The Re-Evaluation of Existing Values and the Search for Absolute Values
Sun Myung Moon
November 24-26, 1978
The Seventh International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences
Sheraton-Boston Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
Honorable Chairman, distinguished professors, and scholars…
Civilization today has become chaotic and disorderly. Confusion concerning values abounds; man’s relation with technology has become increasingly illicit, he is ignorant of any meaning or purpose for his life, and many people have adopted a philosophy of personal pleasure seeking. As a result, human personality has become mechanized, and any sense of an ideal personality has been almost completely lost.
Several causes have been suggested for these problems. More and more, modern man has inclined his thinking toward momentary convenience, ignoring religious and spiritual matters. In modern civilizations people have become excessively fragmented, and individuals find it difficult to adjust to and receive nourishment within the world’s frantic pace. People have ceased to be able to distinguish between the major and subsidiary streams which give direction to human life.
Both spiritual and material dimensions are indispensable to mankind, and there is nothing intrinsically good or bad in the tempo of development or in the plurality of modern civilizations. Difficulties arise when man fails to become a subject fully aware of himself, or neglects a proper balance of all the factors in the whole of civilization.
In light of all this, I would like to make some deeper remarks, as my opening address.
In today’s society, where systems of ideal and value have crumbled, re-establishing some basic value system is a most urgent requirement. But man finds himself in a world of effect, where absolute value is nowhere to be found. The realization of this absolute value is necessary even for the absolute being himself. It could only be found in the ideal or purpose of an absolute causal being who gives direction or purpose to the activities of the created world of effect. That ideal is love.
Every being embodies dual purposes of existence: both a purpose for individual self maintenance, and a purpose for creation of higher dimension through interaction with other beings. Within each individual being there are subject and object components which interact in harmonious unity. In addition, any being existing in internal harmony also interacts with other beings and thus achieves a being of higher dimension. This occurs when a being takes a position as either subject or object with another being and has give and take with it. As a result, the universe is a hierarchy of beings of increasingly higher and more universal dimensions of direction and purpose. It is composed of subjects and objects interconnected through mutual interest, and it has inherently a common and universal power or force toward the promotion of a common universal purpose.
What then is the content of the powerful and mutual relationships that help achieve the eternal harmony of subject and object? It is none other than give and take relationship centering on love. Love does not originate from mankind; the ultimate origin of love is the absolute, unchanging causal subject. As you no doubt realize, in religion this first causal subject or being is called God. Throughout my own life I have continued to have varied and numerous experiences of this God’s love and will, and I have been teaching of these.
Let us consider what might be most important and necessary for this God. It is certainly not knowledge, power, money, nor life; the magnificence of the universe which he created testifies to his possession of all these. The only thing he might need, as the origin of love, is an object to whom he can give love and from whom he can receive love. The created world was made by him as that object. Since man is the center of and combines within himself the elements of all other created beings, he is that most precious being who is to be the object of the love of the original absolute being. Thus only through man can the absolute being realize or accomplish his ideal of love. Therefore, that point where the ideal of absolute love centering on man is realized is also the point where man is perfected as the object of the absolute being. In other words, the point where the ideal of love is ignited is the point where created subject and object are united into harmony, responding together as one united object to the love of the absolute subject.
What then is the perfection of man? When a man achieves complete harmony of mind and body (that is subject and object) within himself through growth of character, he achieves the condition for realizing absolute love, and he becomes a perfect object to the absolute being who is the original being of all love. Harmony between mind and body automatically brings into existence a range of resonance with absolute being, like the sympathetic resonance of tuning forks, and this is the beginning point where the world of object (created world) can come into contact with the world of subject (absolute original being). The frequency and intensity of harmony achieved between mind and body determines the degree of resonance between man and absolute being. What is known in religious terms as the human fall took place before man achieved this range of resonance, and what is known as salvation is the historical process of restoration of this resonance, thus making man able to respond to divine love.
The absolute being’s ultimate ideal of love is that the ideal individual unite with another ideal individual to form an ideal family, that the family develop into an ideal society, the society into an ideal nation, and the nations into an ideal world. These relations of perfected resonance achieved through give and take action expand perpetually in a progressive order. The happiness and joy attained through this absolute love reach out toward realization of the universal ideal and become an eternal inspiration toward harmony for all created beings.
Love is not just a means, but an end in itself, and by love the whole will attain unity and harmony. All beings want to join in love. Through the appropriate responses of love anything can come into perfect unity and harmony, and conflict can be changed into accord. In this evil world, even though misunderstood and persecuted, saints have shown by their example that conflict can be overcome through sacrificial love.
Love alone is an objective in itself that can yield perfection. Such love is never depleted and brings happiness both to the giver and to the receiver. Love is not learned by thinking but should grow and be felt within.
Absolute values then must be pursued finally not through knowledge but through love. Through physical perception man can apprehend the world of knowledge but not the world of emotion. Absolute value, therefore, resides in the dimension of absolute love. To find it is to know and possess him who is its originator. So the locus of the first causal being, or God, is not in the world of physical perception but is experienced in the realm of deepest affection.
Values which are not absolute can never be unchanging and eternal, and will eventually fade away. Good ideas are not a substitute for absolute values. Various doctrines and thoughts in the history of human civilization have made some contribution to man, but in many ways they have misled mankind and hindered the proper development of history. In this view, a revelation of the true or ultimate system of value is both critical and inevitable. It should also be noted that because of confusion about value, the results of many fields of academic study have been both misleading and misused.
Those who first become aware of these points must pay serious attention and provide consistent and responsible guidance in their various fields of study I feel that scholars should not be indifferent, but respond keenly to today’s situation of confused values and misleading views of the nature, original dignity and ends of man. This is not limited to any particular field of study, but applies equally to all fields, and can best be achieved through collective coordinated efforts motivated by a sense of mission.
Respected delegates, I sincerely hope that this conference will serve as a forum for conducting serious discussions directed toward solving the essential problems faced by today’s society, and that it will contribute greatly to the building of the ideal world which people everywhere are seeking. I hope all of you will feel free here to express your beliefs, and I believe that such an atmosphere will yield a fruitful meeting.
I thank you sincerely for your participation and effort.