Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The Philosophy of
Paul Roubiczek

Comparison of Paul Roubiczek's Philosophy with Unification Thought

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Psalms 111:10)

For people of faith, philosophy is valuable in so much as it assists to approach Ultimate Truth (the Absolute, or God). Toward this end, I have found both Unification Thought and Paul Roubiczek's philosophy to be very valuable.

Unification Thought is the philosophical aspect of Reverend Sun Myung Moon's teaching. Rev. Moon is a man of faith. He is concerned to restore the unity of love between mankind and God. That affects every aspect of human life, and is the solid foundation of a wisdom that includes heart. 'Divine Principle' refers to Rev. Moon's formal religious thought, from which 'Unification Thought', the philosophical aspects are derived.


Foundations in Kant, The "Thing per se"

Thinking in Opposites does not provide final results or conclusions; it seeks the constant activity of thinking, which will be most fruitful when we do it properly. For this, Roubiczek accepts some of the fundamental theses of Kant as his starting point.

Of special note is the concept of the "thing per se", because Unification Thought does not accept Kant's view. Roubiczek writes "I believe Kant to be right when he says that we cannot apprehend anything unless primary reality, the 'thing per se', affects us, but that by our dependence on the laws of thinking and the application of a priori concepts we are cut off from any absolute knowledge of it." So at first glance, it appears that the two philosophies are at odds. Yet when other factors are considered, the differing points of view can be reconciled.

By identifying the 'thing per se' with primary reality, which cannot be known directly, Thinking in Opposites coincides with Unification Thought which says that we cannot see the sung sang (internal character) of the Original Image (God); we can know it only indirectly through observing the creation.

On a further note, Unification Thought faults Kant with placing form only within the mind of the observer, and content only within the object. Unification Thought says that both content and form are present in the subject and in the object.

However, Kant never denied that form existed in unity with content in the object; he only recognized that we could never "know" this rationally because of the limitations of our thinking, which rely on a priori forms. With Roubiczek's development of Kant's method into a full recognition of opposites in thinking, we find that content and form must be considered as separate only in our thinking. They are considered as unified in primary reality. Our thought cannot comprehend that unity, but we can access it and "know" it through feeling. Thus Roubiczek does not seem to be at odds with Unification Thought on the issue of content and form.

Unification Thought is compatible with some other aspects of Kant's epistemology. For example, the importance of a priori elements (Unification Thought's prototypes) in our thought.

Ontology

Divine Principle and Paul Roubiczek's thought each independently identifies a fundamental internal/external duality.

Roubiczek does not deal with essential ontology as does Unification Thought. But the foundations of his thought must have a beginnig, and this he identifies as the opposition of "self" with "other". This corresponds with the fundamental concept of subject/object in Unification Thought.

Roubiczek is concerned with how man perceives reality and how he approaches the absolute. Based on the nature of human thinking, within 'primary reality' he opposes 'internal reality' to 'external reality'. Emerging from a long tradition of Western concepts, Roubiczek clarifies this duality better than anyone before him.

Divine Principle bases its ontology on the need for man to understand something about the nature of the Creator. Utilizing the wisdom of yin/yang philosophy, it discerns universal characteristics within the creation which provide insight into God's nature. Two levels of dual characteristics are distinguished: internal nature/external form and masculinity/femininity. Internal/external is more fundamental than masculine/feminine. As such, Divine Principle initiates a Copernican revolution within Oriental thought, pinpointing why Taoism fails to identify Taeguk (the Great Ultimate) as a God of personality. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, pp. 15-21)

As in all Western philosophy, Roubiczek does not distinguish an essential duality of masculinity/femininity or yin/yang as do the Oriental philosophies.

Good and Evil

Both Divine Principle and Roubiczek reject theological dualism. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 57; Ethical Values in the Age of Science, p. 105 ff.)

Roubiczek sees the concept 'evil' as a necessary opposition in order for us to recognize 'good'. Yet this opposition remains only in the realm of thought; it never enters the realm of the absolute or primary reality. Thus, the good transcends evil. (Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 1, section 1, paragraph 13; Chapter 11, section 2, subsection (c), paragraph 5 ff.)

Divine Principle does not necessarily grant the concept of evil a permanent role in human thought; goodness can be seen in the proper exercise of whole purpose over self purpose.

In both philosophies, evil is relegated to a relative role, while goodness is absolute.

Two Methods of Thinking

Roubiczek's philosophy is unique in his discernment of two methods of thinking. Both subjective thinking and objective thinking are required because we apprehend reality only in opposition (duality).

The Introduction to Exposition of the Divine Principle says 'People are composed of two aspects: internal and external, or mind and body; likewise, the intellect consists of two aspects: internal and external.' Other hints appear, but two opposing methods are not identified as integral to the process of thinking. The closest parallel occurs when explaining ideological conflicts in the history of restoration (pp. 353-357): people pursue internal and external desires flowing from their original nature, giving rise to the Abel-type and Cain-type views of life. This indicates that man's dual characteristics affect how he thinks.

In conjunction with man's dual characteristics and dual purposes which reflect God's nature and purpose, it is easy to imagine that Roubiczek's approach is congruous with Divine Principle.

