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Ok, so the title may be a little over the top. But you know what? For all that the Obama candidacy isn't a cult, it is most assuredly about faith - in ourselves, in our nation, and yes, in our leader.

And like so many other faiths, we sometimes fall short in the expression of our principles.

So here's the challenge, Obama supporters (and I count myself in that group) - can we live up to the ideals our chosen candidate espouses and expresses? Can we work to uplift our entire nation, Republican and Democrat, black and white, Clinton supporter and Obama supporter alike? Can we walk that high road together?

I believe that the human species is destined for incredible things. I believe that we are a unique, capable, creative, Godlike animal, with a capacity for love, compassion, and understanding that sets us apart from our baser animal instincts. While you may not share my belief in destiny, it is without doubt that you share a fundamental faith in the essential goodness of mankind - for what person could support a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, without believing that the people were up to the task?

The American ideal encompasses this faith in mankind, and expands on it - laying down fundamental rights and responsibilities, a system of self-government based on reason and free discourse, and working to build a framework within which mankind can achieve his highest potential. The Founders had faith in each other, in the power of the reasoning mind, and in the capacity for each ordinary citizen to play a role in his own governance.  Barack Obama understands this - and challenges each of us to prove that this faith is not misplaced.

Sometimes we all fall short of our potential. The human mind is relatively new, and has billions of years of instinct underpinning it all. Sometimes we will triumph over fear, and sometimes fear will rule us. Sometimes we will give in to tribal prejudice, and sometimes we will overcome it. Sometimes we will act with compassion, and sometimes we will act selfishly. Sometimes we will judge, or criticize, or cast out our neighbours; and sometimes we - and they - will find it in our hearts to forgive, to learn to see each others viewpoints whether or not we agree.

No matter how often we fall short of our potential, our capacity for transcendant action never disappears, is always there below the surface waiting to be expressed.

So what does this mean?

It means that we too can have faith in each other.

It means that we too can have faith in our system of government.

It means that we too can strive for something better.

It means that we too can reach out to our fellow travellers on the long road of Democracy.

So here it is, Democrats, Republicans, Americans. I am proud to be a part of this continuing journey by our species to transcend instinct with reason. I am honoured to hold my hand out to each of you, no matter who you support or how you worship or where you live. The United States is just a country - but America is an idea the entire species can aspire to and take part in.

Godspeed.

Originally posted to DynamicUno on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 09:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My 2 cents... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo

    For all that the Obama candidacy isn't a cult, it is most assuredly about faith - in ourselves, in our nation, and yes, in our leader.

    I respectfully disagree. For me Obama's candidacy is more about rationality than faith. I love Obama's speeches, but I like him most when he's going "ummm...." during debates, when he's actually thinking about the question posed, instead of robot-ically repeating approved talking points.

    "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
    - Larry David.

    by assyrian64 on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 09:38:07 PM PDT

    •  I don't feel there's a conflict... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liberate

      ... between rationality and faith.

      For reason to work, we must have faith in the laws of logic and nature - we must have faith that those laws are common throughout the universe and to each person's experience, and we must have faith that this will remain the case through time.

      Further, I feel it is this very rationality which allows us to have faith in our fellow man - a reasonable person can be expected to act in good faith, whereas an animal acts only on instinct, which is purely selfish.

      I think that the term "faith" has been misused for a long time, particularly by those of us who have no interest in thinking for ourselves and thus use faith as a substitute for critical thinking, when in fact the two are different tools in the same toolbox.

      On the other hand, I confess to a well-developed ability to make mistakes (another all too human trait), and so I submit this as an imperfect expression of imperfect understanding.

      •  Yes... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DynamicUno

        For reason to work, we must have faith in the laws of logic and nature - we must have faith that those laws are common throughout the universe and to each person's experience, and we must have faith that this will remain the case through time.

        I agree rationality does, at a core level, require "faith", as does causality. You make an excellent point.

        I was "corrupted" reading Hume and Nietzsche as a young man. :)

        "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
        - Larry David.

        by assyrian64 on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 09:54:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Faith is just layman's terms for... (0+ / 0-)

          ... inductive reasoning, in many cases.

          That said, I put a lot of thought into the crossover between spiritual faith and scientific thinking, which I believe are destined for an amicable meeting in the future.

          This is in contrast to religion, which I think God is particularly disasteful of for a variety of reasons - though this is just my opinion, because I sure can't claim to know the mind of God with any accuracy (other than in the context that we are all God, in a sense).

          Well this is wandering fast. :lol:

          •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

            That said, I put a lot of thought into the crossover between spiritual faith and scientific thinking, which I believe are destined for an amicable meeting in the future.

            The crossover you speak of is a life-long obsession of mine. Why do you think there will be an amicable meeting? I find it unsolvable and beyond the realm of my understanding. E.g. belief in causality, belief in "self", all appear to stem from a strong feeling, rather than scientific deductive reasoning.

            "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
            - Larry David.

            by assyrian64 on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 10:22:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll try to keep this brief... (0+ / 0-)

              ... but I spend an undue amount of time thinking on this stuff as well. :lol:

              Causality is one of the fundamental underpinnings of our logical system of thought, and it is rooted in the laws of nature as we perceive them. It requires a number of components, however (and quantum physics seems to be verifying this), including a self-aware observer and a directional flow of time.

              It is my belief that these two are one and the same.

              It is widely held by scientists that time operates non-directionally on on the quantum level. On our macroscopic level, we perceive time to pass at a certain standard rate (which is itself subject to relativity based again on the observer, and his position and momentum). We can measure the rate of passage of time fairly accurately - but it is difficult for us to measure the direction of passage of time because we have no frame of reference. This is counterintuitive at first - obviously time moves "forward" - but without an alternate reference point to compare it to, we have no way of knowing which direction forward is, no objective way of determining it.

