Resembling the relationship of subject and object in the Original Image, human beings exist in the positions of subject and object. When people are born, they start out as children in the position of object to their parents. After growing, they become parents themselves and stand in the position of subject to their children. In social life, too, people start out from a lower position and gradually rise to a higher position. Thus, human beings stand first in the object position, and then gradually grow to stand in the subject position.
A. Object Position
The object position is the position from which to receive the dominion of the subject figure, and at the same time it has its significance in being the position from which to return joy to the subject figure. The human being was created as the object partner of joy before God. Accordingly, the primary significance of the life of a human being, who is in the object position to God, is to please God.
Human beings stand first in the position of an object before God; therefore, they come to stand in the object position to those who stand in a position representing God. Those who stand in a position representing God are, for example, the president or king (to the people), parents (to their children), teachers (to their students), superiors (to their subordinates), the whole (to the individual), and so on. In other words, just as human beings are the object partners to God, so too the people are the object partners to their president or king, children are the object partners to their parents, students are the object partners to their teachers, subordinates are the object partners to their superiors, and individuals are the object partners to the whole.
A human being lives engaged in relationships with various subject figures. Since a person in the object position is to receive the dominion of his or her subject figure, a certain mental attitude, an “object consciousness” toward the subject figure is necessary. Object consciousness toward God is a heart of attendance and loyalty. Object consciousness toward the sovereign or chief of state is loyalty. Children’s object consciousness toward their parents is filial piety. Students’ object consciousness toward their teachers is a respectful heart and obedient mind. Subordinates’ object consciousness toward their superiors is obedience. The object consciousness of an individual to the whole is having a mind of service. What these various types of object consciousness have in common is a heart of meekness and humility and an attitude of living for the sake of others.
In the fallen world, many dictators have appeared throughout history. They took advantage of people’s object consciousness by behaving as though they were the true subject figures before the people, and thus they came to receive people’s respect and support. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Ze- dong and Nicolae Ceausescu were major examples of this type of person. Yet, although false subject figures may be welcomed and prosper for a certain time, in the end they inevitably lose the support of the people. This is a fact proven by history. Since human beings were created as the children of God, they have in the depth of their hearts, consciously or unconsciously, the object consciousness of attending, being loyal to, and pleasing God. Such object consciousness can lead them even to the point of sacrificing their lives for God’s will. The spirit of martyrdom possessed by many religious people is a prime example. There is often the case in which some followers are even willing to offer their lives for the sake of their leader. This is a case in which the object consciousness is expressed to the extreme.
Unfortunately, people are often mistaken about who their true subject figure is; thus, they have often been deceived by false subject figures such as dictators, and have sometimes followed them blindly, bringing disastrous social results. Therefore, for people to meet a true subject figure is a very difficult, but very important, matter.
Object consciousness is an essential element in ethics. In today’s society, however, object consciousness has almost become paralyzed, and there is a growing tendency for people to ignore the authority of subject figures. As a result, the order of subject and object is neglected, throwing society into confusion. Therefore, in establishing an ethical society, what needs to be done first, and foremost, is a reform of consciousness in order to establish true object consciousness.
B. Subject Position
The subject position refers to the position of the subject figure in exercising dominion over the object. Originally, as human beings grew and became perfected, they were to come naturally to stand in the position of subject, or the “subject position,” from which they were to have dominion over all things. However, the subject position referred to here is the position of subject in the various relationships among human beings. As already stated, examples of a subject figure in human life are as follows: In a family, parents are in the subject position to their children; in schools, teachers are in the subject position to students; in business, executives are in the subject position to subordinates; in a nation, the government is the subject to its people; furthermore, the whole is the subject to the individual. In exercising appropriate dominion over the object, it is necessary for the subject to have a certain mental attitude. The mental posture required of the subject toward the object is “subject consciousness.”
First, the subject figure must have a genuine concern for an object partner at all times. Human alienation, which is a serious problem today, results from the fact that the subject figure is not sincerely concerned for every aspect of life of their object partner. A lack of concern means that the subject figure does not assume responsibility for their object partner. When that happens, the object partner can easily come to distrust and disobey the subject figure. Therefore, on the part of the subject figure, there can be no excuse for neglecting an object partner.
