VII. Establishing the New View of Value

As mentioned earlier, by this new view of value is meant an absolute view of value. Today’s value decline makes it urgent that a new view of value be established. It would be impossible, however, to prevent the phenomenon of the collapse of values by means of any relative view of value. Therefore, an absolute view of value must be established. This absolute view of value must be established on the basis of a clarification of the kinds of attributes God, who is absolute, possesses, and for what purpose (purpose of creation) and through which laws (Logos) God created human beings and the universe.

God created we human beings as object partners of His love, seeking to obtain joy through loving us. In order to please us, He created all things as object partners of love for us. Absolute values are the values of truth, goodness, and beauty based on God’s absolute love, that is, absolute truth, absolute goodness, and absolute beauty. Thus, this new view of value is established on the basis of absolute love.

The unification of the views of value means the unification of the various standards for the judgment of value (especially the value of goodness), making it clear that all virtues are simply diverse expressions of absolute value, and that ultimately, all virtues exist in order to actualize absolute love.

Clearly, then, it would be erroneous to think of this new view of value as an entirely new system, established at the cost of denying traditional views of value as found in Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, and so on. Rather, this new view of value is established on the basis of traditional values. Since the foundations upon which traditional values stood are collapsing, we need to rebuild those foundations and revive and strengthen traditional values so that they are invested with new vitality and persuasive power. That is how we can establish a new view of value. Next, in order to explain the absoluteness of this new view of value, I will present the theological, philosophical, and historical grounds upon which it stands.

A. Theological Ground for the New View of Absolute Value

A theological ground involves the question of whether or not the Absolute Being in the universe, referred to as God in Christianity, Heaven in Confucianism, Tathatā in Buddhism, Allah in Islam, and so on, truly exists, as well as the question of the nature of the relationship among these different appellations and their referents.

In order to address such questions, what must first be clarified are those questions of significant import in the traditional religions, such as why the Absolute Being created human beings and the universe in the first place. As already explained in the Theory of the Original Image, the reason why God created human beings and the universe is that God is a being of Heart. Heart is the “emotional impulse to seek joy through love.” Because of this impulse of His Heart, God created human beings as His object partners of love, and the universe as the environment in which human beings could live. Thus, understanding that God is a God of Heart, the reason for God’s creation can be explained very reasonably. Moreover, this becomes an important basis for affirming the existence of God.

God’s desire was for a human being to grow as the image of God. This is because, once we become an image of God, God’s joy can be realized to the highest degree. It is for this reason that God gave human beings the three great blessings, which meant that God directed man and woman to perfect their character, to perfect their family, and to perfect their qualifications for dominion over all things. Thus, God’s purpose of creation would be attained by human beings’ realizing the three great blessings. Seen from this point of view, we come to understand that the various virtues of the different religions can come into agreement with one another on the point of accomplishing the three great blessings as the way of realizing God’s purpose of creation.

B. Philosophical Ground for the New View of Absolute Value

The value systems of Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Islam emerged in the period from the sixth century BC to the seventh century AD. During that period of history, people tended to accept unconditionally the rule of authority figures, such as their king. In order for them to live, they had no other choice. Moreover, people in those days were not knowledgeable enough to offer theoretical criticisms of those teachings. Accordingly, it was natural for people to unconditionally obey the rule of authority: they accepted the teachings of Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, or Muhammad unconditionally, and followed them. In modern times, however, it has become more difficult to convey such values to people, because people now have a more rational, analytical, and logical way of thinking. Hence, it is necessary to modernize those values by providing them with rational explanations acceptable to present-day intellectuals.

Then, what kind of explanation is acceptable to twenty-first-century people? It is the natural-scientific method. Even ethical virtues could be accepted easily by present-day intellectuals, if they are supported by scientific laws.

It was customary in ancient Greece, and in the Orient, to study nature and thereby to determine a view of value or a view of life. In China, for example, Chu Hsi asserted the correspondence between natural law and ethical law, and said that natural law becomes the ethical law of human society. In modern times, even Marxism took a similar position, although it had a mistaken concept of natural law. Marxism emphasized the identity between natural law and social law (norms in social life) and thus asserted that both nature and society develop according to the dialectic.

As thus evident, in establishing a new view of value it is important to observe nature and the universe, ascertain the fundamental law at work therein, and incorporate it into a view of value. That is, we can clarify that the law inherent in the universe, namely, the Way of Heaven, becomes the standard for ethics and morality. This is what is meant by presenting the philosophical ground for absolute values.

Here arise such questions as whether or not natural law and ethical law correspond to each other, and whether or not natural law can be applied directly to ethical law. From the viewpoint of Unification Thought, all beings are equipped with the dual aspects of Sungsang and Hyungsang. Therefore, we are naturally led to the conclusion that ethical law, which is a Sungsang law, and natural law, which is a Hyungsang law, are in a relationship of correspondence. The important point here is how we can obtain a correct understanding of nature. As mentioned in Ontology, Marxist dialectics took, as its point of departure, an inaccurate understanding of nature and then concluded, also incorrectly, that nature develops through the struggle between opposites. As a result, the way of life derived from that wrong interpretation of nature became an incorrect way of life as well.

Seen from the viewpoint of Unification Thought, the fundamental law at work in the universe is not the dialectic, but rather it is the law of give and receive action, which, as stated in Ontology, has the following characteristics: (1) correlativity, (2) purposiveness and centrality, (3) order and position, (4) harmony, (5) individuality and relatedness, (6) identity-maintaining nature and developmental nature, and (7) circular motion. Thus, on the basis of these characteristics of the law of the universe, I will discuss the new Unification View of Value.

