells and tissues reflected in the “mirror” of the protoconsciousness.
The second element is the image of relation, that is, the form of thought. Not only the attributes of cells and tissues of the human body, but also the form of existence (form of relation) of those attributes are reflected in the protoconsciousness, forming the image of relation. This image of relation gives certain restrictions to the action of thinking, forming the form of thought.
The above-mentioned protoimage and image of relation (form of thought) are ideas that have nothing to do with experience, that is, they are a priori ideas; but in prototypes, there are also acquired ideas that are added through our experiences. The ideas obtained through experiences (i.e., prior to the current cognition) are empirical ideas and form a part of the prototypes in subsequent cognition. Therefore, when we encounter things that are similar to what we learned before, we can easily recognize them. Thus, a prototype consists of the protoimage, the image of relation (form of thought) and empirical ideas.
As stated above, a prototype consists of an a priori element, which exists prior to experiences, and an element acquired through experience, namely, the empirical element. The a priori element is the prototype which consists of the protoimage and the image of relation within protoconsciousness. This is an “a priori prototype” that has nothing to do with external experiences. It is also called an “original prototype.” The empirical element refers to the empirical ideas that have been acquired through our daily life experiences, and once they have been acquired they become a part of the prototype. This is called an “empirical prototype.” A prototype which consists of an a priori prototype and an empirical prototype is called a “complex prototype.” As a matter of fact, all the prototypes in our daily life are actually complex prototypes.
Pre-existence of the Prototype, and Its Development
In any instance of cognition, a prototype that has been formed prior to it, namely, a complex prototype, functions as a standard of judgment. This means that, in any cognition, a standard of judgment (a prototype) already exists. Kant maintained that the forms possessed by the subject of cognition are a priori, whereas Unification epistemology asserts the pre-existence of the prototype which is possessed by the subject.
The original prototypes (protoimages and images of relation) with which people are born are imperfect in the case of a newborn baby because the cells, tissues, organs, nerves, sense organs, brain and so on, of the infant, are not well developed yet; therefore, the infant’s cognition can not but be vague. However, as the infant’s body develops and grows, the protoimages and images of relation gradually become clearer and clearer.
Furthermore, new ideas acquired through experience are added one by one. In this way, the prototype grows in quality and in quantity, which means that there is an increase in the amount of memory and an increase in new knowledge; namely, the progress of the empirical prototype and the complex prototype.
C. Protoconsciousness, Image in Protoconsciousness, and Category
According to the Divine Principle, “all beings in the creation grow by virtue of the autonomy and governance given by God’s Principle” (DP, 43). Autonomy and governance (or dominion) are characteristics of the life force. Life is the subconsciousness existing within the cells and tissues of living beings, and it has the capacity of sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness. Sensitivity is the ability to perceive the information of things intuitively; perceptiveness is the ability to maintain the state of perception; and purposiveness is the willpower to maintain and actualize a certain purpose.
“Protoconsciousness” here means original consciousness, and refers to that cosmic consciousness which has entered into a cell or tissue. From the perspective of the function of the mind, the protoconsciousness is the mind functioning on a lower level. Therefore, it may be said to be a lower level function of the cosmic mind, or a lower level of God’s mind. Protoconsciousness is also life. Once the cosmic consciousness enters cells and tissues, it becomes individualized and we can call it protoconsciousness or life. In other words, life is that cosmic consciousness which has entered cells or tissues. Just as an electric wave enters a radio and produces sound, so, too, does cosmic consciousness enter cells and tissues and give them life. In short, then, protoconsciousness is life, and it is subconsciousness with sensitivity, perceptiveness, and purposiveness.
In Unification Thought it is asserted that when God created the universe through Logos, He inscribed all the information pertaining to each living being (i.e., Logos) in the cells of that being in the material form of a code. This code is the genetic code, which is a specific arrangement of the four kinds of bases (adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine) in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This is because God wanted each living being to be able to multiply and maintain its species from generation to generation.
It is written in Genesis 2:7 that “the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” With regard to things in the natural world, it could also be said that “God formed cells out of dust and poured life into them. So the cells became living cells.” The cosmic consciousness which has entered into the cell is protoconsciousness, or life. Living beings become alive once cosmic consciousness has entered into their cells, tissues, and organs.
Function of Protoconsciousness
Let me explain the function of protoconsciousness. Protoconsciousness has various functions, including the reading of the genetic information (code), acting according to the direction of the information, and transmitting the information.
Let me explain these in turn. First, when cosmic consciousness enters into a cell, it reads the genetic code of the DNA of that cell. Following its reading of the genetic code, the protoconsciousness then causes the cells and tissues to act according to the instructions contained in the code. It acts to make cells and tissues develop, and these and new organs to grow and to form relationships with other cells, tissues, and organs. All this information about the cells and tissues is transmitted to the central nerves along the peripheral nerves (centripetal nerves), and the central nerves send directions to the cells and tissues through the peripheral nerves (centrifugal nerves). It is the protoconsciousness that transmits all this information; that is to say, the protoconsciousness plays the role of the giving and receiving of information between the center and cells and tissues. These are some of the functions of the protoconsciousness. All of these functions are based on the sensitivity, perceptivity, and purposiveness of the protoconsciousness. As the protoconsciousness carries these functions out over time, the protoimage and the image of relations develop, and become clearer.
