V. An Appraisal of Traditional Theories of Education from the Perspective of Unification Thought

Let us now briefly appraise these traditional theories of education from the standpoint of Unification Thought.

For Plato, the image of the ideal person is that of a philosopher who has recognized the “Idea of the Good.” Plato thought that if such a philosopher were to govern the state, an ideal state would come about. In the Age of ancient Greece, however, no such philosopher ever emerged who could govern the state, and the Idea of the Good was not realized in the city-state (polis). Moreover, after the coming of the Age of Hellenism, the Idea of the Good collapsed together with the city-states. That was because the Idea of the Good was too ambiguous. Unless God’s purpose for creating the universe and humankind is well clarified, the standard of goodness will remain ambiguous, and therefore, the Idea of the Good can not be actualized.

Christianity in the Middle Ages advocated a kind of education that could raise people to love God and their neighbors. Yet, that love was “agape,” that is, the sacrificial love that was displayed in Jesus’ crucifixion. Such questions as to why God’s love must be such a sacrificial love, and why human beings must love one another were not clarified. Accordingly, it was difficult for such a Christian view of education to guide people of the modern period, who were more awakened to actual human nature.

Education in the Renaissance period can be highly esteemed in that it liberated human nature, which had been oppressed; but from the mid-sixteenth century on, it gradually became formalized into a mere study of the classics. It also leaned toward human-centeredness and gradually lost its religious morality.

Comenius said that the role of education was to draw out the natural gift (nature) inherent in every person. It is not clear, however, what that gift was. There is also a problem with his concept of pansophia, according to which the acquisition of true knowledge would lead to virtue and faith. From the viewpoint of Unification Thought, true intellectual education can be established only on the basis of being educated about heart and norm. Still, the three kinds of education advocated by Comenius have something in common with the education of heart, the education of norm, and the education of dominion in the Unification Theory of Education.

Rousseau also advocated raising people in a natural way, but his concept of “nature” within the individual was too ambiguous. Furthermore, there is a problem in his definition of human nature as unconditionally good. He advocated bringing up children in a natural way, but without the education of heart and the education of norm centered on God’s love (Heart), it is impossible to raise children as they naturally are and to lead them to become human beings as originally intended.

Kant attached importance to moral education. But his moral education had no solid foundation because God, who should be the foundation of morality, was conceived by him as an entity that is merely requested to exist, but of whose actual existence Kant himself was uncertain. Also, Kant dealt with morality only as a norm for individuals, but that is insufficient. Ethics, which is the norm for mutual relationships among human beings, is just as important as morality.

Pestalozzi asserted that three kinds of education, namely, an education of knowledge, a moral and religious education, and a technical education, should be unified through love. This assertion resembles the idea in Unification Thought of the education of norm and the education of dominion based on the education of heart. (Pestalozzi’s education of knowledge and technical education correspond to the education of dominion in Unification Thought, and his moral and religious education corresponds to the education of norm in Unification Thought.) His idea for education with an emphasis on the “whole man” and his assertion that family education should be the foundation of education are also in accord with the Unification Theory of Education. Nevertheless, the point that the purpose of education is the fulfillment of the three great blessings was not clarified in his theory of education. Also, his understanding of God, who is the foundation for moral-religious education, was not sufficient. For these reasons, Pestalozzi’s theory of education never became solidly established.

A similar comment can be made about Froebel, who inherited Pestalozzi’s theory of education. For Froebel, the “whole man with a divine nature” was the image of the ideal person. This is in perfect accord with the viewpoint of the Unification Theory of Education, which says that the essence of education is to teach children to grow to resemble God.

Herbart considered representations and their mutual relationships to be the origin of all spiritual activities, such as emotion and will, and asserted that moral character can be built by cultivating a circle of thought. From the viewpoint of Unification Thought, however, it is not by cultivating one’s thinking that morality is actualized. Morality can be actualized when people pursue the value of goodness and observe proper norms, centering on heart (love).

Dewey did not recognize any purpose in education, but emphasized only growth and progress. Emphasis on growth and progress, however, without clarifying purpose, can not solve human alienation and social problems. In fact, today, as science and civilization develop, many social ills have emerged in societies in the United States of America where Dewey’s method of education has been practiced. Wholesome persons and societies can not be formed through the method of practical technical education proposed by Dewey, unless such education is based on an education of heart and an education of norm.

Marxism-Leninism regarded capitalist education as the “bourgeoisie’s tool for class rule” and advocated Communist education as the “proletariat’s tool for dictatorship.” That is simply a view of education from the perspective of regarding human society in terms of class struggle. Since such Communist theories as dialectical and historical materialism have been found erroneous, the Communist view of education based on these theories is likewise wrong.

Marxism-Leninism asserted that the aim of education was to raise an “all-round, fully developed person,” but this did not refer to the personality of an individual whose faculties of intellect, emotion, and will are developed in a well-balanced manner; instead, it referred simply to a laborer with fully developed skills, so that he or she can engage in any kind of labor. Moreover, Marxism-Leninism insisted on general technical education, but since it placed emphasis on labor, this general technical education was no more than education in working skills. Moreover, collective education has come to oppress the dignity of human individuality and freedom.

Finally, a democratic education is based on the value and dignity of the individual. Yet, too much emphasis on the rights of the individual has given rise to a tendency toward individualism and egoism. Also, since it upholds human nature on the basis of humanism, its views on values have become relativistic. As a result, social disorder has become unavoidable. Only when an education of heart and an education of norm, based on God’s absolute love, are practiced, can the value and dignity of the individual be firmly established, and social harmony and order maintained.