Monday, November 15, 2010

317 / E Pluribus Unum

This statement, "E Pluribus Unum," as incorporated into the Great Seal of the United States, refers to the creation of a national government out of its constituent political parts: "Out of Many, One."

In a more fundamental sense, however, it is well to think of this statement as a basic piece of intelligence about government and society in general. "We" are one: we are not just a collection of individuals, but a larger whole.

If we could "internalize" that understanding, that insight, we might be able to solve many of our most pressing problems, because certainly this state, and this nation, has the resources within itself to erase our debt, and relieve future generations from the obligation of paying, later on, for our consumption today. And there is wealth and talent enough to provide education for everyone, and health care, too.

But only if "we" are "one." If we are a collection of individuals, any effort to mobilize "our" wealth and resources is seen as an unjustified "taking."

Hard to believe that the solutions to some of our largest scale political, and social, and economic problems can be found in the way we think about who we are.

But that's the fact!

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