Formation of the Image in Protoconsciousness
The subconsciousness within living beings, namely, the protoconsciousness, possesses sensitivity. Therefore, the protoconsciousness senses intuitively the structure, constituents, qualities, and so on, of the cells and tissues. Furthermore, the protoconsciousness even senses changes in the situation existing inside the cells and tissues. This content sensed by the protoconsciousness, that is, the image that is thus reflected onto the protoconsciousness, is the “protoimage.” The idea that a protoimage is produced in the protoconsciousness can be compared to the phenomenon wherein a material object is reflected in a mirror, or in the way a material object is caught on film through exposure. Protoconsciousness has perceptiveness, which is the ability to maintain the state of perception, in other words, continuing to keep the protoimage. Thus, perceptiveness might also be regarded as a kind of memory.
The various elements within a human body, such as cells, tissues, and organs, exist, function, and grow through performing inner and outer give and receive actions as individual truth beings and as connected beings. In the case of a cell, for example, give and receive action between various elements (such as nucleus and cytoplasm) within the cell is inner give and receive action, and give and receive action between the cell and other cells is outer give and receive action. In these give and receive actions, various relationships are established. The condition or framework allowing for such relationship is called the “form of relation.” All things, without exception, can exist only in accordance with this condition; therefore, the form of relation can also be called the “form of existence.” The form of existence is the framework that was established when all things came to exist.
The form of existence is reflected on the protoconsciousness, forming a certain image there; we call this image an “image of relation” or an “image of form.” Protoconsciousness thus has protoimage and image of relation (image of form), which together we call the “image in protoconsciousness.”
Formation of the Forms of Thought
As already explained, the content possessed by the subject of cognition (human being) includes material content (Hyungsang content) and mental content (Sungsang content). The material content is the same as the attributes of the object (things), and the mental content is the protoimage. The material content is related to the mental content, as its corresponding element.
Here, a corresponding element refers to the partner element among the paired elements that are in the relationship of one-to-one. The relationship between a material object and its shadow is an example. When the material object moves, the shadow also moves, and when the material object stops, the shadow also stops. In this case, the material object is called the corresponding element to the shadow.
In the relationship between body and mind, when the body is healthy, the mind becomes healthy, and when the body is weak, the mind also becomes weak. Hence, the body is the corresponding element to the mind. Similarly, in the relationship of the material form (Hyungsang form) and the mental form (Sungsang form) of the subject of cognition, the former is the corresponding element to the latter. The material form is the form of existence of the object.
As already mentioned, the human body is the integration of the universe; therefore, the attributes of all things become directly the attributes of the human body, and the attributes of the human body are reflected on the protoconsciousness, forming protoimages, namely, the mental content. In the same way, the form of existence of all things is the same as the form of existence of the human body, which is itself reflected on the protoconsciousness, thus forming the mental form, namely, the image of relation. The mental form is the form of thought. That is, the root of the form of thought is the form of existence. Thus, the corresponding element of the form of thought is the form of existence.
The forms of relation (forms of existence) in cells and tissues are reflected on the protoconsciousness, forming the images of relation. The images of relation in the protoconsciousness are passed from the peripheral nerves to the lower nerve centers as bits of information and gather together at the upper center (cortex center). In this process, the images of relation are synthesized and arranged to shape the forms of thought at the cortex center. Forms of thought, therefore, come to exist as mental forms corresponding to the forms of existence in the external world.
When we engage in thinking, these forms of thought function as the framework which our thinking follows. That is, thinking is carried out according to the forms of thought. In other words, the forms of thought guide, restrict, or limit our thinking. Forms of thought are the same as categories, which are, in any philosophy, the most fundamental, general basic concepts.
Forms of Existence and Forms of Thought
Since the element corresponding to the form of thought is the form of existence, in order for us to understand the form of thought, we must first understand the form of existence. In order for things to exist, individual beings (or elements) should be related to each other, whereby the form of relation is the form of existence. From the Unification Thought perspective, there are ten basic forms of existence, as follows:
- Existence and Force: The existence of every being is always accompanied by the operation of force. There is no force apart from existence, and no existence apart from force. This is because the Prime Force from God makes all things exist by exerting power on them.
- Sungsang and Hyungsang: Every being consists of an inner, invisible, functional aspect and an outer, visible mass, structure, and shape.
- Yang and Yin: Every being has the characteristics of yang and yin as attributes of Sungsang and Hyungsang. Yang and yin are at work both in space and in time. Beauty is manifested through the harmony of yang and yin.
