The Declaration of Independence

Originally posted July 4, 2008. Edited for repost July 2, 2016.

This weekend we celebrate “Independence Day” in The United States; more commonly known as the Fourth of July. The Declaration of Independence is the key document that expressed and continues to express the American desire for freedom. Most Americans view the day as the birthday of our nation. However, the day really holds greater significance than that for the entire world.

Perhaps the event would not be so well-known or remembered if the Continental Congress had simply passed a resolution declaring Independence in the middle of what looked like a hopeless war against the 18th century’s global superpower. They did pass such a resolution on July 2, 1776.

At the time, John Adams believed that date would be the one remembered in history. He proclaimed,

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

However, it was the accompanying Declaration of Independence that explained to the world the justifications for the colonies’ break from the Great Britain that became world famous. It is the date (July 4) – when the final wording of that declaration was approved by Congress – that the nation celebrates.

Why do Americans and others around the world so remember and revere this document 240 years after its writing? It certainly contains the flaws in understanding and ethics of its drafters and their time and place. It does not declare all people equal – just white landed men. Despite the efforts of some members of the Continental Congress, it left slavery intact. It refers to the Native Americans as “Indian Savages.”

It is remembered because Thomas Jefferson‘s rousing words became not only a cry for independence in the American colonies but a ringing endorsement of the right of people everywhere to be free. The Declaration stands as a light and a hope and a reason to push forward for people asserting their selfhood and liberty throughout the world.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

In 2016, it is almost impossible to recognize how ground-breaking this claim was in the 18th Century. No colony had ever broken from its parent state in the history of the world. The entire known world lived under divinely ordained monarchs who believed that all law flowed from them. The concept – that ordinary human beings had rights or were equal to their noble masters – had been written about by philosophers such as John Locke, but no one had tried to apply it to the world.

The United States was the first nation whose founding document declared these audacious principles and set them as the foundation for a country. It has been a slow journey to fully realize these ideals even in The United States. Women, racial minorities, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and even just common people have not always fully realized the promise of these words. While not excusable, it is not surprising that it has taken centuries for such a radical paradigm shift to occur.

There are some in elite power circles who would like to undo these words. They don’t view all people as equal to them. The rushing river of history has pushed these forces back in many places, but they remain present in every society – even the “free societies”.

Outright calls for a new feudalism run by a noble class would be rejected. So these people – longing for “the good old days” – often clothe themselves in the rhetoric of freedom and patriotism. They use fear to convince people to willingly relinquish their freedom the way their predecessors used the sword to take those freedoms.

The common person seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be ever-vigilant if he or she is to remain free. We should view this day as a reminder and a reason to take these ideas on to the next level. For it is not merely political freedom we seek. It is the freedom to be, to explore, to understand existence and our relationship to it that we and our children are entitled to.

So maybe today we state a new declaration or affirmation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that every human being born on this planet has a right to freely explore his or her true potential. To create a world where every person is ensured this opportunity, we declare that there ARE certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are non-negotiable and not subject to the whims of any institution or situation. The ONLY and just limits to these rights are when they deny others these same rights.

At this moment, such an idea is as much a pipe dream as Jefferson’s words were in 1776. His words began something and so can we today.

For today, remember and enjoy the freedom that is ours. Revere the ideas and the men who “pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to make it so. For tomorrow, remember that we are yet capable of so much more!

Stay inspired!

Ray

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We Hold These Truths – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday May 14, 2008

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Whenever you download four affirmations at The Affirmation Spot your fifth affirmation is free. Simply type five in the coupon field at checkout to get your fifth affirmation free. (Offer valid only on a per order basis. Multiple single downloads do not receive this discount.)

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I am passionate about life and my prospects for the future.” (repeats 8 times)

“You are passionate about life and your prospects for the future.” (repeats 8 times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


Thomas Jefferson penned one of the most powerful affirmations in all of human history. His words are the first of his preamble to The Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote:






“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

How powerful is that? For me, this is the beginning point for how we should view the other people who share this planet with us. Each one is innately endowed with these rights and qualities.

In our modern world, there are people picking apart Jefferson’s affirmation. I hear people complaining that, “He says ‘all men’ and not all people.” Others devalue the affirmation because they don’t believe in a creator.

Still others – mostly government – have replaced “creator” with “government”. They are actively trying to convince you that the real reading is “…They are endowed by their government with certain situationally revokable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All of this misses the key point of Jefferson’s affirmation. People are innately equal in their right to be and to pursue their lives. Each and every person has enormous potential that can only be unlocked when they are granted the freedom to explore it. That is more important than his wording. That is the principle we must all strive to embody in our own lives and allow others to embody in theirs.

