The Words of the Breen Family


Michael Breen
January 5, 1999

Koreans are not easy to deal with. Many Koreans feel very awkward with foreigners, and vice versa. In Korea itself, resident foreigners are constantly complaining about Koreans. You see this in Japan, too, but not so much in other countries.

I think it is possible to look at this problem charitably.

Koreans are insecure about their national identity. Also they live in a hierarchical world in which people are above or below and only rarely equal in terms of status and perceived value. It is extremely difficult for other cultures to relate to this. However, some western companies where there is a strong character at the top and a rather unforgiving management style have this same kind of culture.

In the Unification Church, these insecure, nationalistic people find themselves not just in charge, but being members of the "chosen nation." It is heady stuff, but Koreans are not so fooled. They know what they are. They know their country is only just emerging from a backward, poverty stricken, authoritarian history.

Ironically, it is the starry-eyed followers who believe the chosen nation stuff.

Still, Koreans are very good at behaving appropriately in position. When a servant they will be obsequious. When in charge, they will be imperious. It's normal for a fatherly boss to berate his "children." This type of yelling and interfering can be a pain in the butt, but when it comes from someone who is loving and who is looking out for their welfare, it can make you feel warm and protected. As a child one has to learn when it is appropriate to express oneself. The rule of thumb is -- not in public.

Westerners in the Unification Church are more internal and religious than the Asians in my opinion. They also take things more literally -- as one does in free and open society (obliqueness, reading between the lines, using symbols etc. is a feature of communication in un-free environments). So, when the Divine Principle says Cain must unite with Abel, and Father says you are Cain, a westerner struggles with his lower self to be good. A Korean might ignore what everyone else says and pursue his ambition. Is he so wrong? In struggling to unite, one faces two types of fallen nature -- there is the bad guy (Cain) who has to be suppressed, and there is the wimpy victim (Mr. Bean) who has to be released. By uniting with someone who is wrong or foolish, are you suppressing Cain or refusing to liberate Mr. Bean? Hmm. No one has asked this question until now.

When someone says that America started World War Two, what do you do? I'd suggest he read the Divine Principle. Or tell him you're going to report him to the Korean embassy as a North Korean spy.

Actually, for the record, this sounds like a distortion of an idea that has come up before and I think it was Father who first said it. If I recall correctly, he said that because American missionaries backed the only institution in Korea that the Japanese could not suppress, Tokyo became nervous for its empire and this fear led to Pearl Harbor.

My recommendation is to be skeptical when people comment on history in this way. They may not have all the facts.

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