- Subject and Object: Every being exists through performing give and receive action between correlative elements within itself and between itself and another being in the relationship of subject and object.
- Position and Settlement: Every being exists in a certain position. That is, an appropriate being is settled in each position.
- Unchangeability and Changeability: Every being has both unchanging and changing aspects. This is because every created being embodies the unity between the identity-maintaining four position foundation (static four position foundation) and the developmental four position foundation (dynamic four position foundation).
- Action and Effect: Whenever the correlative elements of subject and object in a being enter into give and receive action, an effect always appears. That is, through give and receive action those elements form a united being, or give rise to a new being (multiplied being).
- Time and Space: Every being is a temporal and spatial being, existing in time and space. This is because to exist is to form a four position foundation (a foundation in space) and to engage in the Origin-Division-Union Action (an action in time).
- Number and Principle: Every being is a mathematical being, and at the same time a law-governed being. In other words, in every being, numbers are always united with laws, or principles.
- Finite and Infinite: Every being has the aspect of being finite while at same time possessing an aspect of being infinite: Every being is a momentary being and at the same time endures by carrying out circular movement.
These ten are the most basic forms of existence and are established on the basis of the four position foundation, give and receive action, and Origin-Division-Union Action as explained in the Divine Principle. These are the forms of existence of all things, which are the objects of cognition, and at the same time they are the forms of existence of the components of the physical body of the human being, who is the subject of cognition.
The mental forms corresponding to these forms of existence are the forms of thought. That is, (1) existence and force, (2) Sungsang and Hyungsang, (3) yang and yin, (4) subject and object, (5) position and settlement, (6) unchangeability and changeability, (7) action and effect, (8) time and space, (9) number and principle, and (10) finite and infinite are, just as they are, the forms of thought. The forms of existence are material forms of relation, whereas the forms of thought (mental) are basic concepts, which are the forms of relationships among ideas.
Of course, there can be other forms of existence and forms of thought in addition to those mentioned above, which are the most basic in the Unification Thought perspective. It is not true that the forms of thought are, as Kant maintained, unrelated to existence; also, it is not at all the case that the forms of existence of the external world reflect, or give rise to, the forms of thought, as is stated in Marxism. Human beings, themselves, from the very beginning, are equipped with forms of thought, which correspond to the forms of existence appearing in the external world. For example, because human beings are themselves beings with temporal and spatial natures from the very beginning, they possess the forms of thought of time and space, and because they are themselves beings with subjectivity and objectivity, they possess the forms of thought of subject and object. Thus, human beings are endowed with forms of thought, which precisely correspond to the forms of existence.
D. Method of Cognition
Give and Receive Action
In the Divine Principle it is stated that when subject and object elements of an entity are engaged in give and receive action, forming a common base, this action generates “all the forces the entity needs for existence, multiplication and action” (DP, 22). Here “multiplication,” in a broader sense of the term, means coming into being, generation, increase, and development. “Action” means movement, change, reaction, and so on. Since cognition means the acquisition or increase of knowledge, it can be included in the concept of “multiplication” through give and receive action. Accordingly, the proposition can be established that cognition takes place through give and receive action between subject and object.
“Subject” in cognition refers to a person with certain conditions, namely, an interest in the object and appropriate prototypes; “object,” on the other hand, refers to all things having content (attributes) and form (forms of existence). Cognition takes place through the give and receive action between these two parties.
Formation of Four Position Foundation
Give and receive action between subject and object always takes place centering on a purpose, and cognition occurs as a result of give and receive action. Therefore, cognition is accomplished through the formation of a four position foundation (fig. 9.1).
The four position foundation is composed of four positions, namely, the center, subject, object, and result. Each of these will be explained next.
It is purpose that becomes the center of give and receive action. In purpose one can find the principle purpose and the daily, more ordinary purpose. The principle purpose refers to the purpose of creation for which God created humankind and all things. From the perspective of created beings, this is the purpose for which they were created. In God’s purpose of creation, Heart (love) was the motivation for creation. Therefore, the original way of cognition for human beings is, also, to cognize all things with love as the motivation.
The purpose of creation (purpose of being created) consists of the Sungsang purpose and Hyungsang purpose, each of which consists of the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual. For human beings, the purpose for the whole in cognition is to acquire knowledge for the sake of serving one’s neighbors, society, nation, and the world, while the purpose for the individual is to acquire knowledge for the sake of the individual’s life of food, clothing, shelter, and cultural life. On the other hand, the purpose for the whole of all things, which are the objects of cognition, is to give knowledge and beauty to human beings and to give them joy by receiving dominion from them, whereas the purpose for the individual of all things is to be recognized and loved by human beings, as well as to maintain their existence and growth. However, due to the human fall, things can not fully fulfill their purpose of creation (the purpose for being created), and have been “groaning in travail together until now” (Rom. 8:22).
