from The Research Institute for the Unification of World Thought was officially established in December 2000 in order to encourage academic research on fundamental philosophical issues in a way that is both non-sectarian and respectful of the spiritual and intellectual traditions of the world.
VI. Unity In Art
There are several pairs of correlative aspects (elements) involved in artistic activities, such as creation and appreciation, content and form, universality and individuality, eternity and temporality. Originally, these correlative aspects (elements) were not separated but united. In artistic activities up to the present, however, there has been a tendency to separate these correlative elements, or to emphasize only one element or the other. Thus, the Unification Theory of Art clarifies the nature of unity of these correlative aspects.
A. The Unity of Creation and Appreciation
Usually it is considered that creation is undertaken by the artist, while appreciation is undertaken by the general public. In the view of Unification Thought, however, the two are merely two moments in the activity of dominion. In order to exercise dominion over something, the correlative aspects of cognition and practice are necessary, and the cognition and practice that Like place centering on emotion are precisely appreciation and creation in the field of art. Cognition and practice form the two reciprocal circuits of give-and-receive action between the subject (human being) and the object (all things). Thus there can be no practice without cognition nor any cognition without practice. Therefore, in the relationship between creation and appreciation in art, there can be no appreciation without creation nor any creation without appreciation.
While engaging in creation, artists appreciate their own work; while appreciating a work of art, appreciators, engage in creation. Creation in appreciation refers to subjective action as additional creation, as mentioned above.
B. The Unity of Content and Form
Certain schools of art, such as classicism, attach importance to form, and other schools disregard form and attach importance to content. But, since content and form in art are in the relationship of sung-sang and Hyungsang, originally they should be united. That is to say, the Sungsang content (such as motif, theme, and conception) and the form in which they are expressed with materials (Hyungsang) should be in accord with each other. The Japanese aesthetician Tsutomu Jima said, “Form is actually the form of content, and content is none other than the content of form.” 16 This means that content and form should be united.
C. The Unity of Universality and Individuality
Just as, in all created beings, the universal image and individual image are united, likewise, in art, universality and individuality are united. First, there is the unity of universality and individuality in the artist. Artists have their own unique individualities, and at tile same time they belong to a certain school or have a certain method of creation in common with their specific region or period of time. The former is individuality, the latter, universality.
Since artists have universality and individuality in this way, their works necessarily come to manifest the unity of universality and individuality. Thus, in a work of art, individual beauty and universal beauty are manifested in a united manner.
In culture as well, there is unity between universality and individuality. That is, while the culture of a certain region has tile special characteristics of that region, it also has characteristics common to the culture of an even wider region to which it belongs. For example, the statue of Buddha in the Seoggul-am grotto in Korea is a representative work of Shilla culture. It is also known that this work was influenced by the international fine art of Gandhara, which fused Greek art and Buddhist culture. Hence in the Buddha statue of Seoggul-arn grotto, both national elements (Shilla culture) and international elements (Gandhara fine art) are united.
Here a question arises concerning national culture and the Unification culture. What will become of the traditional national culture of each nation when the Unification culture is formed in the future? Concerning this, let us think about the position of Communism. According to the basis-superstructure theory in historical materialism of communism, art is part of the superstructure; therefore, as the economy (the basis) develops, art (superstructure) must also change. Accordingly, in principle, traditional cultures do not need to be preserved. When there is a need for them to be preserved, it cannot but be seen that communists only try to preserve them from the viewpoint of their tactics because they are useful for their communist propaganda. But that will not be the case with Unificationism.
Unificationism seeks to form a unified culture while preserving national cultures. This means that Unification culture will be formed through gathering the essences of the different national cultures, each with its own individuality, and then raising them to a higher dimension.
D. The Unity of Eternity and Temporality
Every created being is a being uniting the identity-maintaining (static) four-position base and a developmental (dynamic) four-position base; therefore each created being exists as the unity of immutability and mutability-hence, as the unity of eternity and temporality. Likewise, in a work of art, the eternal element and the temporal elements are united.
For example, the Angelus by Millet pictures a church, a farmer and his wife in prayer, and a countryside landscape, which we can regard as the unity of-eternity and temporality. The church and the image of people in prayer transcend the ages and are eternal, but the countryside landscape and the clothes worn by tile husband and wife are temporary, unique to that particular period of time.
For another example, we can cite flowers arranged in a vase. The flowers themselves represent something eternal, which has existed from a long time ago, but the way of arranging the flowers and the vase itself are characteristic to a given period. Accordingly, tile unity of eternity and temporality is expressed there. The beauty of a work of art will become even more striking if we grasp and appreciate a “moment in eternity,” or “eternity in a moment,” as described above.