Contemplating Unification Thought


by Dr. Jennifer P. Tanabe

I have experienced some difficulty in getting this article written, which is partly due to the topic, Logic, and partly to the chapter in the Essentials text. But, I excuse myself on the grounds that not many people are that excited by Logic. In fact, I even considered skipping this topic altogether, especially since we have already dropped this topic from the course at UTS, ostensibly due to lack of time. There are only ten weeks in which to cover eleven chapters. The first to go was Methodology, the subject of my next article so who knows how long that will take me to produce! Then we realized that we needed a week of introduction to Unification Thought and Dr. Lee before beginning on the details, so Logic followed Methodology. The justification being that these are the chapters that are the least well-developed and least significant for an overall understanding of Unification Thought. They are also the chapters Dr. Lee gave short shrift to in his 21-day seminar. So we justify ourselves well, but we may eventually develop a second course consisting of the rejects from the original one!

It also appears that I am not alone in my difficulty with the text. At a Unification Thought Seminar in 1992, Dr. Frank Kaufmann began his presentation by acknowledging that the chapter on Logic is "probably frustrating to philosophers" and that various problems in the presentation "tend to disable the text, and alienate even sympathetic readers." Furthermore, the scholars assigned to this topic at the two recent ICUS conferences also experienced difficulty.

In 1991, the renowned British philosopher Professor Anthony Flew, who is both an atheist and a strong anti-Marxist, bravely attempted to make sense of the earlier version of the Logic chapter in Explaining Unification Thought. He struggled with such misrepresentations as "All men die" and how to conclude that "Socrates is mortal" by means of quadruple bases and collation type give-and-take action, and the conclusion that "Some Koreans are honest" from the proposition "All Koreans are honest" if we recognize that "Some people are Korean" has been omitted. Fortunately, the Essentials text is somewhat improved. However, the good Professor Flew spent most if his time criticizing the treatment of Marxism in Unification Thought, a topic which he no doubt found more rewarding.

The second brave scholar who attempted to comment on Logic at ICUS, in 1992, was Father Waldemar Molinski, a Catholic professor of Ethics in Germany. He chose to engage the Unification Thought system of Logic on the level of comparative theological presuppositions, rather than the level of philosophical content. While this proved disappointing to some members of the committee, particularly the respondent Dr. Frank Kaufmann, we could sympathize with this choice given the nature of the problems with the text that Frank had pointed out earlier that year.

So, why is this topic such a problem? Well, what is Logic supposed to be about anyway? In my understanding, logic is an investigation of the normative principles of valid argument. In other words, it describes the structures of thinking necessary for those who wish to argue validly. It does not describe the steps in our actual thinking. Now, this helps those of us whose memories of Logic consist of discussions about excluded middles, white swans and the possibility of black swans, and statements about P and not-Q. The key here is to realize that Logic is not talking about how we actually think, but about how an argument has to be structured in order to be valid or correct. Hopefully we can still be right without having the perfect form to make our thinking valid, and also we don't need to understand logic in order to be able to think!

Now that I have persuaded myself that I don't need to actually understand Logic, let's take a look at what the Unification Thought chapter on Logic is all about. Well, first it summarizes the main points of traditional systems of Logic, and concludes that Unification Thought does not oppose Formal Logic or Symbolic Logic, but considers a different starting point to the whole enterprise. This is the question of why thinking takes place. And, naturally, the answer is that in creating the universe God formed Logos (the Word) in His mind, i.e. He thought, and human beings were created in the image of God so they are supposed to think too. This kind of question and answer must be enough to confuse anyone who is used to dealing with pure logic all the time; no wonder they retreat back to what they understand.

But, for those of us who have made it through the Unification Thought text to Chapter 10, this type of reasoning is quite familiar. It is even comforting after the excluded middles and whatever, followed by six pages on Hegelian Logic. And when we learn that Logic is based on the structure of the Original Image, which means inner and outer four- position bases in two stage structures, I begin to have hope that I might be able to think logically after all! Not only that, but logic also has connections to all other fields of human activity such as education, ethics, art, etc., since the structures of cognition, logic, existence and dominion are all interconnected (see diagram).