Second, the subject figure must love the object partner. Traditionally, ruling over the object partner, or giving orders to him or her may have been considered the way of showing subject consciousness, but in reality that is not the proper way. True dominion over an object partner is to actively love him or her. Love is the source of happiness, ideals, joy, and life. Therefore, when a subject figure loves an object partner, he or she becomes loyal and obedient to the subject. Therefore, just as God loves humankind, the object partners of God, so too must every subject figure love his or her object partners.
Third, a subject figure must exercise proper authority. The subject figure should love the object partner, but if a leader is always lenient when dealing with subordinates, authority can not easily be established. If the leader does not exercise authority, the subordinate will lose his or her seriousness and willingness to work. Therefore, it is necessary for the subject figure to maintain proper authority while loving the object partner. This means that love has not only a warm aspect, like spring, but also a strict aspect, like winter. Such a strict love, integrated with authority, enhances the trust, the sense of belonging, and the heart of obedience of the object partner toward the subject figure, and their desire to work. “Strict love with authority” is, in other words, an “authority with love.”
Thus, the subject figure needs a certain authority, and yet it is not good for him or her to have an excessive consciousness of such authority. Love can not dwell in such authority. If authority is exercised too strongly, the subordinate will be intimidated and thus become unable to exhibit creativity. True authority makes those in the subordinate position feel thankful, even when they might be reprimanded by their superiors. This kind of authority is true authority, namely, an authority with love.
This is certainly true of God. God is a being of love, while at the same time, a being of authority. For example, we see in the Bible the classic case that when Abraham failed in his attempt to offer a heifer, a ram and a she-goat, a dove and a pigeon, God ordered him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. But when Abraham, in obedience to God’s order, was about to make the offering of Isaac, God stopped him and said, “Now I know that you fear God” (Gen. 22:12). This has the same meaning as, “since you ignored my authority, I asked you to offer your son as a sacrifice, in order to let you acknowledge it.” In this way, God never wishes us to look upon Him easily as the God of love, or to call on Him without good reason. Rather, He wishes us to fear Him, as He is the God of authority.
As a final point, let us consider the subject position of human beings toward all things. As mentioned before, once human beings perfect themselves and inherit God’s Heart, they will exercise dominion over all things by expressing their creativity based on heart. In other words, with God’s love they come to have dominion over all things. When that happens, human beings will stand in the subject position over all things, in a true sense. This is in sharp contrast with the Marxist assertion that, when the means of production are nationalized and a planned economy is put into practice, then “[man] becomes the real, conscious lord of Nature.”
According to Marxism, human beings come to stand in the subject position of dominion over all things by implementing a planned economy. In other words, human beings come to stand in the position of dominion over all things through reforming the economy, not by means of love. In the past few decades, however, in the former Soviet Union, in China, and in other Communist countries, the economies collapsed due to unsuccessful economic policies and the resulting industrial stagnation. This tells us that Communism totally failed in its attempt to achieve dominion over all things. This highlights the limitation of the Marxist materialistic view of human nature; in other words, with such a materialistic view, people can not, in the true sense, stand in the subject position toward the creation.
C. “Connected Being Consciousness” and Democracy
Every person exists as a connected being in social life; so, everyone is both subject and object at the same time. In other words, every person is a being of both subject and object positions, or a being with a dual position. This fact can be summed up by the phrase, every person is in a “connected being position.” The connected being position possesses dual purposes, namely the purpose for the whole and the purpose for the individual. For example, in a working place, a person is in the subject position to his or her subordinates while, at the same time, in the object position to his or her superiors. Though someone may be in the highest possible position, that person still is in the object position to God. Therefore, in a strict sense, everyone is always a connected being. The mental attitude that a connected being should take is that of possessing both object consciousness and subject consciousness: this is called “connected being consciousness.”
As mentioned earlier, every person first stands in an object position, and then stands in a subject position. Therefore, in the connected being consciousness, priority should be given to one’s object consciousness. In other words, subject consciousness should be established only on the basis of object consciousness. This is what was originally intended. In fallen persons, however, when one stands in a subject position, he or she easily forgets the importance of object consciousness and, instead, gives priority solely to subject consciousness. Dictators are typical examples of this tendency. They consider themselves supreme, and then seek to do everything according to their own will. In contrast, in the original society, leaders would be very conscious that they are always in an object position before God―even if they might be occupying the highest social position―and so would never lose their humble attitude.
