Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seth: Class, Slavery, and the American Ideal

In those previous 'decadent' European centuries, a man's or a woman's worth was indisputably settled by the circumstances of birth. [The general consensus was] .... if God had wanted all men to be rich, he would have them all born in castles.

"When your country (United States) began its own saga, each individual was to be considered equal, regardless of birth. Many of these same people had been denied advantages in Europe. They were upstarts. What they did was establish equal starting lines for an incredible race in which each began with an equal position and then tried to outdo the other, freed of the class distinctions that had previously hampered them. Because there were few ground rules, and because it takes time to develop a culture, this rambunctious group set out to tame the continent, to show Europe that Americans could do Europe one better, without a king and without pomp.

"The founders of the country were still largely men of property, however, and of culture--the signers of your constitution, so they were also careful to provide leeway for the existence of slaves, who, not being considered fully human, need not be granted the rights of the constitution (with irony). They left suitable loopholes there.

"Now: in a fashion, FOR THE SAKE OF THIS DISCUSSION (underlined), the blacks as slaves partially represented the great creative, exuberant, unattached, unconscious powers that were to be restrained, at least for a while. Their belief in dreams, love of music and song, even a certain mystical feeling of connection with the land--these elements were allowed the Negroes only because they were not considered fully human. White men and women were not supposed to act like that.

"A person's sense of worth became connected with the acquisition of land, though to a lesser extent, even as it had in Europe. Later the acquisition of technology's objects became an added embellishment. A man proved his worth as he moved through the new society's levels--an exhilarating experience after centuries of a stratified society."

Seth, Book Five of the Personal Sessions, pages 185-186

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