Interview with Rev. Moon, A Message To The Soviet Union
Reverend Sun Myung Moon
December 1, 1989
A Spiritual Revolution is Needed
Reverend Sun Myung Moon has given his first public interview in thirteen years and, significantly at during this time of change, it was to a prominent Soviet journalist, the one who also interviewed Mrs. Moon earlier this year. This is a translation by Andrew Kessler of the article “A Spiritual Revolution is Needed” from the Moscow weekly newspaper “Abroad,” issue no. 47, 1989 in the “Religion and Society” section. This translation of the interview was published in advertisements in major newspapers around the United States under the banner head, “Rev. Moon breaks his Silence.
by V. Yordansky
It is late at night. The lights of Seoul glitter in the black mirror of the Han River. It is quiet. The never-silent voice of the South Korean capital doesn’t reach this garden-surrounded home on the high river bank. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon has given an interview for the first time in the last one and half decades. What’s more, he broke his silence for the sake of a discussion with Soviet journalists. If one recalls what were still not too long ago his anticommunist expressions, it becomes obvious that this gesture is symbolic. The tone of the interview is characteristic as well, markedly friendly.
The voice of Rev. Moon is heeded by thousands of followers of the Unification Church in many countries of world, the church founded by him in 1954. His religious quests have helped these people in their search for the meaning of life in a society torn by the sharpest moral contradictions. Many of the ideas of Rev. Moon are far from the views which are widely disseminated in our society. At the same time, his profound interest in the human being, to whom he attributes the priority of spirituality, leads his ideas, in their own way, to have much in common with the concept of “new thinking.”
Q. Your daughter-in-law Hoon Sook (Julia) Moon is a ballerina, and she will soon appear on the stage of the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad. Does this testify to your personal interest in cultural collaboration between South Korea and the Soviet Union?
A. I am very happy that Hoon Sook will dance on the stage of the Kirov Theatre. I know very well the high artistic traditions which have long characterized Russian ballet, and the Kirov and Bolshoi companies in particular. Hoon Sook has a tremendous talent, and she has worked very hard to develop her skills. She has long dreamt of performing in the Soviet Union, and this is her first opportunity. But this landmark in the artistic career of my daughter-in-law is also, at the same time, an important moment in the development of my personal contact with the Soviet Union. I have been long been interested in the arts.
Several years ago I founded the “Universal Ballet Company,” which now has its own school in Washington, D.C. This project was the culmination of a series of other cultural undertakings which I have been developing over the past twenty years. About ten years ago I became involved with the New York City Symphony Orchestra, and I took part in the founding of the international choir, “New Hope Singers,” as well as several other musical groups, orchestras, and ensembles.
Over two decades ago, I had the idea to acquaint other parts of the world with the culture of Korea. At that time I created the Little Angels, the Korean children’s dance ensemble, which has since performed in over 60 nations around the world, with over 300 television appearances. This troupe was made up of children because I felt that children, more than anyone else, represent peace. Before children, even the most cynical people throw down their usual masks and become capable of feeling the purity and love which all human beings seek.
I am always inspired by true talent and artistic genius. This might help you to understand my tremendous respect for the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad. This theatre is a living embodiment of Russian tradition. It has inherited the classical repertoire and has had the most profound influence on the art of ballet throughout the world. In my opinion, the Kirov Ballet is especially fortunate to have Oleg Vinogradov as its artistic director. I have great respect for him and for his talent. I am even hoping that he will be able to direct our own program, which would allow us to master the traditions of the Kirov Theatre. This type of artistic exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union would realistically advance the objectives of glasnost and prestroika. The Soviet Union, the United States, and the whole world will benefit.
Q. Overall, the level of tension between nations in the world is declining. We are witnessing countries, which only a few years ago saw each other as enemies, now beginning to work toward cooperation. The world needs such cooperation to solve the burning issues of the day — environmental, social, and most important, the problem of world peace. How do you regard these changes?
A. I wholeheartedly welcome the lessening of tension among the nations of the world. The goal of my life’s efforts has been to foster an environment conducive to true and lasting peace on earth. And I am not alone in this endeavor.
All people are seeking peace. So we might ask, “Why has peace not come?” It is easy to say “peace” but achieving it is tremendously arduous. In my opinion, if we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace among nations, we must settle our peace with God.
Man is created to develop himself during his physical existence as a God-like individual. Tragically, without having achieved this goal, it has been impossible to have peace with God and with other people. With our selfishness, we block our own development and the development of other people and nations. The greatest barrier to peace in our world today is greed and selfishness in the human heart. Individual greed opens the way to national greed. This leads to divisiveness and conflict among people and nations. Tragically, this has caused so much bloodshed and needless human suffering.
Millions have senselessly perished. Certainly economic and social problems are important to resolve. However, to find a lasting a solution to these problems, we must first address this issue of human greed and selfishness. Otherwise, even though we make changes in systems, the individuals who guide such systems, will also be tempted to use them for their own personal ends. What our world most needs today is, therefore, a spiritual revolution. Then we can successfully solve our economic and social problems. If each individual and each nation can recognize the value of a fraternal spirit of cooperation, they are then prepared to address, as you said, “the burning issues of the day” including the pursuit of world peace.
The Soviet Union is launching the concept of “new thinking” about international cooperation. In our opinion, the world is facing such critical issues that the nations of the world must set aside personal interests and develop cooperation. What do you think about this conception? First of all, I would like to congratulate President Gorbachev for his sincere and determined effort to launch glasnost and perestroika. President Gorbachev is a man of great courage and conviction. I know very well that his great political reforms, based on “new thinking,” have had enormous influence on international relations. Undoubtedly, the Soviet Union still has many economic difficulties. But I am rather optimistic regarding the future of the Soviet Union.