The daily (or actual) purpose refers to the individual purpose based on the principle purpose, namely, the purpose of each person in his or her daily life. For example, a botanist observing nature will acquire knowledge from the perspective of occupying an academic position; a painter observing this same nature will probably acquire knowledge from the position of pursuing beauty. Also, an economist may try to acquire knowledge about nature from the viewpoint of conducting business by developing nature. All of them do so in order to obtain joy. In this way, even though the principle purpose may be the same, the daily purpose for each individual person differs from person to person.
In cognition, the subject’s interest in the object is one of the requisites for the subject. Without interest, no common base can be established, and no give and receive action can take place. Consider, for instance, the case of a person walking down the street who happens to cross the path of a friend. If the person’s mind is deeply absorbed in thought, the friend may pass by totally unnoticed. Also, the wife of a lighthouse attendant may not be awakened by the noise of the waves, but she can easily be awakened by the sound of a crying child, which may actually be much softer than the sound of the waves. The reason the noise of the waves is not perceived is that the wife has no real interest in that; in contrast, the sound of the crying child is more easily perceived because she is always concerned about it.
On the other hand, it is also often the case that we recognize things by chance. An obvious example is that, even though we may not expect it, we may suddenly see lightning and hear the sound of thunder. In such a case, it might seem that cognition takes place even if the subject has no interest. Even in this case, however, interest is always at work, though perhaps only unconsciously (or subconsciously). All of us remember, in the years of childhood, when we faced everything with a fresh sense of wonder and curiosity. This wonder and curiosity derive from our interest. When we visit a new place for the first time, we usually look at everything with a great deal of interest. As time goes by, however, we become familiar with the place, and our interest recedes to the subconscious mind. Yet, even then, interest is not gone completely, but is at work in the subconscious mind.
According to the Divine Principle, all things were created as objects to the human being, and the human being was created as the subject (the ruler) over all things. The human being, who is the subject, exerts dominion with love over all things, the objects, whereby he or she engages in appreciation and cognition of them. Therefore, all things are equipped with elements that enable them to become objects of beauty and objects of cognition. Those elements are the attributes of all things (which are the content) and the forms of existence of all things (which are the form). Such “content” and “form” are requisites that all things must have. They are not something that all things have acquired by themselves; rather, they have been endowed by God with these elements.
The human being is the integration of all things and a miniature of the universe (or microcosm); therefore, as a microcosm, the human being is equipped with the content and form that corresponds to the content and form of all things. As objects of cognition, there are all things in nature, as well as things, events, and persons in human society.
When a subject and an object engage in give and receive action, centering on a purpose, a result comes into being. In order to understand the nature of this result, we need to understand the nature of the four position foundation. As is explained in the Theory of the Original Image, the four position foundation can be classified into four kinds: inner identity-maintaining four position foundation, outer identity-maintaining four position foundation, inner developmental four position foundation, and outer developmental four position foundation. Cognition is basically the process of collating and uniting, through give and receive action, the “content and form” of the subject and the “content and form” of the object. When that happens, an identity-maintaining four position foundation is formed. On the other hand, a developmental four position foundation is formed in the case of the human activity of dominion.
Cognition is closely associated with dominion. There is no dominion without cognition, and there is no cognition without dominion. Cognition and dominion form reciprocal circuits of give and receive action between human beings and all things. That is to say, the process of cognition is one circuit (from the object to the subject), and the process of dominion is the other circuit (from the subject to the object). Then, let us examine the relationship between the developmental four position foundation in dominion and the identity-maintaining four position foundation in co-gnition. Dominion here refers to the exercise of one’s creativity; therefore, the four position foundation in dominion is the same as the four position foundation in creation.
As explained in the Theory of the Original Image, God created all things through the two stages of creation, namely, the formation of the inner developmental four position foundation (i.e., the formation of Logos) and the formation of the outer developmental four position foundation. In this sequential process, first the inner developmental four position foundation was formed, and then the outer developmental four position foundation was formed. Thus, all things were created in sequence, “from the inner to the outer four position foundations.” In contrast, in the formation of the identity-maintaining four position foundation for cognition, first, the outer identity-maintaining four position foundation is formed, and then the inner identity-maintaining four position foundation is formed. Thus, cognition takes place in sequence, “from the outer to the inner four position foundations.”
Hence, cognition is accomplished as the result of the formation of the inner identity-maintaining four position foundation, whereby the external element and the internal element are collated. Then, more concretely, what is cognition? This will be clarified next.
E. Process of Cognition
We acquire various bits of knowledge through cognition, whereby cognition is accomplished through the three stages of formation, growth and completion, namely, a sensory stage, an understanding stage, and a rational stage, in the same manner as that in which all things grow through the three stages of formation, growth, and completion.