Next, let us give some consideration to the connected being consciousness in a democracy. The fundamental principles of democracy are majority rule and the equality of rights. These principles are based on natural rights, as proposed by John Locke (1632-1704). Contrary to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), whose view was that the natural state of human beings is “the war of all against all” (bellum omnium contra omnes), Locke argued that, since natural law exists in the natural state, people are free and equal by nature. He held that in the natural state people have natural rights, i.e., the power to preserve one’s life, liberty and estate.
The concept of natural law, upon which the concept of natural rights is established, originated from the Stoics in the ancient Greek period. One’s natural rights, under natural law, became the model for the establishment of the principles of modern democracy. Needless to say, natural rights here refers to those of the individual.
The theory of the equality of rights was originally derived from the Christian concept of “equality before God.” In other words, the equality of the rights of people is given by God, not by the state. The theory of the equality of rights is also the foundation upon which modern democracy was established. Equality before God refers to the “equality of all people as objects before God, the Subject.” Therefore, the theory of the equality of all people was originally based on object consciousness and, therefore, a consciousness of order.
Thus, democracy originally arose based on object consciousness. Yet, as it developed, the consciousness of God gradually faded in peoples’ minds and, with an excessive emphasis on individual rights, object consciousness gradually disappeared. Today, people are mostly interested in subject consciousness alone. As a result, human relations have generally developed among those with a strong sense of subject consciousness; in other words, relationships between subject and subject. This is an age in which any sense of order has largely been lost. A relationship between subject and subject is essentially that of mutual repulsion.
For a time, after its beginning, democracy achieved a comparatively sound development. The reason for this is that people maintained an object consciousness before God, in virtue of their Christian spirit. As time passed, however, Christianity gradually became more secularized, influenced by scientific developments and materialistic ideas, and lost its ability to guide the human spirit. In addition, along with the rapid industrialization of society, value perspectives were gradually shaken.
Along with these changes in the social environment, the foundation for the equality of rights was transformed from that of “equality before God” into that of “equality before the law.” As a result, the repulsive action between subject and subject, which has its seeds in democracy, surfaced, and various kinds of social confusion appeared. As stated above, the relationship between subject and subject is that of conflict. An example, from the natural world, is the repulsive action between positive electrical charges.
Therefore, equality of rights inevitably gives rise to conflicts, unless there is a buffering agent, like Christian love. Such disharmonies as conflicts, clashes, wars, and hatred occur in all parts of the world today. These are all manifestations of the repulsive action between subject and subject.
In other words, democracy, which claims an equality of rights, was imbued with elements of conflict from its very beginning. Consequently, the repulsive action was destined to surface eventually. Today, this latent conflict has fully surfaced: Murder, burglary, arson, terrorism, destruction, narcotics, injustice, corruption, deterioration of sexual morality, increase in divorce, collapse of the family, the AIDS epidemic, and sexual crimes are spreading to every democratic society. These are all phenomena arising from the collapse of values caused by the repulsive actions within democracy.
The key to solving this problem of the collapse of values in democratic societies lies in reviving a sense of object consciousness. In order to do so, we need to bring a sense of God, the true subject of humankind, back into peoples’ daily experience. We must also return to the original spirit with which modern democracy started, namely, the idea that all people are equal before God. To achieve these objectives, the first and most important step is to provide reasonable proof for the existence of God, so that people in our contemporary age can believe in and embrace Him.
If people come to genuinely believe in and embrace God, they will naturally come to respect their superiors in society as well. Also, those in superior positions will come to guide their subordinates with love. The government will love its people, and the people will become loyal to their government. When democracy, which has lost God, returns to being a democracy truly centered on God, the ills of today’s democratic society will be fundamentally resolved. Unification Thought refers to God-centered democracy as “Fraternalism centered on the Heavenly Father,” or simply “Heavenly Fatherism,” or “Fraternalism.” There can be no brothers and sisters without parents, nor parents without children (i.e., brothers and sisters).
Finally, let me explain about human dominion over all things. As His third blessing God ordered human beings to dominate all things. Therefore, if human beings had not fallen but had perfected themselves, they would have stood in the position of the rulers of all things. Dominion over all things, here, does not simply mean that human beings, as the lords of creation, dominate other things of creation. All human economic and technological activities, including primary, secondary, and tertiary industries belong to this dominion over all things. If so, then what should be the mental attitude of human beings who are enjoying dominion over all things? They should have a heart of love for all things, and take care of all things with warm care and concern; in other words, they should deal with, and manage, all things with love. This kind of dominion is in accordance with the Way of Heaven: if there is love, then all things will be very happy to receive the dominion of human beings.