Cosmic Good and Liberation of the Original Conscience

Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 5, 2003 - Pages 93-110

In 1933, Martin Heidegger became the first National Socialist rector of the University of Freiburg. He delivered a public speech entitled “Role of the University in the New Reich,” in which he praised and celebrated the rise of the new Nazi Germany. After the war, this speech caused a political uproar in the philosophical community, and the debate concerning Heidegger’s political responsibility as a leading intellectual still lingers today.

One of central questions is why such a brilliant intellectual, gifted with insights and the power of reasoning, could not see the problems of Nazism during the war. Heidegger was no ordinary intellectual, at least for the philosophical community. He was a monumental philosopher who initiated a new philosophical movement, and his insights had a tremendous impact within and beyond philosophy. He sharply criticized the entire philosophical tradition of the West and the domination of technology in 20th century civilization. How could a person gifted with such critical intellectual skills not see the problems of his time?

The “mistakes” of intellectuals apply not only to Heidegger but also to countless other brilliant intellectuals. After the war, the majority of intellectuals, including those who publicly supported the Nazis, realized their blindness during the war and felt deep regret for the events of the Holocaust.[1]

What is the status of the conscience throughout the course of an individual’s life? Does it function the same way in wartime as in peacetime? Does a person become less conscientious at one time and more conscientious at another time, or rather, while trying to be conscientious throughout, does he fall into a pitfall he could not see?

It seems to me that these intellectuals were continually trying to be conscientious throughout their lives. At no time did they I intentionally pursue evil. Nevertheless, their conscience was not working in authentic manner.

In the case of Heidegger, the issues concerning the work of the conscience are deep. Conscience is a key concept in his major work, Being and Time (1927).[2] There, Heidegger claims that one must listen to the voice of one’s conscience in order to return to one’s authentic self. In everyday life, man lives in an inauthentic manner by losing himself in the masses of society. To restore authentic selfhood, one must open one’s heart and listen to the voice of conscience within. Heidegger was deeply aware of the importance of the conscience in the restoration of the original self.

What was Heidegger’s “conscience” doing when he supported Nazism in Germany? If it was working, what was wrong with it? What clouded his conscience? Again, these questions apply to all the intellectuals who supported the Nazis. Moreover, this question is not limited to intellectuals, but is applicable to everyone including religious believers.

When we turn our attention to the religious community, we can see another troubling problem. People who are compassionate and kind to those within their own religious community can take an indifferent or even cruel attitude to those outside the faith. These individuals are trying to be faithful to their religious creeds and are more or less trying to live conscientiously. According to the moral standards set by its own tradition, they are making an effort to live a conscientious life.

When we step outside the boundaries of a particular faith tradition, we can encounter serious conflicts among different religious communities. Take, for example, the conflicts between Jews, Muslims and Christians. There are conflicts between sects within the same faith tradition as well. These individuals may be conscientious believers, yet they willingly fight with people of different faiths. Doesn’t the conscience of each believer guide him or her to the peaceful and compassionate resolution of such conflicts?

Isn’t faith in God sufficient to cultivate the conscience? Fanatics who engage in terrorism usually show no remorse to anyone beyond their own communities, yet show compassion for those in the same community. Is there any difference between the supporters of Nazi Germany and these religious fanatics as far as the state of their conscience is concerned? Their conscience seems to be extremely limited. Do the limits of conscience apply to everyone?

This leads to the question: How much can we rely on people’s conscience when trying to make a better society? In light of the diversity of beliefs and interests, if we have to rely on the conscience we must consider ways of improving or redeeming or restoring the authentic function of the conscience.[3] Moral teachings and education are in vain if man’s conscience is severely paralyzed.

Especially in light of today’s global community with its wide range of views, ideas and faiths, the conscience should be important. Yet apparently there are problems with the conscience. In Exposition of Divine Principle, the conscience is defined as the faculty of mind to lead one to good. “The conscience is that faculty of the human mind which, by virtue its inborn nature, always directs us toward what we think is good.”[4]

However, because “what we think is good” greatly differs from individual to individual and group to group, the pursuit of good results in the society leads to conflicts and struggles. Exposition of Divine Principle also points out the existence of the “original mind” as an internal complement to the conscience. While the conscience pursues what a person thinks is good, the original mind pursues the original standard which God inscribed onto man: “The original mind is that faculty of the human mind which pursues absolute goodness.”[5] Because of the presence of the original mind, the conscience is constantly guided and oriented to the original or authentic state.