Roubiczek acknowledges an incompatibility between the two methods of thinking. They produce an agonizing inner division. Although man seeks for unity, he is "unable to understand the two main constituents of himself: body and mind." (Ethical Values in the Age of Science, pp. 120-121) This perspective of man's inner struggle parallels that in the Introduction to Exposition of the Divine Principle (pp. 1-2). But Roubiczek only goes so far as to attribute this dissonance to man's ignorance. Divine Principle identifies the cause as a fundamental struggle between good and evil; ignorance is a byproduct of that struggle.

Roubiczek does not resolve the disharmony; it is part of man's experience of existence that everything appears as two realities. "We seem suspended over an abyss of the unknown and the conflict between the two realities within us seems to be more real than the realities themselves, ... " (Ethical Values in the Age of Science, p. 121.) He does, however, identify man's inherent longing for a unitary coherence that will do justice to the unity of his personality. (Thinking in Opposites Chapter 1, Section 1, paragraphs 21-22.) That accords with Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 18: "The human mind imparts to every person a natural inclination to join with others in harmony." Roubiczek's acknowledgement of the underlying unity of primary reality and the significant role of feeling leaves a door open for the eventual bridging of this abyss through man's encounter with the absolute. (Ethical Values in the Age of Science, p. 305.) That concords with Divine Principle's insistence on the ultimate unity of God, man and creation. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 35)

I find Roubiczek's approach to understanding thinking very helpful. It has added new depth to my appreciation of Divine Principle and how to apply it.

Cain-type view of life

"Some people regard the progress of history from the medieval to the modern world as a process which has alienated people from God and religion. This is because they view history according to the Cain-type view of life." (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 356) The Cain-type view of life is that which has pursued external aspects of man's original nature. Examples include: the ancient heritage of Hellenism, the humanism of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, Deism, materialism, atheism, and the scientific secularism of today's modern world. The Cain-type view of life discredits anything deemed irrational or other-worldly, including belief in the God of the Bible.

Roubiczek recognizes the inadequacy of science to explain the whole of reality. The successes of the physical sciences have lured people into thinking that science can comprehensively explain everything. He demonstrates how the sciences, which pride themselves on sticking to objective knowledge, actually do not and cannot function without subjective knowledge as well. (Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 1, Section 1, paragraph 16 ff.; Ethical Values in the Age of Science, Chapters 2 and 3, and pp. 171-174.) In many ways Roubiczek vindicates the importance of feelings, religion and personal experience. (e.g., Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 3, Section 1; Chapter 6.)

Abel-type view of life

"The German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) analyzed philosophically the internal and external pursuits of the original nature, thus pioneering the Abel-type view of life in the philosophical sphere." (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 356) Paul Roubiczek relies heavily on the work of Kant. "I accept the fundamental theses of Kant as my starting point in this book." (Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 2, note at end of Section 1) Roubiczek does not discredit the external, but acknowledges the value of both the transcendental and the experiential. Internal and external reality are two aspects of one underlying unity. (Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 2, Section 1, paragraph 4.) Roubiczek is clearly in the mould of Abel-type philosophy.

I am struck by the timing in which Roubiczek's philosophy and Rev. Moon's thought appeared. Rev. Moon received and consolidated the contents of Divine Principle between 1935 and 1948. During the same period, Paul Roubiczek was formulating his Thinking in Opposites, finally published in 1952.

Absolute Values

Rev. Moon is intricately concerned with Absolute Values and the underlying harmony which should exist between science and religion. He has made the search for Absolute Values the perennial theme of the International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences which his movement has consistently sponsored.

Roubiczek likewise acknowledges the absolute and absolute values. (Thinking in Opposites, Chapter 9; Thinkig Towards Religion, Chapter 7; Ethical Values in the Age of Science, pp. 70-73; 241; 267 ff.) He sees that the absolute goes beyond the strict limits of philosophy; human thinking alone will not reveal all truth.

Science and Religion
Epistemology

By countering the tendency of modern science to discount the significance of internal (subjective) knowledge, Roubiczek's philosophy contributes substantially to the unification of science and religion. With solid reasoning he establishes the bases upon which man must consider subjective reality. This can greatly help religious people to speak authoritatively to science. We must understand the limits of the physical and social sciences. We must understand the limits of philosophy. We must understand the proper role of spirituality and religion in man's comprehension of the whole of reality. (Ethical Values in the Age of Science, Chapters 2 and 3; and pp. 71; 171-174.) Clarifying how man thinks is an enormous step to overcoming both internal and external ignorance.

A caution about terminology

It is helpful to keep in mind that the opposing terms 'subject'/'object' and their derivities 'subjective'/'objective' are used with different connotations in Oriental and Western philosophy. Roubiczek uses them in the purely Western sense; Rev. Moon in the Eastern sense of yin/yang. The disparity cannot be attributed solely to language; there is a fundamental difference in perspective. I would say that in Western thought, the positions of subject and object are treated as incidental; whereas in the Oriental mind they are an intrinsic aspect of existence. The differences in the use of the terms creates some difficulty in distinguishing their compatibility.