Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 23, 2022 - Pages 51-60
Unification Thought (UT) is a theory. It is the systematic thought of the great thinker and teacher Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who through extensive study and observation of the created world has been able to uncover the original nature of God, humankind and the original purpose of the creation. Unification Thought is the expression of this theory and, as such, it is finally the expression of true love. Rev. Moon’s life was the substantiation of Unification Thought.
When we are talking about substantiating peace, we are not simply talking about academic theories regarding peace. Rather, we are talking about creating the experience and expressions of peace. We’re not talking about an idea; we’re talking about a hoped-for reality. The expressions of peace in Unification Thought are the expressions of the Original (Divine) Image through the created world, as well as the infinite and unique creative expressions of the resultant beings – humanity, in all our life endeavors.
Hopefully my mothering is the substantiation of Unification Thought. Also, hopefully my art, my ability to teach and my storytelling are substantiations of Unification Thought. All things considered, my life should be the substantiation of Unification Thought.
Being more of a feeling person, the New Essentials of Unification Thought book is a very difficult book for me to read, let alone study. I am especially grateful that my husband is an analytical person because, without him, it would be difficult for me to write this article. Only through discussion with him have I been able to clarify my feelings and give expression to them.
A question which had always haunted me while attending art college was, “What makes ‘good’ art?” I thought that it was the ability to express oneself thoroughly through some medium. But in my final year in college, I became keenly aware that the word “good” was a word used to express value, and not simply technical prowess.
Roger was a student in my senior class in the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, who was very talented. His ability to draw with passion, his ability to express through his chosen medium was outstanding but what he expressed was most upsetting to me. Perhaps the one experience which most helped me understand the meaning of good art was my viewing of this classmate’s art show.
As I entered the small studio where we were to hang our senior show (the equivalent of a senior thesis in an art school), I saw Roger’s work. I stood at the center of the room viewing drawing after drawing of his work. We worked together in the same studio for over a year. We drew from the same model, used the same tables, chairs, and still-life materials. In his drawings, I recognized all these elements. However, what Roger had done in those drawings was deplorable to me. In drawing after drawing, the female model sat, lay or stood with a bag over her head. Then, over her genitals and over her breasts, Roger had scribbled with broad, aggressive lines – he seemingly had raped the woman with his penciling.
As I stood staring at this show, my professor walked over to me and asked what I thought of the artwork. I felt confused as to what to answer because, in fact, Roger’s technical ability and his passionate expression were sound, but the work stirred me to anger. “I hate his work,” I told him. “Why?” he asked. “Is it his technique or his subject matter?” It was then that I realized that what makes art good is its expression of goodnessand I realized that if I ever intended to be a good artist, I must first become a good person – then the natural result of my expression would be goodness. My conclusion was that good people make good art.
In creating a work of art, there is a motivation for the creation, and based on that motivation, the purpose for creating a specific work is established. Next, the theme and concept are established. The theme is the central content to be developed in the work, and the concept is a plan for the content and form of the artwork that is to be created under the chosen theme.
This act of creating can be translated into any activity – cooking, financial planning, gardening. Each begins with an idea, a plan made and most important, action based on the plan toward development of the idea – the substantiation of the idea.
Much of what we see in today’s culture – art, music and movies – is a reflection of the degradation of society, i.e., the emergence of songs like Lady Madonna’s Material Girl or Claes Oldenburg’s sculptures Giant Hamburger (1962) or Soft Toilet (1966). Perhaps some people will take objection to this point of view. However, according to UT, the original standard for which art work is created and expressed is the original values of God. If, however, the artist has no connection to God, the values will remain relative and then “Anything Goes” as an expression of art.
Creation is meant (in its Original and Ideal form) to be an activity whereby an artist, in the position of object, gives joy to the subject God and to humanity as a whole by manifesting the values of beauty, truth and goodness – the heart of God. For that, the artist must establish a sense of object consciousness. The attitude of wanting to give joy to God, the highest Subject, and to manifest the glory of God to others, is the essence of object consciousness.