The universe has both a vertical order and a horizontal order. The moon revolves around the earth; the earth revolves around the sun; the solar system revolves around the nucleus of the galaxy; and the galaxy revolves around the center of the universe. This is the vertical order of the universe. On the other hand, centering on the Sun, the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all revolve in specified orbits. This is one of the horizontal order systems of the universe. These are all harmonious systems of order. There is no contradiction or conflict in these systems. A miniature of this order system of the universe is the family order. Therefore, in the family, too, both a vertical order and a horizontal order are established.

Corresponding to the vertical order of the family, vertical values come to be established. In the family the parents show benevolence to the children, and the children practice filial piety toward the parents. These are vertical values on the family level. When these values are applied to society and the nation, various kinds of vertical values can be derived. Clemency and good governance by the ruler toward the people; loyalty of the people toward their ruler; the teachers’ duty to their students; respect and obedience of students toward their teachers; protection of the junior by the senior; respect of the junior for the senior; the authority of superiors over their subordinates; the obedience of subordinates to their superiors; and so on.

Corresponding to the horizontal order of the family, horizontal values come to be established. In the family there is harmonious love between husband and wife and love among brothers and sisters. These, in turn, will expand as values toward colleagues, neighbors, compatriots, community, humankind, and so on. Accordingly, such values as reconciliation, tolerance, duty, fidelity, courtesy, modesty, mercy, cooperation, service, sympathy, and so on, come into being.

If such vertical and horizontal values are maintained well in society, then the society will remain peaceful and develop in a wholesome way. If not, society falls into disorder. Unlike what Communists often assert, these values are not merely relics from feudal society; rather, they are universal norms of conduct that human beings should observe eternally. This is because, just as the law of the universe is eternal, the law of human society is eternal, corresponding to the law of the universe.

Furthermore, the law of the universe has individuality, corresponding to which there are individual values as well. All individual beings in the universe participate in the universal order while maintaining their own unique characteristics. In human society as well, each person engages in mutual relationships with other people while maintaining his or her own character. Individual values include purity, honesty, righteousness, temperance, courage, wisdom, self-control, endurance, independence, self-help, autonomy, fairness, diligence, innocence, and so on. All of these are values for an individual’s self-cultivation.

Such vertical, horizontal, and individual values are not particularly new as virtues. They were taught by Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and others.Today, however, these values have lost their power to persuade people because their philosophical ground has been ambiguous. For that reason, we seek to revive these traditional values by providing them with a firm philosophical basis.

C. Historical Ground for the New View of Absolute Value

Can this new view of value be justified historically? Communism asserts that just as natural phenomena develop through struggle, so too, has human history been developing through struggle (i.e., class struggle). As will be explained in the chapter “Theory of History,” however, history has not been developing through struggle. Historical development can be attained only through harmonious give and receive action between subject and object (i.e., leaders and people in society).

Struggles have indeed occurred in history, but they can not be classified simply as class struggles. More precisely, they have been struggles between the forces of relative good and the forces of relative evil. From the perspective of values, it can also be said that they were conflicts between different systems of value. In other words, they were struggles between, on one side, a party with a value perspective that was more in accord with the Way of Heaven (the side of relative goodness) and, on the other side, a party with a value perspective that was more in discord with the Way of Heaven (the side of relative evil). There were some cases in which the relatively good side suffered a setback, being temporarily defeated by the relatively evil side, but in the long run, the relatively good side always prevailed. As Mencius said, “Those who follow Heaven, survive; those who do not, perish.” More importantly, however, struggles between good and evil were not for the purpose of developing history, but rather for the specific purpose of turning history toward a better direction (see chapter 8, “Theory of History”).

This can be substantiated by a simple review of history. Secular powers have risen and fallen, but religions, which advocate the cause of goodness, have managed to survive continuously until today. Also, the teachings and achievements of saints and righteous men and women have served as exemplary models for people in later periods, even though many of those saints and righteous people fell victim to evil forces in their own time. These historical facts strongly reinforce the notion that the Way of Heaven has been working in history. In other words, they show that the Way of Heaven should not be rejected by someone in a position of power and that those who do reject it will eventually face a tragic fortune.

Another law of history provides that there was a goal already set up, even at the starting point of history. The universe was created according to an ideal (Logos), centering on purpose (the purpose of creation). In living beings, there is an idea already inherent within a seed or an egg (imprinted in the genetic structure), and the seed or egg grows according to that idea. Likewise, in human history there was an ideal at the outset, and history has been developing toward that ideal. That is to say, at the starting point of history there already was a goal toward which history was to develop. That was the ideal of a nation, the founding idea of a country, or the ideal of humankind recorded symbolically in mythology, legends, and in the holy scriptures of religions.

Human history started as a sinful history as a result of the fall of the first ancestors. Nevertheless, God, by making use of symbols and figures in mythology and in scriptures, has presented the image of the ideal world as envisioned in the original ideal of creation, the ideal world that was lost and which should be restored in human history. The incident in the Garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis, the prophetic records in the Book of Isaiah and in the Revelation to John, and the Tangun mythology of the Korean nation are such examples. The ideal pursued until today by humankind is the bright world of goodness, peace and happiness. It is the world that exists in accordance with the Way of Heaven. God has been teaching through mythology and prophecy that the goal of history was already been set up at the outset of history. Therefore, the future world that history aims to attain can be expressed as a world in complete accord with the Way of Heaven, a world wherein the true view of value is firmly established.