Now that we are getting to things that I like in the chapter, how about the analogy between the three stages of cognition and a guest visiting your house: the sensory stage is like greeting the guest at the front door; the understanding stage corresponds to talking with the guest in the house; and the rational stage corresponds to thinking after the guest has left. The point is made that during the understanding stage there is no freedom to think about just anything, but it must be shaped by the conversation with the guest (maybe this depends on your relationship with the guest!), whereas in the rational stage there is freedom to think about anything in the light of the conversation. This is quite a nice analogy, and since the Epistemology chapter is notoriously complex and difficult to grasp, it might fit better there, providing some welcome relief from descriptions of the physiology of the brain and giving the reader hope that they were getting the main idea. However, it also serves this same purpose in the Logic chapter, so I'm happy if it stays there, as long as people read that far.

Indeed, right after this nice analogy comes one of those sections in the text that Frank Kaufmann mentioned as introducing content outside what is traditionally considered in Logic - the discussions of appendicitis, stomach convulsions and cytoplasm. At this point, I find it helpful to remember that Dr. Lee practiced as a medical doctor for many years and these examples are the ones he is familiar with and probably most clearly exemplify the points to him. For myself, I find it easier to think of Sung Sang and Hyung Sang, Yang and Yin, or subject and object, etc., directly. So let's not lose sight of the point actually being made here, which is that the system of thought based on the Original Image must also have categories of thought with the same basis. Although I have not really contemplated the ten primary categories let alone the secondary categories mentioned (Essentials, p.379), I am sure that one day they will prove enlightening and even essential to the development of our understanding of human thought.

The final point made in this chapter is that the most basic law of thought in Unification Logic is the law of give-and-receive. In the text, this leads to an attempt to put the syllogisms of formal logic into four-position bases. As Professor Flew pointed out, Venn diagrams might prove more enlightening. Perhaps the problem lies not so much in the structure, though, as in the content of the syllogism. The validity of the conclusion concerning the mortality of Socrates is really neither here nor there at this point in time. He's dead. For those of us who are by nature more verbal than spatial in our thinking, it is hard for any kind of diagrams to improve on the list of statements in a syllogism. But for those of you who like to work with spatial arrangements, maybe you can try developing Logic with four-position bases.

In conclusion, while this may seem like a rather light-hearted look at a serious topic, I hope that something has been gained from this discussion. Personally, I think that the strongest and most important point that Unification Logic makes is that logic cannot be independent from the purpose of thinking. Logic cannot succeed in its endeavor to formulate the laws of valid thinking if it ignores the purpose of that thinking. And purpose is connected to Heart or Shim Jung. As we learned in the Theory of Original Human Nature, human beings should be called "homo amans" rather than "homo sapiens," because the fundamental aspect of human nature is not reason but heart and love. By being only rational, by thinking only what are logically valid truths, a person is not fully human. But by expressing God's love and truth in thought, word and deed, we fulfill our purpose of creation.

If Logic is considered the standard of human thought, then it must be based on God's heart and purpose, otherwise computers will surely become our superiors. In fact, in a world which has darkness and suffering everywhere, for some, like Isaac Asimov, the only hope for the future of humankind is that robots take over. It is really a testimony to the power of the truth revealed to Rev. Sun Myung Moon and systematized by Dr. Sang Hun Lee that even Logic can come under the purview of God's love. Let's remember that perfect reason devoid of emotion and heart is not the correct structure of human thought, and that God's love is the final standard of truth (Essentials, p.388).

I have now gathered the first eleven articles in this series "Contemplating Unification Thought," which cover the topics in Unification Thought from Theory of Original Image to History, into one booklet. If you would like a copy, please send $8 ($10 for overseas) to:

Jennifer P. Tanabe, UTS, 10 Dock Road, Barrytown, NY 12571.