1. Sensory Stage of Cognition
This is the formation stage of cognition. In this stage the outer identity-maintaining four position foundation is first formed. Centering on either a conscious or an unconscious purpose, give and receive action between the subject (human being) and the object (all things) takes place, and the content and form of the object are reflected in the sensory centers of the subject, thus forming an image, or an “idea.” This sense content and sense form can be called the “sense image” (fig. 9.2), which is the image existing in the sensory stage of cognition. Even though the subject may have interest and prototypes at this stage, the prototypes are not yet actively participating. The sense content and sense form at the sensory stage of cognition are only fragmentary images, which have not yet been unified as cognition of the object. Therefore, it is not yet clear what the object is.
2. Understanding Stage of Cognition
In the understanding stage of cognition, or the growth stage of cognition, the inner identity-maintaining four position foundation is formed through the inner identity-maintaining give and receive action, and the fragmentary images transmitted in the sensory stage of cognition become a unified image of the object.
The purpose at the center of the inner identity-maintaining four position foundation is the same as the purpose at the center of the outer identity-maintaining four position foundation at the sensory stage of cognition. This is a principle purpose or an actual regular purpose. What comes into the position of subject here is the inner Sungsang, namely, the functional part of the mind, which, in cognition, is the unity of intellect, emotion, and will. Mind refers to the union of the spirit mind and the physical mind, which is the “original mind” of human beings; this is different in dimension from the instinct in animals.
In cognition, the spirit mind makes a judgment of value, while the physical mind manages sensation, and they jointly engage in the work of memory. Thus, the original mind, which is the unity of the spirit mind and physical mind, manages sensation and memory while oriented to values (truth, goodness, and beauty).
Here, we use the special term “spiritual apperception” to refer to the functional part of the mind in cognition. In cognition, the spiritual apperception, or inner Sungsang, functions as the power to apperceive, the power to make a comparison, the power to make a judgment of values, and the power to memorize, while in practice, it also functions as subjectivity and works as the power to realize values.
Next, what comes in the position of object in the inner four position foundation? First, the sense image, namely, the sense content and sense form that have been formed in the outer four position foundation in the sensory stage of cognition, is transmitted to the position of the object in the inner four position foundation, that is, to the inner Hyungsang. Then the protoimage and the form of thought (that is, the prototype) corresponding to the sense content and sense form are drawn by the spiritual apperception from within the memory. These two elements, namely, the sense image and the prototype are held in the inner Hyungsang.
Under these circumstances, give and receive action of the collation type takes place. This is so because the spiritual apperception, which is the subject, compares the two elements (i.e., the prototype and the sense image) and makes a judgment as to their agreement or disagreement, whereby the inner identity-maintaining four position foundation is formed as shown in fig. 9.3. Cognition takes place through this judgment, which is called “collation” in Unification epistemology. Thus, we come to the conclusion that cognition, per se, takes place through collation. Consequently, Unification epistemology is a “theory of collation” in terms of method, whereas Marxist epistemology was a “theory of reflection” and Kant’s epistemology was a “theory of synthesis.”
Sometimes, however, cognition may not be sufficiently well established through a single cognitive process (inner give and receive action) at the understanding stage. In such a case, inner give and receive action continues together with practice (i.e., experiments, observations, experiences, etc.) until a new, and sufficiently clear, cognition is obtained.
3. Rational Stage of Cognition
Next is the rational stage of cognition, which is the completion stage cognition. Reason refers to the ability to think by means of concepts and ideas. Reason operates as the function of judgment and conceptualization in the understanding stage, while in the rational stage, new knowledge is obtained through reasoning on the basis of the knowledge obtained in the understanding stage.
Cognition in the rational stage is what is called thinking. This corresponds to the formation of Logos (a plan) through the inner develop-mental four position foundation in the Original Image. Thinking takes place through give and receive action within the mind, which is collation type give and receive action. That is, necessary elements are chosen from among the various ideas, concepts, mathematical principles, laws, and so on, already existing in the inner Hyungsang, and under the influence of the inner Sungsang, various mental operations, such as association, separation, synthesis, and analysis, are performed, utilizing those elements.
These operations are all performed on the foundation of give and receive action of the collation type; in other words, the inner Sungsang compares idea and idea, concept and concept, and so forth, whereby new ideas or concepts are acquired. For example, one might compare the idea of “man” and the idea of “boy,” and if they are related to each other, one arrives at the new idea of “father and son.” For another example, one compares the idea of “society” and the idea of “system,” and if they are related to each other, one can arrive at a new concept, “social system.” Thus, operations using ideas refers to the acquisition of a new idea or a new concept from the various ideas and concepts contained within the inner Hyungsang. Knowledge increases through the repetition of such operations. In these operations (inner give and receive actions) as well, the inner Sungsang functions as spiritual apperception. Cognition in the rational stage is the formation of the inner developmental four position foundation (fig. 9.4).
In the rational state of cognition, acquisition of new knowledge takes place continually through completing each stage of judgment. That is to say, each new bit of knowledge that is obtained (completed judgment) is transmitted, in turn, to the inner Hyungsang, and can be used in the formation of new knowledge at the next stage. This is the way knowledge develops. That is, knowledge develops by repeating the formation of the inner four position foundation (fig. 9.5).