What path, then, should the conscience take if it is to fulfill its original function? This essay will address the problems of the conscience in relation to the idea of the good, the barriers to its proper functioning, and the perspectives of Unificationism that can contribute to its redemption.


Universality of the Orientation to Good in the Conscience

Everyone pursues some good: what is good for oneself, one’s family, one’s social group and so on. The tendency or orientation of the mind towards good is universal. Although there may be self-deception, distortion and confusion in one’s self-awareness, everyone pursues some good. This orientation of the conscience towards goodness is a universal phenomenon. Various philosophers explained the universality of this orientation in different vocabularies.

Plato conceived goodness as the essential condition which exists prior to all human activities. For Plato, the good is real and exists beyond and prior to human life. Human beings are already conditioned to pursue the good. Even vicious criminals and evildoers have some justification for their acts. They will give their version of a compelling reason why they acted as they did. Why do even criminals care about being just? Why does every person want to “justify” his or her actions?

Plato answers that there is a reign of Good beyond and prior to human existence. That is why everyone cares about being good, and therefore tries to justify his or her actions. The pursuit of justification is a universal phenomenon of life. Plato’s claim of the transcendence of good coincides with the universality of the conscience’s orientation towards good.

In The Teacher, Augustine characterized the conscience as the “inner truth” or “internal light,” and described the leading function of conscience as the “teacher within.” When a teacher appeals to the conscience of the student, the student consults with the inner standard in his or her mind. It is the inner truth within the student’s mind that reveals the truthfulness of the teacher’s words. The teacher is simply assisting the student so that the student can listen to the voice of the inner truth within the soul. Everyone has this ultimate guide within the soul, and it is the true teacher. One seems to learn from the words of the teacher outside, but in fact one can learn because of the presence of the truth within:

For he is taught not by my words, but by the realities themselves made manifest to him by God revealing them to his inner truth.[6]

Understanding the truth is essentially the realization of the truth within the soul. One is awakened to the truth and the external teacher is the occasion to prompt the phenomenon of discovery.[7]

Immanuel Kant in his moral philosophy characterized the conscience as “good in itself,” which he took to be the pre-condition for moral conduct.

A good will is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes—because of its fitness for attaining some proposed end: it is good through its willing alone—that is, good in itself.[8]

In Being and Time, Heidegger succinctly describes the transcendent nature of the conscience. The conscience calls us regardless of or sometimes against our will.

Indeed the call is precisely something which we ourselves have neither planned nor prepared for nor voluntarily performed, nor have we even done so. ‘It’ calls, against our expectations and even against or will. On the other hand, the call undoubtedly does not come from someone else who is with me in the world. The call comes from me and yet from beyond me and over me.[9]

Although the interpretation of good varies from one person to another, the orientation of the mind to good is universal. The faculty of mind to pursue the good seems to be universal, and it coincides with the claims of Plato, Augustine, Kant, and Heidegger in the capacity described above.


Multiplicity of Interpretations of the Good and the Concealment of the Original Conscience

a. Conscience on Collective Level

Although the pursuit of good is universal or common to all, the particular goods that people pursue are diverse. What is good to one individual is not necessarily good to another. The pursuit of goodness by one individual is sometimes done at the expense of others’ suffering and pain. This dysfunction of the individual conscience is the most apparent and publicly noticeable phenomena. Crimes and evil acts are publicly accused; the function of the perpetrators’ conscience is questioned.

The work of the conscience on the collective level is a more complicated problem. A collective can be identified by race, religion, culture, social interests, political interests, and economic class. Individuals identify themselves within the framework of existing groups. For example, a person may identify him or herself not only as an independent individual but also as an American, Jewish, middle class, black, and so on. The self-identification of an individual involves his or her involvements with multiple collective entities at the same time.

History adds another dimension to the identification process. Everyone identifies not only with a group, but also with its history. By identifying with a particular history, one internally comes to carry all the history of the group. If you consider yourself a black American, all the turmoil and pain blacks endured and suffered through in the past becomes yours. Your identity will involve this historical past. A story of a black man taken from the African continent and sold as a slave is not someone else’s story but your own. Since group histories are full of conflict, identifying with a history presents a problem. If no one were to identify with the given history of the collective entity, the reality of the past will disappear or lose its impact, remaining only musty records and research materials.

