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“Yuai” for Understanding

I. Origin of Yuai idea

1. What is Yuai?

Yuai is an idea on which the Yuai spirit, the Yuai revolution and the Yuai society explained in the referenced book are based. The Yuai idea has a complete set of theories and is not something that already exists for us to follow, but it is the basis on which all of us discuss, study and enhance the idea towards the future.

In this connection, Coudenhove-Kalergi made a prediction in 1935 (prior to publishing his book in 1938) of the end of Fascism and Bolshevism and stated that the development of technology would put an end to class warfare, poverty and slavery still in existence and reform the society dramatically. He also said that people would, then, awake to the individual identity and that the society and the state would be built in concentric circles with the maternal feeling, which is the kernel of the Yuai idea, at their center.

He continued that the highest duty of human being was self-perfection that would be achieved by such thoughts as, if said in a Japanese way, "Shushin" (ethics), "Seika" (governance of the family), "Chikoku" (governance of the state) or "Heitenka" (statecraft described in the Great Learning extracted from the Book of Rites). He stressed the importance of an educational reform for the attainment of self-perfection and advocated a start of the Yuai principle and a need for the Yuai revolution on the proposition that all human beings are brothers and sisters of the same god, whatever their race, their faith, their language or their class.

2. Yuai idea and Yuai revolution

Coudenhove-Kalergi stressed the need for the Yuai revolution by saying, "It (=the fraternal revolution) will, now that the revolution in favour of freedom has been brought to a standstill and the revolution in favour of equality has failed, build bridges between one nation and another, and one class and another, in order to bring to all of them the glad tidings of the brotherhood of free men."

Before we can know what the Yuai revolution is, we need to understand the idea of Yuai. Coudenhove-Kalergi explained that Yuai would resolve and overcome the conflict between freedom and equality and would trace its root to the fraternity of the French Revolution.

In religious context, the Yuai principle is generally understood as love of neighbors and self-respect leading directly to love of others. Coudenhove-Kalergi said, "The French Revolution took place to fight for the cause to realize freedom, equality and fraternity. The Revolution, however, ended up with obtaining freedom but equality and fraternity (Yuai) were not attained, leaving freedom and equality still incompatible with each other. Economic equality is everybody's desire but it is of no value at all unless freedom exists together." He continued that the laissez-fair society brought about economic inequality, unfair distribution of wealth and widened differential between rich and poor, which should be remedied in one way or another. In order to resolve the inconsistency between freedom and equality and to harmonize the two, he proposed the Yuai principle and called for the Yuai revolution to penetrate the principle into the people's mind.

The term "revolution" could lead you to think of terrorism by power, but what Coudenhove-Kalergi meant is a spiritual revolution of each individual. If Yuai is implanted in the mind of each person or native love of humanity is aroused in the mind, then the Yuai revolution is achieved successfully. Such mental revolution is not carried out by violence or force, but it is to mutually respect the human dignity that is naturally given to the individual as the right. Coudenhove-Kalergi continued to say that the right must be superior to any social systems or nations and, therefore, any political or economic systems of the state must at first be based on this idea. He also added that such Yuai society is an ideal form of the Yuai principle which we must approach by performing the mental revolution step by step.

3. Yuai Society

Coudenhove-Kalergi emphasized that the goal of the Yuai revolution is a realization of the Yuai society or, more precisely, a society consisting of Lady and Gentleman. Ideal Lady and Gentleman may be an absolutely perfect god and, therefore, such society seems to be an unattainable idealistic society in the human world.

Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote in his book, "Neither priest-like moral excellence nor genius-like knowledge excellence is required. A man of normal talent and intelligence is certainly human and will be able to reach the ideal goal."

Thus, he said that a man of normal talent and knowledge could become a Gentleman. But, it should be noted that the word Gentleman as he used referred to British type Gentleman in the chivalric medieval Europe, who may be characterized by such attributes as elegant, well-educated, polite, honest, humorous, cleanly, etc. He also said, "Gentleman, however, must bear the moral responsibility to respect and protect Lady as he is physically stronger than Lady."

Like this, Lady and Gentleman that Coudenhove-Kalergi referred to are ideal humanity, but we, as the Japanese, should be able to understand and try to come as close as possible to his ideal. A person endeavoring to seek for the ideal, however, may opt to justify himself or herself in escaping from the real society where he or she lives in by saying that the society is just wrong. Coudenhove-Kalergi made a very interesting discussion regarding the political world of his time. He started with an incisive statement, "Politics today is partly in the hands of evil people," and continued, "Politicians are proud of deceiving their enemies, breaking contracts, betraying friends or surprising others. They believe that they rise above such concepts as good or bad, right or wrong, respectful or disrespectful or high or low, and flatter themselves that what they do is supported by the majority of the people." His book, although it was published in 1938, tells us an instructive hint as to how we understand the politics today in Japan and other parts of the world.

Now it is the time for us to understand the Yuai principle and devote ourselves to pursue the way the parliamentary and democratic government should work in order to improve today's confused political society. In this regard, Coudenhove-Kalergi stated, "The way the ideal of Lady and Gentleman will be like in the future will determine the future of politics. Unless the ideal will widely spread over the years to come, politicians will not stop doing such foolish acts as breaking commitments or making election pledges to do what they really are not going to do at all. It is only when the ideal is deeply rooted in the society that the democratic government is established on the firm foundation. Then, and only then, will the voters be able to entrust the government and national leadership to those who are decent enough to manager their wealth and look after their children, that is, to those who are Gentlemen." It is up to you whether you think this too idealistic or not.

The above discussion shows that Coudenhove-Kalergi correctly suggested the way the democratic government should work and what the people should do.

What we should do today is to try hard to come as close as possible to the ideal of Lady or Gentleman, and choose politicians close to that ideal through elections. Each of us, as an individual and also as a member of the society, should recognize our own role and stop to think what an ideal of the role is like and how the role should be put into practice in the real society. This is where the Yuai principle starts from.

The ultimate Yuai society may be an ideal one, but it is important that each of us should try to perceive the society not as an abstract entity but as a real world. The goal may be far away but we should go forward one step at a time for the development of better future. This is what Yuai aims at and so does the society.

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