Development of this kind of inner four position foundation takes place together with practice. The result (new being) obtained through practice is passed on to the inner Hyungsang of the Sungsang (inner four position foundation), and is used for the acquisition of new knowledge. When new knowledge is obtained, its truth can be tested through yet another instance of practice. In this way, repetitive instances of practice, that is, repetitive formations of outer four position foundations, take place together with the development of inner four position foundations for cognition (fig. 9.6).
F. Process of Cognition and Physiological Conditions
Unification epistemology is a theory based on Divine Principle and Unification Thought. Therefore, it is inevitable that this epistemology may contain concepts and terms different from those of traditional epistemologies. However, if any assertion of Unification epistemology turns out to be contradictory to established scientific theories, then it will stand as nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim, just as was true for many past epistemologies, and its universal validity will not be ascertained.
Traditional epistemologies, such as empirical, rational, transcendental, and materialist epistemologies, have shown themselves to be theories having little if anything to do with accepted scientific knowledge; in other words, it has been proven that they are in disagreement with established scientific views. Consequently, they have little persuasiveness today, in view of the great development the sciences have achieved. This section offers evidence to show that Unification epistemology is, in fact, a valid theory, and that it is supported by scientific knowledge. Let me elaborate on this.
Unification Thought asserts that all things have dual characteristics, namely, Sungsang and Hyungsang, since they are created in the likeness of the dual characteristics of the Original Image. The human being is a dual being of mind and body; and cells, tissues, and organs making up the human body are united beings of mental and physical elements as well. Furthermore, all human actions and operations are dual―which means that psychological and physiological actions are always at work in parallel. Therefore, from the perspective of Unification Thought, in cognition as well, psychological and physiological processes are always at work in parallel. This means that mental action occurs through the give and receive action between mind and brain (fig. 9.7). Here, mind refers to the union of the spirit mind (mind of the spirit self) and the physical mind (mind of the physical self).
Wilder Penfield (1891-1976), a world-renowned authority in the study of the brain, compared the brain to a computer, saying that “the brain is a computer, and the mind is a programmer.” Another renowned researcher of the brain, John C. Eccles (1903-1997), also said that the mind and the brain are different things, and that it is necessary to grasp the mind-brain problem as the interaction between the mind and the brain. Their assertions are in accord with the view of Unification Thought that mental activities are made through the give and receive action between the mind and the brain.
The Elements that Correspond to Protoconsciousness and Protoimage
Next, certain scientific views can be cited that arguably support the concepts of protoconsciousness and protoimage, concepts unique to Unification epistemology. As explained before, protoconsciousness is the cosmic consciousness which has permeated the cells and tissues of living things, that is to say, it is life; and protoimage is the image reflected on the protoconsciousness, which is a film of consciousness. Protoconsciousness is purposeful consciousness, and protoimage is information. This means that cells have purposeful consciousness and perform certain functions on the basis of information contained in them.
Let us verify protoconsciousness and protoimage from the standpoint of the theory of cybernetics. Cybernetics is the science of the transmission and control of information in living beings and automatic machines. In living beings, bits of information are transmitted through sense organs to nerve centers, which integrate them and send proper instructions, through peripheral nerves, to effectors (muscles). This is regarded as one of the phenomena of cybernetics in living beings, which is similar to the automatic operation of a machine.
When we look at even a single cell, we can see cybernetic phenomena taking place within it. That is to say, a continuous repetition of the trans-mission of information from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and a response back to it from the nucleus is made autonomously in a cell, whereby the cell exists and multiplies. Accordingly, based on these phenomena of cybernetics, we can find autonomy even in a single cell. The autonomy of a cell is none other than life and protoconsciousness.
The French physiologist Andrée Goudet-Perrot, for example, explains in Cybernétique et Biologie that the cell nucleus, which contains the source of the cell’s information, gives instructions to the cytoplasmic organelles (mitochondria, Golgi complex, etc.) so that they may carry out the chemical reactions necessary for the life of the cell. The cell’s information includes all the information concerning the anatomical shapes and essential functions of living beings.
Here, the following questions may arise. First, the code (information) must be decoded and memorized, but what is the subject that decodes and memorizes these codes? Second, in order for the cell nucleus to issue instructions to cause the chemical reactions necessary for the life of the cell, the nucleus must be accurately aware of the situation inside the cell. What is the subject of this awareness?
These questions can not be answered exclusively from the position of science (physiology) alone, since science deals only with phenomeno-logical aspects. Unification Thought, however, with its theory of dual characteristics, can clearly state that there is a purposeful element of Sung-sang, namely, consciousness, working within the cell. The consciousness within the cell is protoconsciousness (inner Sungsang), and the information is the protoimage (inner Hyungsang).
Correspondence of Psychological and Physiological Processes in the Three Stages of Cognition
As discussed above, the three stages of cognition are the sensory stage, the understanding stage, and the rational stage. According to cerebral physiology, there are physiological processes corresponding to these three stages of cognition.