In short, what is good for a particular collective entity is not necessarily good to others. There are conflicts of interest among collective entities, and the constituting individuals cannot easily expand their identification beyond the entities to which they directly belong. A person who is quite generous and sympathetic to others in the group he or she identifies with can be indifferent to others in a different group.

Heidegger and “conscientious” supporters of the Nazi regime are a case in point. The public-ness or collectivity of the interests of Germany appeared good for its individuals. By setting aside their private good and taking the public good as their primary purpose, the individuals who supported the leaders of Germany must have felt that they were doing good. The public-private mechanism, that is, the prioritizing the public good and sacrificing or subjugating the private good under the public good, misguided the individuals’ conscience and spared no sympathy for Jews and other non-Germans.

Virtues are often limited to within the collective. Loyalty to the nation, for example, may involve a sacrifice of personal good or one’s family life, yet dedication to the nation is still limited to within the boundary of the good of the nation. Religious fanatics may be loyal to the particular faith community and may sacrifice their personal good for the sake of the group, and yet they are hostile or indifferent to people of other faith communities.

One’s conscience may tell one to be virtuous by being loyal, honest, industrious, courageous, and generous and so on. If, however, these virtues are limited by the boundary of the good of the given collective entity, they may not have any effect and validity outside the boundary.

The problem is this: The goods of collective entities are not aligned with each other. There is no definitive theoretical framework in which various views of the good are properly and harmoniously aligned. Without the alignment of collective goods, the work of a person’s conscience will be limited by the boundary of the group’s good.

b. Self-deception

Human beings are masters of self-deception and geniuses at camouflage. The work of the conscience is clouded by the deception that one imposes upon oneself. What makes the problem worse is that people are not necessarily aware of their own self-deception.

Self-deception refers to a gap or discrepancy between what a person thinks he or she is consciously pursing and the real motive hidden in the unconscious realm of mind. A person who thinks that he or she is pursuing a public good may have unconscious, hidden self-interests as the real motive, yet these self interests are below the level of his or her awareness.

Nietzsche claimed that human beings’ real motive for their activities was the desire for power in the broadest sense. Power can be intellectual, artistic, economic, social or political. People pursue power to determine their location in the hierarchy of values. If you have power and you are superior to others in various capacities, you are valuable. If you are powerless and inferior to others, you have less value. Power relations determine and generate your value. The stronger and more powerful you are, the more valuable you are. Losing out in the hierarchy of valuing, the weak hold resentment against the strong.

Nietzsche described the fundamental drive of human beings the “will to power.” He claimed that man covers up this hidden motive under layers of devices such as theories, concepts, and ideals. Virtues and ideals are, according to Nietzsche, “invented” to conceal this hidden interest for power. Yet a person is not aware of this concealment, which is self-imposed. A person deceives him or herself under masks of ideas that camouflage his or her true motives. In Nietzsche’s analysis, this self-deception and self-misunderstanding is an unnoticed fact of life. He looked into the things behind words, ideas, and consciousness. Nietzsche even viewed philosophy as a mask. He concluded, “Every philosophy also conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a hideout, every word also a mask.”[10]

Karl Marx claimed that the hidden motive is the class interest based upon economic interests. No matter what ideas and ideals one advocates, one has the socio-economic interests behind one’s consciousness. Virtues, morality and social good fundamentally originate from social-economical interests, that is, the desire for the good of the class to which one belongs. This “partisanship” exists deep in one’s consciousness. It is so deep that one is not even aware of its concealment. For Marx, there is no neutral truth. Truth has partisanship.

These authors, who happen to be very influential in the contemporary world, looked into the discrepancy of the conscious and unconscious and tried to reveal “hidden” motives and desires under our awareness. Although their theories have deficiencies and have been severely criticized by later theorists, their impact on the world is undeniable. The strength of their impact was, I believe, due to some degree of soundness of their claims.

Are our motives crystal clear to ourselves? Do we have inherent self-misunderstanding? Are theories and ideas “invented” to cover up the hidden motives? Are we genuinely truthful to ourselves? How does Unificationism answer these questions?

Truthfulness to oneself is, in fact, a demand of the conscience. According to the Divine Principle, the conscience in a narrow sense is an “external form” to its counterpart, the “the original mind” that always pursues the absolute standard of good which has God inscribed onto the mind. Because people have an original mind, something of the original standard of good inscribed by God, they try to correct and guide the conscience to its original state. Conscience in a broad sense means conscience in the narrow sense guided by the original mind.

