Dr. Sung Bae Jin, Chairman, HJ Academy of Arts and Science, South Korea
Dr. Jin Sung-bae is the President of the Unification Thought Institute International and the Chairman of the Hyo Jeong Academic Foundation. He received his undergraduate degree in geophysics at Seoul National University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a PhD in the philosophy of science at Sungkyunkwan University. He taught logic, ethics, and philosophy to students for over ten years at Sungkyunkwan University, Sejong University, and Ewha Womans University. He is an Endowed Chair Professor at Sun Moon University.
Hello everyone, I’m Chairman Jin Sung-bae. It is nice to see everyone here. You have come from all over the Africa-European region, which consists of so many countries. Thank you for making effort to participate in the larger ILC meeting, in particular this International Association of Academics for Peace.
I would like to speak briefly on the topic of Interdependence, which might bring up a variety of other topics and ideas for each of you. In particular, when we look at 2020, the most obvious matter that all of us are dealing with is COVID-19. Humankind is not new to suffering and difficulty. Yet, as a world, we are all being forced to look at this issue very closely and personally.
Scholars like yourselves especially are being called on to give wise and thoughtful advice on how to deal with life at this time. Of course, doctors and scientists have their fair share of the burden; but for many of you perhaps, it is more of a philosophical task than a scientific one. As you know, I am a philosopher. The way we think impacts all aspects of our lives, which is why our topic today is “pursuing interdependence.”
The corona virus has, if I may say, become a grand unifier, or leveler, or simplifier, as families struggle to survive this pandemic. In fact, parallel to the individual’s struggle to live is the crisis facing the family.
Originally, the family is a base where various kinds of moral and ethical norms can be learned, where new values can be created, and at the same time, new cultures created and transmitted from generation to generation. Furthermore, the family can be an epicenter to fully realize social stability, national development, and world peace. This is, from the perspective of Unification Thought, the original image of the family.
Today, many activists, politicians, and sociologists are calling for change—indeed this appears more urgent than before in the face of our global pandemic. However, rather than a quantifying change as many solutions point to, is a qualifying change within the family and within our very concept about social interaction.
The family is the beginning point and source for practicing love and for creating all kinds of culture. Therefore, an attempt to create a new culture without reconstructing a loving family would surely end in failure. Indeed, the family is where we learn how to live together and interact selflessly. In fact, the family is where we learn about the important principles of joint ownership and interdependence.
Take for example, the family refrigerator. Do the parents say, “We bought this, so this is ours!”? We all grow up knowing that the refrigerator, along with all the home appliances, furniture, etc., are the family’s joint possessions. Elements of shared responsibility also are learned in the family. The conscience is the unifying factor which guides us to act responsibly and treat these shared possessions carefully and thoughtfully.
Thus, within the family we learn the principle that there are three owners of the family items. Our conscience, which is also a family conscience, or consciousness, myself, and my family members. This we call the conscience for the whole purpose, which Father Moon called ta-ah ju-ui and Mother Moon calls hyojeong. Both stress that ownership originates in the highest conscience, or God, and belongs to a higher purpose, before it belongs to the individual.
For lack of time, I must finish my remarks. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to consider the concept of interdependence, and how we can solve elements of selfishness and greed in our larger society based on the family. In our confinement at home, we are beginning to think about the seeds that we are sewing within our family. Please consider your family’s conscience, and how it can become a seed for creating a new culture based on interdependence.
Thank you very much.