July 3, 1776, would have found those laboring in the sweltering heat of Philadelphia to bring about the birth of a new nation, hashing out the final wording of the “Unanimous declaration…,” the Declaration of Independence.
I think about that word unanimous. It was not one power base over another; it was not the unanimous compromise; it was not religion over secularism nor secularism over religion. This makes that document powerful and unique in the history of politics and humankind.
The practical application of those words, though, would be debated, and they would influence great thinkers and thoughts for years, including the final form of the United States Constitution. Remember, though, that the vote for independence happened on July 2, so ultimately even the celebration of the event was something to be debated!
The power of that document, to me, lies in the spirit that attended those men in that sweaty hall. Now, not all those whose names are at the bottom were there at the exact time, but they signed it, eventually and unanimously. What was the spirit, especially as evidenced by the words and writings of the primary author, Thomas Jefferson, and his two editors, revisers, John Adams and Ben Franklin?
When these men wrote the Declaration, they well knew the primary implications. They had to know, in my estimation, that an ego-bloated populace could never live the spirit of their words. They also knew what those words would probably cost.
John Adams wrote to his wife about this: “You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure that it will cost us…” But he was convinced of the value, of the spirit of the impending strife. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”
I want to get to Jefferson, who understood that overthrowing the tyranny of a dictator was overthrowing the rule of ego over heart — yes, my metaphysical interpretation. I think he knew that the default setting of ego would always rear its destructive head, and that safeguards, standards, and a framework had to be in place for that.
Such was given in his “Unanimous declaration.” The words amaze me in the context of a unified action of people who, naturally, are rarely given to unity, unless they act from the place of Heart. Speaking of such action, the rule, the framework, the marker for that group to continue in their pursuit of liberty would be this: “…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” The principle is the Law of Nature and the creator of Nature, a law that is written in the heart and does not emanate from ego.
Jefferson seems to endorse Franklin’s spirit of liberty that I quoted yesterday when he says, “I would rather be exposed to the inconvenience attending too much liberty that to those attending too small degree of it.” But such liberty can’t come from the self-seeking ego; it must radiate from the heart.
If this isn’t happening, then Jefferson had a solution for it: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
The only solution to any ego-driven authority would be the mass of people, but these couldn’t be people who Thoreau would later describe as a mass who “live lives of quiet desperation.” They would have to be “enlightened” with a “wholesome discretion,” embracing the idea that we would have a mutual care about how our liberties affect others. And why is this needed? Because of the “abuses of constitutional power,” i.e., when ego issues are forced on all because of assigned authority, then enlightenment, a self-awakening of many, is essential to correct and inform people.
Education would be the key. And on this Independence Day of 2016, 240 years, give or take two days, after the Declaration, we should deeply consider this. Almost everything in politics has become meaningless, because little difference exists between the factions. The reason for that has made all the difference: politics has become an ego fest — the moral, conservative, religious right on one side and the liberal, government-fix-all with its socialization on the other. Who will win? Who cares? We need to be educated at a heart level.
Jefferson brings up the issue of enlightenment again: “…even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have…perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large…” Our current state of political, governmental, and global affairs screams for education to be redefined, with the base foundational purpose to help youth discover their hearts, which will lead them to a thirst for further discovery — and all that is implied by that, and it is much.
The extent of the sort of liberty created by a number of those leaders responsible for the founding of America envisions a people who can think AND act beyond egoic self through hearing their own hearts and knowing their own truth. Heart truth doesn’t create chaos because hearts naturally use discretion, good judgment in consideration of others; hearts yearn to connect with others as each of us lives our truth. This can only occur when we are self-awakened; our hearts unite us in purpose and love.
I will celebrate in my heart the wisdom embodied in the Declaration of Independence, for it is a heart wisdom, and that’s worth some first rate parades and pyrotechnics!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!