Our mind, therefore, has some ability to detect self-deception. If we did not have a sense in our minds to detect falseness, we would never be able to recognize that certain acts partook of self-deception. One of the essential functions of the conscience is to discern the truthfulness and falseness of our life. One is always guided by the original mind that sees every deed and thought, and examines one’s genuine truthfulness to oneself. Nevertheless, isn’t it the case that even the original mind is often camouflaged and concealed from the self?

Just like the world where diverse collective entities struggle against other, there are multiple drives struggling within an individual. An individual exists as a constellation of drives and motives. Just as there is no permanent unity or peaceful harmony in the world, there is disunity and conflict among drives within an individual. Unificationism describes this chaotic state of drives in man as the “fallen state” or the “disunity of mind and body.”

Sometimes one can maintain unity among multiple drives and motives under the conscience. This means that one can properly place one’s sexual drives, desire for power, and other inclinations of the body within the framework of one’s value perspective and maintain unity thereby. The goods one pursues are kept in order. On the other hand, one can also lose control. One or two particular drives can dominate the others, and one ends up acting according to the demands of the dominant drives contrary to the demands of conscience that seeks to uphold moral standards.

In that case, one pursues the particular good sought after by a dominant desire as one’s primary desire, and the pursuit of other goods is subjugated under the dominant good. Since bodily desires pursue immediate satisfaction, this dominance results in the primacy of the good for the individual. Pursuit of an individual’s good at the expense of others results in immoral or even criminal acts.

One often employs reason to rationalize and justify this domination. Reason can act against the original call of the conscience or of the original mind, and invents reasons to justify the domination. As Nietzsche claimed, theory can serve to justify domination by the illicit motives. Thus is the genuine work of the conscience concealed and paralyzed.

How can we liberate the original power of the conscience from self-deception and avoid the conflicts arising due to the pursuit of a particular collective good?


Alignment of Good: Cosmic Good and the Restoration of Conscience

a. Alignment of Good

Unificationism institutes diverse types of good into one systematic structure. The constellation of good is parallel to that of the order of beings. Every being exists in a series of parts-whole relationships. Every being is a whole that has constitutive parts within it, and is also a part that constitutes a larger whole. For example, a family has its constitutive members as its parts, and it is a partial social unity that constitutes clan or tribe. Unificationism explains a series of part-whole relations from the individual, family, tribe, nation, world, cosmos, and God. This order of being corresponds to the order of good.

Good for the individual, family, tribe, nation, world, cosmos, and God are linked as part-whole relations. Diverse types of goodness are aligned within this cosmic system of good. What is good for the part is acceptable only when it is aligned with the good for the whole. Good for other collective entities such as race, class, social institutions, faith communities, and others must be aligned within this cosmic hierarchy of good.

The harmony among the diverse pursuits of good is possible only when partial good is aligned under the precedence of the good for the larger whole. The primacy of partial good will destroy the harmony of the whole and cause conflicts and struggle among other parts.

A typical example of the primacy of partial good is the primacy of national interests. The primacy of national interests is secured by social, political, economic, educational, and legal means. In return for their loyalty a nation protects its citizens. Individuals are also educated by the nation in such a way that they can identify themselves as constitutive members of the nation. Even if the nation may have achieved its internal harmony, the nation can have serious struggles with other nations.

Ascribing primacy to the good of a particular collective entity results in conflicts and struggles with other collective entities. Colonization by dominant Western countries is the consequence of the idea of the primacy of national interests.

Harmony of the whole requires that the good for the whole take precedence over the good for the parts. This good, however, must be extended all the way to the cosmic level. This principle is expressed by the motto, “live for the sake of others.” Individuals live for the sake of family, the family for the nation, the nation for the world, and the world for God. Unless the good of diverse collective entities are aligned within the hierarchy of the cosmic good, the conscience’s pursuit of good will result in conflicts and struggles among groups.

b. True Love and the Order of Good

The precedence of the whole over the parts is parallel to the Unificationist teaching of “true love”: to contribute and dedicate for the sake of the larger whole. This idea applies to individuals and collective entities. For example, for a nation, the norm of true love demands that it contribute to the global good. Every collective entity is asked to serve for the sake of the whole. Conflicts amongst collective entities can be resolved only when each entity acts according to the norm of true love. Harmony among races, classes, faith communities, nations, and other collective entities is likewise possible when each drops the primacy of sectarian interests and takes the principle of true love as the cardinal norm. The recovery of global harmony and alignment of good demands the application of this principle of love on both the individual and social level.

