Explanation of the concepts “homogeneous elements” and “absolute attributes”

Note 7. To the Subsection “Difference and Homogeneity between Sungsang and Hyungsang

Let me concretely explain about homogeneous elements and absolute attributes. One may raise the question: “Even though Sungsang and Hyungsang are two expressions of the homogeneous element, Sungsang itself and Hyungsang itself are different, aren’t they? For example, steam and ice are the two expressions of water (H2O). They are supposed to be essentially the same in that both have in them-selves the relative relationship between attraction and repulsion of water molecules. However, attraction and repulsion are different from each other. Likewise, even if it is claimed that Sungsang and Hyungsang are homogeneous in that Sungsang contains Hyungsang and Hyungsang contains Sungsang, aren’t Sungsang and Hyungsang themselves different from each other?”

This question seems reasonable but, nevertheless, is shortsighted. It arises from one’s being unaware of the fact that the phenomenal world is somewhat different from the causal world. In fact, there is a difference between macroscopic phenomena and microscopic phenomena. For example, the principle of uncertainty says that, in the microscopic world, the position of the particle and its momentum can not be exactly determined at the same time through our observation. Also, light, or the photon, is known to have the two discrepant attributes of particle and wave at the same time. Such phenomena are not seen in the macro-scopic world. In other words, there are certain cases in which we can not understand microscopic phenomena in the same manner as we do when we think of the macroscopic world. This means that there are cases when we have to abandon our ideas and concepts formed in the macroscopic world in order to understand the microscopic world properly.

A similar thing can be said about our knowledge of the attributes of God, the ultimate Cause. It is not always appropriate to apply our concepts of the phenomenal world to the causal world. In the above-mentioned example of ice and steam, I explained that the common element between them is the relative relationship between attraction and repulsion of water molecules. As for the question whether the attractive force and the repulsive force are essentially different or not, it will be properly answered if it is proven that both forces originate from a single force.

Though it is not yet proven that the attractive force and the repulsive force originate from a single force, we will assume that the separation into two attributes from one attribute is possible in the causal world. For example, a photon, which belongs to the microscopic world, manifests itself as particle and wave. The photon, or light quantum, as named by A. Einstein, is “light” which has the united attributes. When a photon operates in the actual world, it shows one of the two characters according to the circumstances. In other words, the substance of light is one, but only manifests itself as one of its attributes.

Light gives us brightness and heat. This does not mean that brightness and heat, which are separate qualities, are united in the light. Rather, a light is perceived as brightness and warmth through our sense of sight and sense of touch respectively. Likewise, we should understand that God’s Sungsang and Hyungsang are not essentially different attributes, but rather are one absolute attribute which has become separated into two correlative attributes in His creation. If Sungsang and Hyungsang were essentially heterogeneous attributes, give and receive action between them would not be possible.

When I explain Sungsang and Hyungsang in this way, one may think that this is the same as the Identity-philosophy. The Identity-philosophy claims that the correlative elements in the phenomenal world―spirit and matter, or subject and object―originate from one and the same entity (the absolute). In contrast, the theory of homogeneity of Sungsang and Hyungsang is an argument in the realm of the Causal Being, namely, God. In God, there is no time; therefore, the relationship between the absolute and the relative attributes is not cause and effect. Hence, in God, the absolute attribute is at the same time a relative attribute. In this respect, it is quite different from the Identity-philosophy.