These innate rights, freedoms, and qualities are unrevokable. They are yours simply because you are here – a human being living on this planet. They are not subject to situation or fad. They cannot be denied by governments or institutions. These entities may do so, but when they do they are violating the most sacred aspect of the human being.

You are sacred. Your rights are sacred. Your dreams and potential are sacred. Your right to pursue happiness is sacred. So, too, is everyone else’s sacred.

In my view, we must “Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident” if we are to create the beautiful world that is our destiny.

Stay inspired!

Ray

 

 

 

The Freedom to Think for Yourself

Today’s affirmation is:
I empower myself to think for myself.

the_thinker.jpgWhen I hear the positive thinking gurus – many of whom I hold in high esteem – speak on their topic, they often ignore a fundamental component of positive, empowered thinking. That component is freedom.

Sometimes, in the rush to tie positive thinking to tangible benefits, they can sound like the NASA administrator trying convince Congress of the economic impacts of the space program rather than just selling the space program on its own merits.

 

These gurus promise health, wealth, and happiness in return for your efforts.The result of positive, empowered thinking might, indeed, be that you are healthier, happier, or wealthier, but the real benefit is that you are a free, empowered person.

Has it ever occurred to you that positive thinking is a freedom issue? What could be more inhibiting or more freeing than the ability to command your own thought processes and use them to build the life you want?

 

The power to think for oneself has been among the fundamental battles of humankind from the beginning. Since time immemorial rulers, religious bodies, or “the group” have sought to limit the power of the individual to think his or her own thoughts.

Even in a nation that supposedly values freedom, we demonstrate a profound unwillingness to allow others to think freely. The pressure is to conform; to join the herd even as it runs off the cliff.  We saw the ugly side of that a few years ago when the war was new. Reporters, professors, celebrities, and ordinary citizens were ostracized for not thinking like the herd.

Children too young to know what they were doing stood in the street stomping and burning Dixie Chicks CDs at the behest of their freedom-loving parents. An ugly spectacle to be sure, but the result of disempowered thinking masquerading as something noble – patriotism. Patriotism is a love of country not a hatred of freedom to think and to speak.

The herd was uneasy and frightened. Free expression was unacceptable. We needed to unify and think alike. The herd did not take kindly to its leader being criticized by mere citizens. Even though mere citizens, thinking and living freely, is the foundation of this country.

The empowered, positive-thinker overrides the herd’s external chatter. He or she focuses on creating the thoughts, words, and actions that best suits his or her needs. In short, these people have the power to create life rather than react to it.

Positive thinking is not only free thinking, but also clear-headed thinking. Positive thinkers are better able to look at situations objectively and see various sides. They are able to use their full capacity to reason, to feel, to draw on experience and make better judgments.

Negative thinking, which is really synonymous with not having command of your own thoughts, is extremely disempowering – even debilitating. Why? Think about when a negative thought comes to mind. The emotions and feelings associated with the thought start to rise. Who is in control at that moment; you or the negative thought? Raw emotions rule and reason and experience are dismissed as impractical.

The fact is that people who think for themselves (i.e. positive, empowered people) are independent, capable individuals who can achieve just about anything. People who allow societal norms or other people to do their thinking for them (i.e. negative thinkers) quickly become dependent and unable to move forward in their lives; and, sometimes, unable to resist book burning.

The principle of positive, empowered thinking can be applied to any area of your life. If you want to be a better football player, is thinking positively or negatively about your skills more likely to get you there? How about being a better spouse or a better sales person or a more committed activist, or a more compassionate person?

Clearly, the ability to develop, manage, and maintain your own thinking tends towards greater personal freedom. That freedom is the basis on which all achievement is possible.

One of your greatest challenges in life is to break free from the herd. Most people never do it. Successful people always have. Yet, now more than ever, we need a population tired of the world as it is and pushed forward by visions of the world as it can be. The future of our freedoms relies on our ability to become aware, empowered, and free thinking people.

 

Some closing quotes to start you thinking…


jfk.jpg“Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
~ John F. Kennedy




ralph_waldo_emerson.jpg
“A sect or a party is an eleggant incognito to save a man from the vexation of thinking.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




buckminster_fuller1.jpg“Belief is when someone else does the thinking”
~ Buckminster Fuller







Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

Ray Davis is the author of Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com – founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.

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