If individuals, the smallest units of society, have inherent problems overcoming the disunity of desires, we can never expect to build an ideal society. No social system is immune from abuse by corrupt individuals. Individuals observing certain common virtues are the precondition for a good society. The problem is that this precondition is barely maintained. As we discussed earlier, the problem of disunity in an individual is deeply rooted. It is so deep that it can easily escape one’s attention.

A solution to the problem of disunity in the individual begins with a rational understanding and conscious awareness of the whole architectonic of the cosmic order of good. This provides the context of interpretation for the individual. Decision-making requires the work of reason, and reason demands understanding. Understanding the cosmic order gives the framework of interpretation within which particular decisions are made.

However, acts of reason alone are not sufficient. Even if a person has a clear awareness of what he or she should do, there is still the problem of the lack of internal power. Even if a one is clearly aware that what one is doing is wrong, one can be driven to do evil acts. Reason is not often sufficient to take control of the self. As a result, there is a struggle within the self between the command of reason and other desires and drives that fight against it. What is missing in an individual is the central axis upon which various desires are unified. Rational understanding alone is not sufficient to unify diverse drives within an individual. One needs power to unify them. This central axis of unity is the power of true love.[11]

Living for the sake of others, forgiving enemies, and giving without expecting rewards are phrases that express what true love is like. When one is empowered by the altruistic emotional feeling, the self is aligned in harmony with the cosmic order of good. The disorder within the self is fundamentally the disorder of love. The domination of sexual desires or desires for power and other desires that fight against the command of reason are rooted in self-love. Caring for the self or loving the self lies at the root of these drives. Therefore, to gain self-control, self-love must be aligned to the cosmic order of love. This alignment means to turn the orientation of self-love to a public orientation which extends to world, cosmos, and God. Because man already carries a chaotic disunity of drives within the self, and a selfish lifestyle is already built upon selfish habits, this alignment often demands the denial of the self, that is, the denial of the self-centered lifestyle and selfish love. When self-love is aligned to the cosmic order of love through the habit formation of true love, self-love does not become selfish, but is rather a necessary element for the constitution of the larger entity.

Love exits in relationship. A human being cannot cultivate his or her love alone. When love is expanded to the cosmic scale, one’s internal love is strengthened thereby. To gain control of oneself, one must strengthen the internal power of love within the self. This empowerment is possible through the act of loving others. People can cultivate love only through interaction with others.

Sensitivity to true love is, I believe, the key for human beings in their return to authenticity.[12] This sensitivity, which can detect the truthfulness of true love and distinguish it from false love, is the most fundamental character of human beings. Sensitivity to truthfulness is considered a part of a genuine conscience. The teaching of true love presupposes that human beings are equipped with sensitivity to the truthfulness of true love, and that this sensitivity exists regardless of one’s reality. Even the most vicious and cruel individual cannot eliminate this sensitivity. One can cover up this sensitivity, but one cannot lose it entirely. In this sense, sensitivity to the truthfulness of true love in the conscience exists transcendent of the empirical reality of human existence. It exists in man as “beyond” and “above” himself.

The fact that a man is born not from the self but from others—his parents—means that one’s existence is given by the love of people other than oneself. This preconditions one’s way of being to be sensitive to true love. The origin of one’s being is not the self but others, in particular, others’ love. One’s life begins with the act of giving by others. No matter how one may try, one cannot change this fact. This fact exists in a place beyond one’s reach. No matter what kind of love relationship one’s direct parents might have, this fact remains true.

If the conscience has the fundamental sense to detect the truthfulness of true love, and every individual is born with it, why is it so difficult to live according to this call of the original conscience?


Uncovering the True Love of God: The Agonizing Path of True Love

a. Rev. Moon’s Philosophy of True Love: The Agony of True Love

According to Unificationism, true love is exemplified in phrases such as “forgive your enemies,” “selfless giving,” and “living for the sake of others.” The conscience can see the truthfulness of true love. However, the world we live in is filled with deception, revenge and selfishness, and this sad reality applies to everyone. To live in such a world is truly painful, and to practice true love can also be painful. Here is a poem, entitled “The Crown of Glory,” that Rev. Moon wrote when he was sixteen years old. This poem describes the pain of true love.


When I doubt people, I feel pain.
When I judge people, it is unbearable.
When I hate people, there is no value to my existence.