As more people appreciate President Gorbachev’s sincere desire to bring about real change, greater support for his efforts will come from every corner of the world. Also I believe that the Soviet Union must make efforts in two other areas. One of these is religious freedom. I congratulate President Gorbachev because I know very well of the significant progress that has already been made in this area.
Secondly, I would encourage the efforts you are making in business and commerce to develop a wider-based individual incentive system. When people are stimulated, they are inclined to work hard and produce more. This is the secret of the success of the free enterprise system. Once again, I would like to say that I really appreciate the courage and ideas of President Gorbachev. I am willing to support his program in any way that I can so that is can succeed. The Soviet Union must succeed in this effort. It is a mandate of history.
Q. Reverend Moon, you are known not only as a spiritual leader, but also as a most successful businessman. What are the most important projects which you are working on in the world today?
A. As I have already said, my lifetime desire is to achieve world peace. As you may know, in 1981, in Seoul, at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, where prominent scientists gathered together from over 100 nations of the world, I announced my plans for an International Peace Highway. When this massive project is completed, it will be possible to drive by automobile with one’s family from Tokyo to London. In my opinion, the International Peace Highway will help to unite people into one human family. And surely modern technology almost obliges us to live as one family if we are to survive.
Already work on the undersea tunnel which will connect the Korean peninsula with Japan has substantially moved forward. We have completed the planning stage and initial excavation has already started. A couple of years ago, I conveyed this idea to officials of the Peoples’ Republic of China. They expressed positive interest in the project and are conducting a feasibility study. Of course this project will eventually have to involve the Soviet Union because of its key geographical position in both Europe and Asia. I hope that I can establish contact with representatives of your government.
At the present time, I am also helping to create an automobile production city in Southern China in order to enhance the PRC’s export opportunities. It is an exciting challenge to help to create an exportable car for mainland China, and it will happen in the not too distant future. The modernization of China will help to assure the well-being of over one billion people. This is crucial for future world peace. There are three primary enemies of humankind — hunger, disease, and human ignorance. The nations of the world need to pool their strengths to conquer these enemies.
These problems are particularly severe in Africa, and Central and South America. This is why the future industrial development of the resources of the Pacific ocean is so important. I have established businesses which perform every aspect of the fishing industry, from the design and construction of large fishing vessels, to the catching of fish, to the construction of fish farms. In the future the sea will provide nutrition and livelihood for many of the world’s peoples. And its mastery is a reliable means to end world hunger.
Q. I understand that you have declined to give any interviews since the early 1970’s. And yet you are now giving an interview to, of all people, a journalist from the Soviet Union. Some people in my country think of you as an enemy of the Soviet Union. What is your true relationship to my Motherland and its people?
A. Yes, I am granting this interview only because the Russian people are dear to me and the development of the Soviet Union in its current period occupies a special place in my heart. I believe that the outcome of the Soviet Union’s current program of restructuring will determine the future course of history. But now about myself. I will be frank and honest with you when I say that I am not at all an enemy of the USSR. Furthermore, I am not anyone’s enemy.
Take, for example, my experience in America. I could hate America because I was very much mistreated there and was even forced to serve a prison term on dubious charges. And yet I tell you frankly that I am not an enemy of the American people or of the American government. For me, the word “hatred” is a foreign word. As a religious leader, I believe that it is my duty to love all my fellow men. When I look at a person, I always ask myself, “What is it that God loves in this person?” Remarkably, God always shows me something that moves me in every human being that I encounter.
I cannot conceal from you that for forty years I have been opposed to Marxism. It is not because I hate Karl Marx. Karl Marx was right to decry human suffering and exploitation, but at the same time, Marxism asserts that there is no God, whereas my vivid spiritual experience has shown me that God exists, and that there is nothing more important than finding and knowing his heart. The Russian people are dear to me because they have always been a great people in history, called to be a bridge between European and Asian culture. I also want the people of the Soviet Union to know that I wish President Gorbachev success in his historical undertakings.
I predict that through his efforts in favor of true democratization and true religious freedom, the Soviet Union will be able not only to keep us with the West but to overtake it. Nations such as the United States and many other countries in the Western world have often abused freedom. Their traditional value systems are being eroded. America, for example, is beset with tremendous problems — drug addiction, racial violence, and moral corruption in the political leadership, just to name a few.
President Bush literally declared war on drugs because millions of young Americans have been victimized. This is probably the greatest war the United States has ever waged. All of these problems stem from the fact that there is something seriously lacking in American life. If you will, it really boils down to a spiritual problem. In my opinion, both East and West must undergo tremendous spiritual changes.
I want to assure the people of the Soviet Union that Reverend Moon is your friend. My movement in 130 countries is your friend as well. Our globe today is like a boat sailing on a stormy ocean. If the boat weathers the storm, we will all be saved, and clearly we must save ourselves. To do that, we must learn to live together in brotherhood as part of one common family. Then we will not only survive but prosper. My sincere desire is that God bless your country, and bless the future of your great people. I sincerely hope that one day soon I will have the chance to visit your beautiful homeland.
Probably each reader of this interview would agree with one thing, and disagree with another. But it appears that the words of Rev. Moon eloquently attest to the fact that the conceptions of “new thinking” open up before us new horizons of cooperation for mankind. This is becoming possible both as a result of the changes in our society and as a result of the perceptions of our country in circles which not too long ago were extremely far from us. We will hope that these possibilities will be successfully realized.