              One solution that is used frequently is to use entropy as a yardstick - changes introduced in a system always tends toward increased disorder, and since the universe is (to the best of our knowledge) an isolated system, it should tend towards disorder as a whole.

              There is an exception, of course. Life tends towards increased complexity - and increased awareness.

              An animal is unaware of the notion of past or future, and unable to mark it - to this animal, time does not exist. Similarly, let's postulate an AI, which can think many times faster than a human brain simply by virtue of electronic discharge travelling faster through synpases than chemical discharge. For this AI, time passes more slowly (or, perhaps, there is simply more time).

              Given that life is tending towards greater complexity, and with it greater temporal awareness, at some point it is reasonable to take this to its logical conclusion - a universe riddled with and defined by Mind, where perception is instantaneous and time is infinite. That is God, in every sense that matters.

              We are the universe's means of understanding itself. We are God's expression of God within God.

              I hope I explained that clearly, I'm sure there is some background information that I have thought through that I didn't explain or reference properly.

              •  Thanks for your response... (0+ / 0-)

                I've got to crash at this point, but I'll give your well thought out response a careful, non-tired reading tomorrow...

                "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
                - Larry David.

                by assyrian64 on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 11:06:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Looking forward to it... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... best wishes and good night.

                  •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DynamicUno

                    I read your post above but remained unconvinced. But we may be talking of two different things, i.e., "faith" and "spiritual faith". Additionally I didn't understand some of your comments regarding time. The fault likely lies with me, as i find "time" to be a difficult idea to grasp. My first reaction is that "time" is not real, it's simply a method we use for understanding the world about us. But I digress...

                    When I say "faith" I refer to, e.g., our strong, stubborn belief in causality, which requires "faith in repetition". Taking one example: "since the sun rose at the beginning of every day I can remember, it will naturally rise again". Why must it rise again? This notion is one we live by each day, but requires faith which rarely exhibits any cracks. Even my doubts sound foolish to me, as if the animal knows better!

                    Of course saying "I" and "me" throughout my response is another example of "causality faith", the strong faith that posits an unproven doer (the "self", the "I") before each deed (this post"). Of course my notion of self sticks around throughout the day despite these intellectual doubts. If "I" am insulted, "I" react in spite of "my" doubts.

                    "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
                    - Larry David.

                    by assyrian64 on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 11:05:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Time is slippery indeed... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... and believe me, you and I are hardly the only two who have trouble understanding it.

                      My instinct is that you are generally correct, and although time is real, our perception of its passage is flawed and likely an illusion.

                      Of course there is a strong body of corroborating evidence for the statement "the sun will rise again," but all of it comes down to the same notion of inductive reasoning which is inherently flawed in comparison to deductive reasoning.

                      However! Our notions of what makes sense vis a vis deductive reasoning - of causality and logic - are all derived from the laws that govern our physical universe. Therefore, isn't it equally valid to use inductive reasoning, provided one is operating within a framework of those same natural laws? This is a genuine question, as I have no idea. :lol:

                      I shall have to think further on the notion of causality faith, it's a good concept and you're right, there isn't any objective proof of "my" existence (nor any way for there to be, that I can think of offhand).

                      Who knew we'd stumble into this on a political site? :lol:

                      •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

                        Good points...I thought that if I ever pursued this faith/evidence line further I would say the answer to the conundrum lies somewhere in our collective, common human understanding of causality, self, etc.

                        But I do note that concepts like "self" and causality require, if not faith, then a strong animal-like compulsion to abide by, and believe in these concepts. Perhaps, as Nietzsche suggested, causality and self are simply tools we have to survive, flourish as a species, rather than solid empirical truths.

                        By solid empirical truths I mean e.g. "I feel heat now", "I taste coffee", "I see light", etc. These statements are quite different from saying "The sun is likely to rise tomorrow" which requires faith/belief in ultimately unproveable concepts.

                        If you're interested in this stuff I'd suggest reading Nietzsche's Will to Power, which is really not a book, but a collection of his notes. I found especially fascinating his critique of epistemology, Kant, & Descartes, which is in the middle of the book. I wrote a paper on this 20 years ago in college.

                        Anyway, it's been a lot of fun conversing w/you on this stuff.

                        "I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid.."
                        - Larry David.

                        by assyrian64 on Fri Mar 21, 2008 at 11:06:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DynamicUno, liberate

    So here's the challenge, Obama supporters (and I count myself in that group) - can we live up to the ideals our chosen candidate espouses and expresses? Can we work to uplift our entire nation, Republican and Democrat, black and white, Clinton supporter and Obama supporter alike? Can we walk that high road together?

    Yes - we can

  •  I couldn't say it better myself n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DynamicUno
  •  This deserves more visibility -- tip jar? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DynamicUno
  •  Late Tip Jar... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo, liberate

    ... I always forget to include this. :lol:

  •  I love the idea of this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DynamicUno, SciVo

    And I ask myself frequently since getting involved with this campaign what standard Obama would have us hold ourselves to.  It has inspired me to behave in a more ethical way, whether it means cleaning my apartment more or turning off the lights before leaving the house to save electricity.  He helps us remember we should always be true to the best in ourselves.

    •  It is part of the joyous inspiration... (0+ / 0-)

      ... of his candidacy and his philosophy, and I think it is something we can all learn from. He embodies what it means to be American in so many ways, and challenges us to do the same.

      It is a challenge that we are eminently capable of meeting, and I look forward to it. :)

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