Talk to Senior Officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea

    October 25, 1990

    Recently I have read articles on the Juche idea, written by some social scientists, and found that they do not correctly explain the originality and superiority of the Juche philosophy in conformity with the Party’s policy. This proves that they themselves still do not have a correct viewpoint and understanding of the Juche philosophy.

    In connection with this, I would like to speak about some problems arising in correctly understanding, explaining and propagating the Juche philosophy.

    First of all, we must correct the tendency to explain the superiori¬ty and originality of the Juche idea from the point of view of Marxist dialectical materialism.

    I once referred to the need to correctly understand the originality of the Juche idea because in the past some social scientists tended to explain this idea in the framework of Marxist dialectical material¬ism, but it seems to me that they still do not have a correct under¬standing of this problem.

    In order to prove the justice and superiority of the Juche philoso¬phy, we must clearly understand the limitations of the preceding philosophy and consider this philosophy in its correlation with the lat¬ter. Only when the Juche philosophy is studied in comparison with Marxist philosophy the limitations of which lie in the fact that it regards the development of all things as a process of the history of nature, can its superiority be clearly elucidated. Some people attempt to explain the fundamental principles of the Juche philosophy, including the essential characteristics of man, from the point of view of the general law of the development of the material world, instead of explaining them by clarifying the law of social movement. In the final analysis, this can be construed as being tantamount to trying to explain the Juche philosophy from the viewpoint of the development of Marxist dialectical materialism, not as a completely original phi¬losophy. This makes it impossible to clarify the originality of the Juche philosophy correctly.

    Overcoming the limitations of the preceding theory, which regards the development of things as an objective process of the his¬tory of nature, presents itself as a very urgent requirement in the pre¬sent revolutionary practice. At present bourgeois thinkers, revision¬ists and reformists are infusing people with spontaneity and the mat¬ter-first doctrine, considering all things and phenomena from the biological and evolutionary point of view and the vulgar materialis¬tic viewpoint. In explaining and propagating the Juche philosophy, we ought to direct the spearhead of criticism to such a biological and vulgar materialistic outlook on the world.

    We must have a correct understanding of the law of the unity of opposites and of the struggle between them.

    The fact that the Juche philosophy is considered largely in rela¬tion with Marxist dialectical materialism can also be seen in the explanation of this law.

    The main content of Marxist dialectical materialism is the princi¬ple of the unity of opposites and of the struggle between them. How¬ever, this is not a problem which should be considered simply from a scientific point of view. Like other theoretical problems of Marxism-Leninism, the law of the unity of opposites and of the struggle between them must be historically considered from the point of view of revolutionary practice. Importance was attached to this law in Marxist dialectical materialism. This is due to the fact that it was an important and historic task to elucidate philosophically the socio-economic contradictions of the then capitalist society and the law of the class struggle. Therefore, I think that the principle of the unity and struggle between opposites elucidated by the Marxist philoso¬phy has many unreasonable points in clarifying the law of the devel¬opment of socialist society at present. That is why we did not men¬tion this principle much when explaining the theory of the Juche philosophy.

    Today our country is confronted with an important revolutionary task of building socialism and reunifying the country. Under these circumstances we must think of what theoretical significance emphasis on the principle of the unity of opposites and of the strug¬gle between them as an important philosophical problem will have and how it will affect the revolution and construction. If this prob¬lem is explained in a misguided way, this will give people the impression that we are engrossed in idle talk on a philosophical problem that does not suit real life and may exert an undesirable influence on those who are fighting for national reunification. We must never indulge in empty theories and talks which are not helpful to the revolution and construction nor must we try to follow the existing principles or the theories of others which do not suit us.

    Next, it is important to have a correct understanding of the essen¬tial characteristics of man.

    These characteristics are clarified in detail in the Party documents which have already been published. However, some articles which explain the Juche idea do not accord with these documents.

    In interpreting the essential qualities of man, some people state that man has common features with other organisms, and that, at the same time, he has an attribute fundamentally different from that of the latter in the level of development, and explain the differences between the essential attributes of man and those of other organisms as the differences in the level of development.

    We must not understand man’s essential attributes as the development and perfection of the natural attributes which organisms in general have. Of course, it can be said that, when considered from the viewpoint of a biological being, man’s body is superior to that of other organisms in the level of development. However, when he is considered from the viewpoint of a social being, man is fundamen¬tally different from all other organisms, for the attributes peculiar to him. Regarding man’s essential characteristics as the differences in the level of development of organisms is an evolutionary method of consideration.

    Although man is a product of evolution, the essential attributes of man, a social being, are not products of evolution; they have been formed and developed socially and historically. I mentioned it long ago. However, some people try to regard man’s essential attributes as a matter of differences in the level of development of the attributes which organisms in general have. This proves that they are still attempting to consider man’s essential characteristics with the evolutionary methodology.

    It is also a wrong method of consideration to try to seek the essential characteristics of man, who is distinguished from an ani-mal, in the diversity of biological and social components and in the complexity of the ways of their combination.

    As a matter of fact, all things have definite components as well as combination and structure. Therefore, in clarifying the characteris¬tics of things we can deliberate in comparison whether their compo¬nents as well as their combination and structure are complex or sim¬ple. According to the degree of their complexity, we can explain the characteristics of different material elements. However, whether the components and the combination and structure are complex or sim¬ple is the question which can be raised only between those material elements that can be compared with each other. Man is the only social being in the world. Therefore, we cannot compare him with animal by considering their components and their combination and structure. The fundamental differences between social being and nat¬ural being cannot be correctly clarified only by examining the diversity and complexity of the components and their combination and structure.