According to Unification Thought, object consciousness develops based upon five points:
- The artist seeks to comfort God, who has been grieving with sorrow throughout human history. God created human beings and the universe to obtain joy, and even endowed humans with creativity. Therefore, the original purpose of human life is, above all, to share joy with God. Accordingly, people’s creative activity should have been carried out, first of all, as a means to please God.
- The artist desires to comfort the righteous people of history on behalf of God.
- The artist has the attitude of wanting to cooperate with God’s providence by portraying the deeds of those people who were, and those who still are persecuted by the sinful world.
- The artist heralds the coming of the ideal world. Therefore, the artist should create works expressing hope for and confidence in the future. Through such works, God's glory is manifested.
- The artist has the attitude of wanting to praise God, the Creator, by expressing the inherent beauty and mystery of nature. God created nature for humankind's joy. While having a feeling of awe toward nature, which manifests God’s original truth, beauty and goodness, the artist will discover the beauty of nature, praise God and give joy to others.
We must also consider the consciousness of the viewer of the work. In the appreciation of art also, if the viewer himself or herself has no connection to God, the work may not be appreciated for the reason it was established.
My theme here is Substantive Peace. We must therefore begin by understanding the essence of Peace. What is the true meaning of peace?
From the perspective of Unification Thought, harmony, peace, reconciliation, happiness and unity are achieved only when God's heart and love are embodied by human beings and the principles of true love are practiced and applied by us. Unification culture, built on an intimate relationship with God’s heart, is thus called a “culture of heart.” Heart is the emotional impulse to seek joy through love. In other words, it is the irrepressible emotional impulse to love. Heart is the very source of love and it is the core of God’s character. 
Peace is, of course, the hope of all humanity but, most importantly, it is the hope of God in the Unification worldview of the teachings of Reverend Moon.
The Chinese characters for peace (pyeonghwa) – pyeong(平)and hwa(和) mean “horizontal” and “harmony” respectively, meaning that the subject partner does not come into conflict with the object partner (and vice versa), but harmonizes with it.This can happen through discussion, through shared experience, etc.
I think the best way for me to express my efforts to substantiate peace is through describing four of my projects and explaining why I feel that they each represent a substantive expression of peace.
The Bristol Mosque Mosaic
The Religious Youth Service where I have been active for a number of years, supported an idea that I had on doing service through art (because art is my passion). The first of these projects was The Bristol Mosque Mosaic in Bristol, England. The motivation behind this project was seeing the youth from five different faiths working in cooperation with one another. In this case, both the process of creating and the finished product – the mosaic, were the substantiations of peace. The act of constructing the mosaic was almost like a dance – the harmony of the various individuals Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Unificationist and Hindu sharing, assisting one another and laboring to create together. The created work – the mosaic itself – could best be explained by sharing a quote from one of the participants. A Muslim boy in the project deeply resonated and appreciated the work experience and the finished product, about which he said: “The mosaic is like us. We are all somehow broken and imperfect people much like the broken tiles of the mosaic, but when we work together, we create something beautiful.”
The projects were created as educational experiences, and the finished creative piece is the reflection of some Unification Principle, i.e., unity or harmony.
One America Peace Park
The second project I want to share about is the “Only One America Peace Park” in Tela, Honduras. Again, the motivation for doing the project was the cooperation of the youth and the creation of a park that reflects the harmony of the youth. In this case, the park was designed jointly by young adults from North, South and Central America. It was also physically built by them, and it was ultimately a substantial reflection of their and the community members’ unity, cooperation and solidarity as one people of a “United Americas.” When the viewer walks through the park or ponders its design and the nature of its creators, one can’t help but be in awe of the youth’s creative efforts.
Again, we used the medium of mosaic, this time for the design of the park benches. The sidewalks were also painted with quotations written in English and Spanish, using quotes about harmony and peace. Swings and a treehouse were built in service to the children in the community and a gazebo was placed at the center of the park with the hope of presenting intra-American entertainment. This park inspired the town leadership to declare themselves an International City of Peace and request that we – I and my Honduran counterpart – bring character education or peace education to their town.
Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Shared Values
The third project is a sculpture that we commissioned a young artist to create for us. The artist Minrri is a 26-year-old Honduran young man. The sculpture is an idea I had for a piece titled “Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Shared Values,” depicting four“young adult” figures representing North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, all four mutually chiseling each other out of stone. The purpose of the piece is to highlight the fact that our lives are not simply our own. Our lives affect the lives of the people we interact with even as their lives affect our own. In a sense, we create one another. This sculpture will be a part of the One America Peace Park.
Nutley Community Partners for Peace
In September 2018, the Nutley Community Partners for Peace Committee was established. Our committee is much like a mosaic itself, being made up of representatives from the City Hall, the Board of Education, Rotary, the clergy association, small businesses and myself representing Universal Peace Federation. This committee declared and registered Nutley as the 223rd International City of Peace. Subsequently, the group decided to create a sculpture affirming the word COMMUNITYin celebration of our declaration. However, with the onset of the Covid pandemic 2020, as well as racial and political unrest, we realized we needed to affirm a global understanding that “We are in this together.” Therefore, we broadened the concept to UNITY, which reaches beyond community: unity of mind and body, unity of family, unity of our society, unity of the nation and unity of our world.
This UNITY sculpture is a celebration of each unique individual in our community, represented by the many different stones inscribed with their personal expressions of hope and peace. The integral process of working collaboratively, then, became the foundation on which our community created this sculptural installation.
According to Unification Thought, culture refers to the totality of the various kinds of human activity, including economy, education, religion, science, and art, among which the most central is art. In other words, art is the essence of culture.
I have heard the word “culture” used in soil biology, used in reference to the soil’s environment and make up of live and decomposed animal and plant life, which plays a vital role in determining the soil’s health – its fertility, growth and structure. The soil culture is where a seed is planted. Culture in this sense refers to an environment – the environment where the seed grows. Metaphorically, human culture, that is, human activities including economy, education, religion, etc., is the soil of our human growth. And art is the most central activity which embodies the most fundamental aspect of humanity – creativity – an inherent and inherited aspect of the divine being – God.
As previously mentioned, I studied art in college. As a matter of fact, I knew from the age of six that I wanted to be an artist. I never wanted to be anything else. However, I am not really drawing or painting any more. Sometimes people ask me: Do you miss doing art? Drawing? Painting? And I tell them “No,” because I am always involved in art. Only the medium has changed. When you draw, you’re basically arranging points and lines, setting up relationships between one thing and another. For example, if you are drawing a cup, you might begin by drawing a point representing the location at the far end of the cup. Then you measure with your eye the distance to maybe the lowermost corner of the cup, then another edge on the top, the curve of the bowl, the top of the handle and you’re connecting this point to that with a line etc. And as you connect the dots and lines and curves, there begins to appear the image of the cup.
Now, in my life, the dots are people. I meet one person, and then another person whom I introduce to the first person. I introduce them to an idea, and then share an experience with them. I meet yet another person and set up another relationship, and eventually we are all in an activity together. It is art, and the medium is the people I meet and the activities we are involved in. It’s the creative act of life.
We are designed by God in His/Her likeness. Thus, we become an extension of God. When we are involved in the creative process – painting, building a house, creating computer code, composing music, teaching children, writing a book, etc., that is when we are most like God. We are co-creators with God when we express heart and love – the purpose of creation. When we express beauty, truth and goodness through our creative acts, that is when we substantiate peace.
 Unification Thought Institute, New Essentials of Unification Thought (Kogensha: Tokyo, Japan, 2006), pp. 303-304.
 New Essentials of Unification Thought, pp. 313-314.
 New World Encyclopedia at https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/UnificationThought
 New Essentials of UnificationThought, p. 164.
 Ibid., p. 251.
 Sun Myung Moon, Sun Myung Moon’s Philosophy of Peace, (Sunghwa Publishing: Seoul,Korea 2002) p. 6.
 RYS Bristol Mosque Mosaic 2005, participant reflection.
 https://www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org/cities-listing/tela-honduras/ , Meeting held from January 13 – 17, 2019.
 https://www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org/cities-listing/nutley-new-jersey-u-s-a/ September 18, 2018.
 New Essentials of Unification Thought,p. 301.