Yet if I believe, I am deceived.
If I love, I am betrayed.
Suffering and grieving tonight, my head in my hands
Am I wrong?

Yes, I am wrong.
Even though we are deceived, still believe.
Though we are betrayed, still forgive.
Love completely even those who hate you.

Wipe your tears away and welcome with a smile
Those who know nothing but deceit
And those who betray without regret.

Oh Master! The pain of loving!
Look at my hands.
Place your hand on my chest.
My heart is bursting, such agony!

But when I loved those who acted against me
I brought victory.
If you have done the same thing,
I will give you the crown of glory.


Who can live a life of true love if it is excruciatingly painful? It is almost impossible for an ordinary individual, even the most faithful, to live a genuine life of true love without compromise. The life of true love is difficult even for faithful religious practitioners who are committed to altruistic ideals. For example, did disciples of Jesus, whom Christians admire as saints, live a life of true love?

It is interesting to examine Nietzsche’s criticism against followers of Jesus. For Nietzsche, Jesus was the only person who actually lived the way he taught and, for that reason, the only genuine Christian.

I go back, I tell the genuine history of Christianity. The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding: in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross. The “evangel” died on the cross. What has been called “evangel” from that moment was actually the opposite of that which he had lived: “ill tidings,” a dysangel. It is false to the point of nonsense to find the mark of the Christian in a “faith,” for instance, in the faith in redemption through Christ: only Christian practice, a life such as he lived who died on the cross, is Christian.[14]

While Nietzsche thus severely criticized Christianity, he did not criticize Jesus himself. He rather showed deep sympathy and respect for Jesus.[15] Yet because no one other than Jesus in fact truly lived according to his teachings, Nietzsche said that there was only one genuine Christian:

In fact, there have been no Christians at all. The “Christian,” that which for the last two thousand years has been called a Christian, is merely a psychological self-misunderstanding.[16]

From Nietzsche’s perspective, “redemption by faith” is the “invention” of the followers. They “invented” this doctrine in order to justify their failure to follow Jesus.

Was Jesus truly understood by his followers? Probably not. His disciples came to Jesus for their own salvation, that is, motivated from their self-oriented love. Jesus, however, did not care much about himself, but loved others. The followers’ love was self-oriented, while Jesus’ love was selfless and others-oriented. Even so, this gap between Jesus and his disciples was probably not understood by disciples.

No matter how untrue and deceptive life may be, people tend to settle for the comfort of self-deception rather than face the pain of a true life. No one accuses the deceptive nature of life, from the individual level to the collective level. Thus, the primacy of self-interest on the national level is the norm of international politics.

Although the conscience can detect the truthfulness of true love, to live according to true love is nearly impossible for us because it is painful. Human beings live in this insoluble dilemma: one wants to live the truthful life one can hardly live.

Thus, Kant noticed that even if one tries to live a truthful life, one might receive unjust treatment from society. In Kant’s philosophy, for life on earth there is no guarantee of any accord between moral goodness and happiness. One may suffer because one is just.[17]

b. God’s Suffering in Human History

Caught up in self-deception, people’s understanding of true love is limited to an abstract level. Hence, their understanding of God’s love also remains abstract. People claim that God is “God of love,” yet they cannot understand the reality of what His love is like.

If one is serious about the reality of a living God, one may raise the same question as Nietzsche: if God is watching the suffering of human beings as if He were a bystander, what kind of “love” is His love? Nietzsche calls God “cruel” if He has the truth and, at the same time, merely observes human beings who are struggling and suffering to find the truth:

God’s Honesty—A god who is all-knowing and all-powerful and who does not even make sure that his creatures understand his intention – could that be a god of goodness? Who allows countless doubts and dubieties to persist, for thousands of years, as though the salvation of mankind were unaffected by them, and who on the other hand holds out the prospect of frightful consequences if any mistake is made as to the nature of truth? Would he not be a cruel god if he possessed the truth and could behold mankind miserably tormenting itself over the truth?[18]

Nietzsche refused to believe in a God who observes human sufferings without any remorse. It is in fact “cruel” to take an indifferent attitude to someone whom one claims to love. No matter how good God might be, He cannot escape the charge of being “cruel” if Nietzsche’s charge is true.

Who is God? What kind of love is His love? What is His feeling for the human beings who are suffering? Rev. Moon’s life of true love disclosed God’s deep heart of suffering. The poem, “The Crown of Glory” describes Rev. Moon’s commitment to live a life of true love. No matter how full of agony, he lived and still lives his life with this philosophy. Hence, one could say that God revealed His heart to Rev. Moon because he was committed to live and suffer as God does.