The cerebral cortex can roughly be divided into three areas, namely, the sensory area, which receives signals from the sense organs; the motor area, which sends out the signals related to voluntary movements; and the association areas, which are divided into frontal, parietal, and temporal association areas. It is believed that the frontal association area is concerned with the functions of will, creation, thinking, and emotion; the parietal association area is concerned with the functions of perception, judgment, and understanding; and the temporal association area is connected with the mechanism of memory.
First, the information about sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch is transmitted through peripheral nerves to the sensory areas of the visual sense, the auditory sense, the gustatory sense, the olfactory sense, and the tactile sense (somatic sensory), respectively. The physiological process that takes place in the sensory area corresponds to the sensory stage of cognition. Next, the information from the sensory areas is gathered in the parietal association area, where it is understood and judged. This process corresponds to cognition in the understanding stage. Based on this understanding and judgment, thinking is carried out in the frontal association area, where creative activities are carried out. This process corresponds to the rational stage of cognition. In this way, the three stages of cognition have corresponding physiological processes within the brain (fig. 9.8).
Correspondence between Psychological Processes and Physiological Processes in the Transmission of Information
In the human body there are functions operating constantly to receive various bits of information from both the outside and inside of the body, to process these bits of information, and to respond to them. The stimulation received by a receptor (sense organ such as eyes, ears, skin, etc.) becomes an impulse and passes through the afferent path of the nerve fiber to reach the central nerves. The central nerves process that information and send out an instruction, which is transmitted as an impulse through the efferent path of the nerve fiber to the effector which responds to it (fig. 9.9).
When a response toward the stimulation takes place in a manner that is unrelated to consciousness at the higher center, it is called a reflex. The spinal cord, medulla oblongata, and midbrain, are reflex centers, sending appropriate orders in response to stimulation.
Once a bit of information has entered the body through a receptor, how is it transmitted? The information that has entered through a receptor becomes a nerve impulse, which is an electrical impulse. A nerve impulse is a change in the electrical potential across the membrane between the excited and non-excited parts of the nerve fiber. The nerve impulse moves along the nerve fiber. The change in the electrical potential that takes place at that moment is called an “action potential.”
The inside of the membrane of a nerve fiber is negatively charged in an unstimulated state, but when an impulse passes through it, this charge is reversed, and the inside becomes positively charged. This phenomenon takes place when sodium ions (Na+) flow into the membrane from the outside. Then, when potassium ions (K+) flow out from the inside of the membrane, the balance of charge is restored to its former state (i.e., a negatively charged state). In this way, a change in the electrical potential across the membrane takes place and moves along the nerve fiber (fig. 9.10).
Next, how is a nerve impulse transmitted across the gap between neurons, namely, at a synapse? There the electrical impulse is converted into a discharge of chemical transmitter substances and moves through the gap of the synapse. When these substances reach the next neuron, the chemical process is again converted into an electrical process. In other words, an electrical signal in the nerve fiber is converted into a chemical signal at the synapse, and when it reaches the next neuron it is converted back into an electrical signal. The transmitter substance in the synapse is said to be acetylcholine in motor and parasympathetic nerves, and noradrenaline in sympathetic nerves. The mechanism for the transmission of information explained here may be expressed in a diagram as in fig. 9.11.
The above explanation is the physiological process of the transmission of information, but from the perspective of Unification Thought, there is always a conscious process in parallel with a physiological one. That is, associated with substances at the synapse, there is always protoconsciousness at work, perceiving the content of the information and transmitting it to the center. In other words, protoconsciousness can be seen as the bearer of information. In sum, it can be understood that the occurrence of the action current in the nerve fiber and the chemical material at the synapse are accompanied by protoconsciousness, which is the bearer of information.
It has already been explained that the corresponding elements of protoimage and image of relation are the content of cells and tissues and the mutual relationships among these elements. We call the protoimage and image of relation in the cell and the tissue the “terminal protoimage” and the “terminal image of relation,” respectively. On the other hand, we can call the protoimage and the image of relation that arise at the understanding stage of cognition the “central protoimage” and the “central image of relation,” respectively.
In the process whereby the terminal protoimages reach the higher center through nerve paths, they undergo selection at each level of the central nervous system and are combined, associated, and arranged, to form central protoimages. In the case of the terminal images of relation as well, they undergo selection at each level of the central nervous system and are combined, associated, and arranged, to form the central images of relation, which, when they reach the cerebral cortex, become the forms of thought. Here, each level of the central nervous system stores the protoimages and images of relation appropriate to its own level.
Among the elements from which prototypes are composed, there are also the empirical images (or ideas), in addition to the protoimages and forms of thought. These empirical images are the images (ideas) gained through past experiences and stored in the memory center. They constitute a part of the prototypes, which can be used for later cognition. As mentioned before, protoimages and images of relation together are called a priori prototypes, or original prototypes, and the empirical images are called the empirical prototypes.
