Tom here. I am a trained civil engineer and attended the Unification Theological Seminary, founded by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Class of ’83. Born a long time ago way back in Germany, I came to the United States in the early 1980s and am appreciating living here. Liberal democracy, with its separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, is my kind of thing.
Apart from that, I have turned out to be a cynic, a stoic, and a social Darwinist. I do not believe that people have or ever will have a genuine desire for egalitarianism or human equality. Do people have passions for egalitarianism or human equality? Yes, but not desire. I am one of the kind who assumes inequality right from the birth of humanity and only aspires to mitigate it. John Rawls’ libertarianism and Richard Rorty’s neo-pragmatism appeal to me as a reasoned inquiry into how we ought to live in common.
I understand that cynicism cannot function as a guiding light in my or anyone’s life. Besides criticizing this or that − which is easy to do, I do wish to find ways to make positive contributions. To that end, I once had hoped to have found the proverbial silver bullet in the words and deeds of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Alas, I was mistaken. Unrestrainable shimmerings of self-interest are alive and well in all of us.
Living for the sake of others
We probably all hate being discounted, that is, being misunderstood or even intentionally put down by others, etc. As an example, I still remember my parents not sending me as a child to the gymnasium, the best school option. “No big deal,” I thought while so young. And then I buried the experience of that small discount deep in my psyche. The show had to go on. However, the experience of that discount became like a stamp in my psyche, an instance of resentment in a collection of resentments growing over time. One down here, another downer there − you get the picture. And yes, there were uppers as well. However, that early sequence of events and others even more fateful contributed to forming my particular life script − one that I am still trying to change.
My motto in life is to “believe that life is worth living, and living a worthy life.” That motto, like most all, could use some further contemplation.
Is “living a worthy life” commensurate with “living for the sake of others?” I have made peace with the motto espoused by Rev. Moon, after struggling for years with the part “…for the sake of others.” Rev. Moon’s motto had compelled me too many times to take the one-down position in relation to fate, affording others the one-up position’s benefit. I was putting myself down for many reasons, unconsciously in subtle ways. My life script, my interpretation, my bad. I had found refuge in the perverted benefit of the one-down position − reduced stress from being a ‘nice guy’ in this cruel world. One-down is part of a loser’s script which drives people to accept continuous discounting by one-uppers. The loser’s script is what kept me in a compliant position to religious fate and all.
No more of that. Over the last few decades, I have come to put more emphasis on the “living” part of the motto, that is, on thriving and not shriveling. When I thrive, free from fateful self-discounting, I naturally do benefit others and need no constant rescuer, like religious or political authorities, to tell me who and what I am. No more need for celebrities, religious or political, intended on playing the one-upmanship game on people accustomed to finding benefit in the loser’s script.
However, I give the Rev. Moon full credit for setting the example of “living for the sake of others.” Of his significant legacy, that is what I do resonate with. He voluntarily accepted the one-down position many times (Danbury prison, etc.), but without ‘caving in’ to the loser’s script. Taking the one-down position can be virtuous as it possibly gives a person the moral high ground − a virtual one-up position. A virtual one-up position may not end up as a real one-up position with consequential social powers. In a virtual one-up position, one is always an outsider, a prophet, a lone voice crying in the wilderness. To then be recognized and accepted, to be accounted for, the virtual on-downer has to work power dynamics to the max, and that is often done on the backs of followers, of other one-downers, who likely will defend their prophetic hero.
Before the law, we all ought to be equal, sure. In real life, however, we are seldom equal. People order themselves to create a stability that is hard to come by between equals. Putting the motto of “living for the sake of others” into a context of a fair one-up and/or one-down maneuver really is what a downer should contemplate not to find solace but resolve in relation to others. Cooperative and non-exploitative relationships allow us to thrive together with less shame and guilt.
Rev. Moon’s motto of ‘living for the sake of others’ and the one-up and/or one-down maneuvers probably could be further elaborated on. The motto and maneuvers seem to have a lot of pragmatic mileage. The one-uppers do understand and utilize that, the one-downers must learn that to change their life script.
My career spans decades as a fundraising operation professional working for a lot of different nonprofit organizations and California State University, at times in the capacity of a consultant and at other times as a regular, employed, mid-level administrator.
Over time, I turned away from managing complex nonprofit fundraising data operations to continue reading and contemplating philosophy as well as developing websites in the form of online social networks to promote time-tested pearls of wisdom.
As such, I have come to be doing business as HobbyJoy Media.
Philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, anthropology, and social sciences have much to say about the meaning of life, what truth is or not, and how to live the good life. However, the last word has not been spoken.