    We must have a correct idea of the social being.

    Some articles explaining the Juche idea write that social wealth also belongs to the social being. However, it is a wrong viewpoint to identify man with social wealth created by him.

    Man is a social being. This implies that he is a being who lives in a social relationship. This term is used to distinguish man from a natural being. As man is a social being, he has independence, cre¬ativity and consciousness, attributes which are peculiar to him and which other material beings cannot have. However, if the wealth created by man is also considered to belong to the social being, there will be no fundamental differences between man and wealth and it will be impossible to give an answer to the question of on what the essential characteristics peculiar to man are based.

    Next, it is necessary to have a correct understanding of the corre¬lation between the transformation of nature, man and society.

    These undertakings are the three areas of human activity for realizing human independence. It is necessary to understand correctly, from the viewpoint of revolutionary practice, what position each of these three transformations holds in man’s social activity and how they are related to each other.

    One cannot give people a correct understanding of the three transformations if, apart from the specific revolutionary practice, one simply explains them in such a way that they are all conducted simultaneously, instead of one beginning after the completion of another. Of course, we cannot mechanically say that after one of the three transformations has been completed, another is conducted. However, we must take into consideration that one of them may be given more prominence depending on the stage of revolutionary development.

    This can be clearly seen from the practical process of the devel¬oping revolution. In the period of the socialist revolution, the prob¬lem of liquidating exploitation and oppression and achieving the socio-political independence of the masses of the people, in other words, the problem of transforming society, presents itself as an important matter. Following the establishment of the socialist system, the prob¬lem of transforming nature and man for freeing people from the fet¬ters of nature and outmoded ideas and culture, presents itself as a more important task. In this period nature and man are transformed through the ideological, technological and cultural revolutions and society is transformed through the consolidation and development of the socialist system, and not in a revolutionary way. Therefore, when discussing the three transformations, if they are explained merely from a logical point of view, disregarding their historical sequence and peculiarities, such a theory will, in the long run, be isolated from the revolutionary practice.

    The problem of the three areas of social life must not be explained mechanically, either.

    Some people assert that social life must not be considered by divid¬ing it into two aspects–material and spiritual, but that it should be divided into three aspects–economic, ideological and cultural, and political. They must not suggest the problem like that. Of course, it is reasonable to view human life by dividing it into three aspects–eco¬nomic, ideological and cultural, and political. Our Party’s documents have also expounded it in that way. Nevertheless, we cannot regard it as a mistake to divide human life into two aspects–material and spiri¬tual. The problem does not lie in how many areas social life is divided into, but in that the view of dividing it into two aspects–material and spiritual–is counterpoised to that of dividing it into three aspects–economic, ideological and cultural, and political.

    We always say that people’s ideological and spiritual life and their material life constitute the two aspects of social life. Moreover, we maintain at all times that the independence of the masses of the people must be realized in the fields of their ideological and spiritual life as well as of their material life. This conforms, in import, to the state¬ment that the two fortresses, in other words, the ideological and material fortresses must all be occupied in the building of socialism and communism. When viewed on the basis of what has been men¬tioned above, it cannot be said to be wrong to divide social life into two areas–material and spiritual.

    As a matter of fact, people’s political and cultural life is expressed in ideological and spiritual life. Therefore, it is by no means unreasonable to divide social life into two areas–ideological and spiritual life and material life by including political and cultural life in the former. When we speak about two fortresses of commu¬nism, we also express them as the ideological fortress or the political and ideological fortress as well as the material fortress. Accordingly, in order to make social life correspond with the idea of the two fortresses of communism in content, we must, as a matter of course, divide it into two areas.

    We cannot take issue with whether one divides social life into two areas in a wider sense or into three areas in greater detail. We cannot say which is right and which is wrong.

    In explaining the correlation between economic life, ideological and cultural life and political life, it is not right to emphasize only the identity of each of these three kinds of life. To claim that one of these cannot determine another is not only an ambiguous expression from the standpoint of the working class but does not conform to the principle of the Juche idea, either.

    We say that independence is the lifeblood of people and particu¬larly stress that realizing socio-political independence is a matter of priority in the struggle to achieve independence for the masses of the people. When we say that independence is the lifeblood of people, we mean socio-political independence. However rich a man is in the material aspect, he can never claim to lead a life as befits a man if it is not worthwhile in the social and political spheres as well as in the ideological and cultural fields. Political life and ideological life play a leading and decisive role in social life. Therefore, underestimating the principal significance of political life and ideological life, and only emphasizing that the three kinds of life have each their own importance is of no use in practice.

    The present international situation is very complex. In the inter¬national arena a fierce class struggle and theoretical controversies are being conducted between revolution and counterrevolution, between socialism and capitalism, and under this situation, revolutionary people and communists are seeking the right path they should follow.

    Under the present grave situation when the question of who con¬quers whom arises between socialism and capitalism, we must thor¬oughly defend socialism under the revolutionary banner of the Juche idea.

    The Juche idea, our Party’s outlook on the world, is the guiding idea of our times which illuminates the absolutely correct way of achieving independence for the masses of the people. It is the banner of the revolutionary people’s cause of independence and the banner of socialism.

    We must ensure that all Party members and the working people have a firm conviction of the superiority and greatness of the Juche idea. Moreover, now that we confront the serious question of whether we defend the cause of socialism or not in the face of the imperialists’ strategy of “peaceful transition,” we must encourage all social scientists and propagandists to write and speak thoroughly in the interests of the revolution and in accordance with the Party’s policies.