As information is passed upwards from the lower to the higher levels, the amount of information received in the central nervous system (input), and the amount given out (output) increases. At the same time, the ways of processing information become more inclusive and universal. This is similar to an administrative organization: the higher the level, the greater the amount of information dealt with and the more inclusive and universal the way of processing that information.
In the highest center, namely, the cerebral cortex, the reception of information is cognition; the storage of information is memory; and the output of information is thinking (conception), creation, and practice. Although it is different in dimension, the integration at the lower centers is similar to that at the cerebral cortex. Purposive integration by consciousness is exercised at each center. The purposive integration consists of physiological and mental integrations. To put this in another way, at each level of the central nervous system, physiological integration is accompanied by mental integration. In other words, the physiological process of transmitting information (nerve impulses) in the central nerves is always accompanied by psychological processes of judgment, memory, conception, and so on.
As for the transmission of the images of relation (images of form), the fact that the processing of information becomes increasingly universal as it goes from the lower to the higher centers means that, as particular terminal images of relation are passed on to the higher centers (whereby various types of information are simplified and classified), those images of relation gradually become universalized and generalized. At the point of reaching the cerebral cortex, they have been completely conceptualized into the forms of thought, or categories. This is also similar to administrative organizations: the lower the level, the more individual and particular the information is; the higher the level, the more general and universal it becomes.
Prototypes and Physiology
Prototypes are the ideas and concepts possessed in advance by the subject at the time of cognition, and can also be called memory. It has previously been explained that the human being possesses a priori prototypes (original prototypes) and empirical prototypes, which can also be expressed―borrowing physiological expressions―as “hereditary memory” and “acquired memory,” the latter gained through experience.
The “hereditary memory” which is the information concerning the cells and tissues of a human being as a living being, is believed to be stored in the limbic system―that part of the cerebrum that consists of the older cortex, covered by the new cortex, according to cerebral physiology. Then, how and where is the “acquired memory” stored?
Memory can be divided into short-term memory, which lasts only a few seconds, and long-term memory, which lasts from several hours to several years. Short-term memory is believed to be based on an electrical reverberating circuit. With regard to long-term memory, two theories have been proposed, i.e., the “neuron circuit theory” and the “memory substance theory.” The neuron circuit theory is the view that each memory is stored in a particular network of neuron circuits, whose junctions (synapses) receive changes through the repeated nerve impulse. The memory substance theory is the view that such memory substances as RNA, peptides, etc., have something to do with each memory. Recently, however, the number of researchers who advocate the memory substance theory is decreasing.
As for the area in which the long-term memory is stored, it is considered to be as follows: There is a part of the limbic system called the hippocampus, which is located within the cerebrum. This hippocampus first plays a role in the initial processing of the information to be memorized, and then the memory is thought to be stored in the new cortex (temporal lobe) for a long time. That is, memory is believed to be stored in the temporal lobe through the hippocampus.
Goudet-Perrot explains that in cognition, such memory (stored knowledge) is collated with the information of an object in the external world coming through the sense organs, and is judged: “The information received by the sensory receptors is collated with the knowledge that was acquired by the sensory center in the cerebral cortex and was stored in memory, and judgment is made.” This view is in accord with the position of Unification Thought whereby information coming from the external world is collated with prototypes (inner images), and is judged as to whether it is in agreement or in disagreement with the prototypes.
Encoding of Ideas and Ideation of Codes
In the process whereby a human subject cognizes an object, the information coming from the object, upon contacting the sense organs, becomes an impulse, which is a kind of code. This impulse is then ideated in the sensory center in the cerebral cortex and is reflected on the mirror of the consciousness as an image (an idea). This is the “ideation of a code.” On the other hand, in the case of practice, an action is taken based on a certain idea. In this case, the idea becomes an impulse, passes through motor nerves, and moves an effector (muscle). This is the “encoding of an idea,” since an impulse is a kind of code.
According to cerebral physiology, an idea comes into being through cognition and is stored in a specific area of the brain as memory, encoded as a particular pattern of combinations of neurons. In order to recall a particular memory thus encoded, consciousness decodes the code and understands it as an idea. That is, in the storage and the recollection of memory, the “encoding of ideas” and the “ideation of codes” seem to be carried out. With regard to this matter, neurophysiologists M. S. Gazzaniga and J. E. LeDoux have stated the following:
Our experiences are indeed multifaceted, and it is our view that different aspects of experience are differentially stored in the brain…. We may be faced with the fact that memory storage, encoding, and decoding is a multifaceted process that is multiply represented in the brain.
This kind of mutual conversion between an idea and a code can be regarded as a type of induction phenomenon arising between the Sung-sang-type mental coil, which carries the idea, and the Hyungsang-type physical coil (neurons), which carries the code, just as electricity moves between the first coil and the second coil through induction. The mutual conversion of an idea and a code provides support for the assertion that cognition is carried out through give and receive action between psychological and physiological processes.