Rev. Moon’s quest for the truth started from the moment he made the commitment to liberate God from His suffering. He tried to find the answer to fundamental questions such as the origin of evil, the method of salvation, theodicy, God’s relationship to man and history, and others. To fully answer the question Nietzsche raised, for example, required a full-scale investigation of truth. The discovery of God’s heart of suffering is Rev. Moon’s answer to Nietzsche’s charge of the “cruelty” of God.

What distinguishes Rev. Moon from others in disclosing the true living God is his profound lifelong commitment to live a life of true love. This is his philosophy of life. Without genuinely living a life of true love unconditionally, which is how God lives, one can never truly understand the living God. No matter how genuinely comforting the life of true love may appear, in fact the path of true love is painful and lonely. It is painful because the world is filled with deception, selfishness, resentment, hatred, and evil motives. It is lonely because a life of true love is hardly conceivable for the vast majority who live a life struggling between good and evil.

People with only a limited understanding of God’s love can hardly be compassionate to those outside of their social group. Rev. Moon’s disclosure of God’s heart for humanity gives an emotional basis for human beings to be compassionate to fellow humans beyond the boundaries of race, nationality, religion, etc. Without this emotional basis, the conscience can be easily manipulated and disguised in order to serve only the good of a particular group. Fanatics who hold ideas of self-claimed righteousness can be cruel to others outside of their community because of the lack of this emotional basis. The disclosure of the true love of God and the cultivation of true love within the mind are necessary to lead a life of true love. Upon this emotional basis the conscience can manifest its authentic function.


God as the Link between the Self and the Cosmic Good: Self-identity and Dispensational History [19]

Why should a human being care and think about others? As I discussed, a person can easily care about his or her immediate family members and the collective entity to which he or she belongs. Although a person may rationally understand the need to align with good in the cosmic context, he or she may not feel strongly about it. How far can one go in identifying the self? To what extent do we truly transcend the limits of nationality, religious community, race and class? We realize it is right to align our good with all the good in cosmic order, yet emotionally we feel indifferent to anything beyond the collectives in which we participate. We rationally understand that all people are fellow human beings, yet people are so distant once we go outside our immediate group. How do we substantially link ourselves with the cosmic good?

The overarching reality that can link diverse individuals with the global good is God. God loves everyone regardless of nationality, race, religious faith, and other differences. We find in God a unique characteristic that can transcend diverse people and at the same time encompasses them all with His absolute true love. Human love is very limited in its capacity and range. It is extremely difficult to love everyone. The range of one’s identification limits the range of one’s love. Moreover, people’s capacity to love is also very limited. Therefore, we are astonished at the capacity and the range of love that a person like Jesus exhibited. God is distinguished from the rest of beings by His capacity and range of love. Unificationism holds that true love is God’s essential character. His love does not favor one faith tradition over another, one nation over another, or one race over another. God’s love transcends the barriers among collective entities and embraces all people.

One of the extraordinary things about God is that God’s love is intimately personal and cosmic at the same time. God is your father and you can have the most intimate, personal relationship with Him. In other words, God relates with each one of us in a personal way. God also relates with every human being, beyond any collective. Boundaries of nationality, religion, race, etc. are meaningless to His love. As I discussed previously, God’s love must be understood in the deepest and the most profound sense. Only when a person follows a path of true love, will he or she come to know what it means. A person knows the meaning of love to the extent that he or she embodies love.

God relates with each individual in the most intimate way and links him or her to all other humans, to nature, and to the universe based upon his capacity of true love. No other single being can link everyone in this manner. Through this link, people can gain the capacity to transcend the boundaries of the collective entities to which they belong and can take the cosmic world as a personal object of concern. In other words, because God is my Father, what He concerns falls into the range of my care.

Unificationism explains the entire sweep of human history as the history of God’s dispensation. This view of history encompasses all histories of religious traditions, races, nations, and other collective entities. Through the link with God, the history of human race can be felt as one’s personal history. God’s history is my history. Feeling this way, I can identify with the cosmic history. I can feel an intimate relationship with everyone who worked for God’s dispensational history, regardless of my faith tradition, nationality or race.

Having God as the link can break down the barriers that divide collective entities. The alignment of good spanning all levels of collective entities, from the personal good to the greater good, becomes possible only when individuals are linked to the cosmic world and its history through God. The Unificationist view of history, a dispensational view of history, provides the framework that makes this unity possible.



