The question, though, is whether this motto is merely a historical celebration of a political alliance or whether it is a deeper commitment embedded in the DNA of our country that can help us chart a course forward for our next American evolution.
If we take E Pluribus Unum seriously as a motto, it also points beyond political alliances to a spiritual role that America has charted for itself: to lead towards increasingly greater wholes, especially ones that are more integrated, healthy, and inclusive. Spiritual leaders from all the world 's great religious traditions point to the experience of oneness at the core of spiritual teachings. As Jesus said, "I am in my Father, ye in me and I in you. " There is an experience where the seemingly solid boundaries between us dissolve and we recognize our unity in a larger whole.
The creation of greater political unions works in tandem with the shift in consciousness towards greater wholes. Without the latter, expanded political unions tend to destabilize. Both political and spiritual shifts stabilize when we recognize that we are more virtuous, fulfilled, and stronger through our active participation in a greater whole rather than through reinforcing our isolation. When we truly, deeply recognize our unity, we stop fearing, hating, or attempting to destroy the other. We expand the definition of our tribe.
War is an expression of our "manyness " whereas peace is an expression of our "oneness. " Seen deeply enough, then, America has charted a course for itself where it must lead beyond the wars that have characterized one long epoch of human civilization - a time of perceived "manyness "- to an era in which our sense of "one-ness " triumphs.
Some of the shifts into alignment with E Pluribus Unum are on their way to being accomplished. Others are barely begun, such as our full acceptance of homosexuals, immigrants, and these days, members of other political parties.
With each passing decade, our motto calls upon us to evolve still further individually, socially, and collectively. It calls us to illuminate where are we creating divides rather than finding where our interests, ideals, and dreams are interlinked.
Politically, aligning with E Pluribus Unum means that we need to continue to strengthen global accords, agreements, alliances, partnerships, and development. We will need to let go of the level of national self-interest we have often displayed and encourage the United Nations and other structures to develop in healthy ways. A narrowly-defined national self-interest perpetuates the sense of many-ness in the countries of the world rather than our one-ness as a planet.
Spiritually, aligning with E Pluribus Unum means we need to outgrow seeing ourselves primarily as Americans and begin to foster a sense of ourselves as global citizens. When we see ourselves exclusively as Americans who are looking out only for "our " interests, we perpetuate the sense of "many-ness " that breeds war, suspicion, and mistrust.
By bringing our country back into alignment with our motto, we can help advance a historical transition beyond a global culture of war to an enduring civilization of peace. And that is why I believe the simple Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum was inscribed on our most sacred seal.
Sacred America Series #4
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