When the activity of the conscience is paralyzed, we say that the person has lost his or her mind. We see the standard of “normality” as possession of the proper sensitivity of conscience. One can lose one’s mind as an individual, but more so as a collective. As Nietzsche says, madness in collective entities is surprisingly common although it is often unnoticed: “Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.”[20] There may be more madness going on everywhere today without being clearly noticed by those who are mad. What we conceive as “normal” may be quite abnormal in God’s eyes.

Unificationism provides a perspective to set the genuine standard of normality. Through the proper prioritization of good, the orientation to seek the good in one’s conscience is properly aligned. Through the link with God, the origin of true love, the conscience is empowered and its range expanded to cosmic level. The path of true love may be painful, but this is the only way to find the living God. Embodying true love is the condition for the liberation of the original conscience. Without this essential condition, the conscience can be easily deceived and fall into the narrow realm of self-righteousness. Through breaking down the barriers of limited good and expanding the range of love to the cosmic level, the conscience of humanity will gradually be liberated to recover its original state.



[1] Heidegger retired from the university after the war. Afterwards he kept silent and made no public comment about his wartime support of the Nazis.

[2] See Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), §§ 55- 57.

[3] In the speech entitled “Let’s find the authentic self,” Rev. Moon discussed the need of the liberation of the conscience. In this speech, he explained the importance of the conscience in restoring the genuine self and characterized the role of the conscience in guiding one’s life being superior to “parents, teacher, and even God.” Dansei Houkan Syurenkai Mikotobasyu (Tokyo: Kogensha, 1996), pp. 202-09.

[4] HSA-UWC Exposition of the Divine Principle (New York: HSA-UWC, 1996), p. 50.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Augustine The Teacher, in Ancient Christian Writers no. 9, St. Augustine, The Greatness of the Soul, The Teacher (Westminster: Newman Press, 1950), p.179.

[7] Socrates understood the role of philosopher as midwifery. Midwife helps a pregnant mother so that the mother can deliver her baby safely and smoothly. The philosopher also helps others so that they can discover the truth hidden in their soul.

[8] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1956), p.62. Although you may notice a flavor of Kantian deontological (duty-bound) ethics in contrast to utilitarianism in this quote, you can clearly see the unconditional nature of good in Kant’s moral philosophy. The following passage also indicates the universality of the orientation to good in mind. “What we call good must be, in the judgment of every reasonable man, an object of the faculty of desire, and evil must be, in everyone’s eyes, an object of aversion.” (Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, pp. 62-63.)

[9]Heidegger Being and Time, p. 320. Heidegger does not explicitly identify the origin of the conscience as God.

[10] Ibid. p. 229.

[11] The order of the cosmos is made in such a way as to manifest true love. Complementarity of sex, that every natural entity exists and multiplies by male-female polarity, is a prime example.

[12] In Unificationism, true love is the central concept. Discussion of the authenticity and in-authenticity is impossible without dealing with the issue of love. In Heidegger’s Being and Tine, while he explains that one must listen to the “call of conscience” to return to authenticity, he does not discuss anything about love. The word love is not used even once in this work.

[14] Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Antichrist” 39, Portable Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufman (New York: Viking Press, 1968), pp. 608-09.

[15] Nietzsche praises Jesus’ love on the cross. “This “bringer of glad tidings” dies as he had lived, as he had taught – not to “redeem men” but to show how one must live. This practice is his legacy to mankind: his behavior before the judges, before the catchpoles, before the accusers and all kinds of slander and scorn – his behavior on the cross. He does not resist, he does not defend his right, he takes no step which might ward off the worst; on the contrary, he provokes it. And he begs, he suffers, he loves with those, in those, who do him evil. Not to resist, not to be angry, not to hold responsible – but to resist not even the evil one – to love him.” Nietzsche, “The Antichrist” 35, Portable Nietzsche, p. 612

[16] Ibid. p. 613

[17] Kant conceives the unity of happiness and moral goodness in the notion of “supreme good.” In the life on earth, one may live a miserable life because he or she is just and morally good. Moral goodness does not necessarily lead one to a happy life. For Kant, it is the demand of reason to postulate God as the one who guarantees happiness to those who are morally good in a life after death.

[18] Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 52.

[19] Unificationism views a human history from the perspective of God’s dispensation.

[20] Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (New York: Random House, 1966), p. 90.