The Image of Barack Obama

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Scarlett
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The Image of Barack Obama

Post by Scarlett » Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:42 pm

As I live through my thirties, I aim to contemplate, reflect on, and frame the images that have captured and continue to captivate my imagination.

Treasure can be found in a framed moment of reflection!

And in this moment of history, there is a man – who carries an image with energy behind his figure that is so immense, its force is challenging, inspiring, and captivating millions of Americans. The man, the image, is Barack Obama.

Of course with that kind of energy, a resistance – an opposing force pulls back against the image, the possibility of Obama as President of the United States.

As Americans with voting rights, and as individuals globally, we are aligning ourselves to the moment.

From: Transcript: Colin Powell on Meet the Press Endorses Barack Obama | October 19:
Gen. Colin Powell said on his interview with Tom Brokaw,

“Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines–ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values….

Let me make one point, Tom, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama will be good presidents. It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America’s history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years. I think we need a transformational figure. I need–think we need a president who is a generational change. And that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain.”

http://www.clipsandcomment.com/2008/10/ ... ctober-19/
Of course I am not naïve enough to believe that a person can win an election simply with an inspiring story (image) and or resume. Other factors play a role. A big one being money!


From a New York Times Article: The Nation Extraordinary Election Season Nears Its Conclusion -- Written by: By FRANK BRUNI/ Published: November 1, 2008

“If Mr. Obama wins by a wide margin on Tuesday, that victory will reflect more than strides in race relations, thirst for change and the strength of his appeal. It will also reflect the power of money, and it could usher in the end of general-election candidates participating in the public financing system.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/weeki ... ref=slogin
He also has formed an extraordinary grassroots effort. I even gave a measly three hours of my time canvassing the weekend before Election Day (I usually don’t get that involved with politics). I walked door to door, asking people if they still support Obama, if they need polling information, rides, etc…. I have some interesting stories from those three hours of service (I live in a state that receives attention from both presidential candidates at this late hour into the campaign)!

Now I am a registered democrat and usually favor policies that one might see on a democratic ticket. However, I am not really here to talk about policies – which of course are extremely important. I want to take another focus. Today I want to talk about the image of Barack Obama – what that image means to me, to America, and the rest of the world.

I would like to share an excerpt from The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling; By James Hillman
Chapter 1: In A Nutshell: The Acorn Theory and the Redemption of Psychology:
“Beauty: Even before there are life stories, lives display themselves as images. They ask first to be seen. Even if each image is indeed pregnant with meanings and subject to dissecting analysis, should we jump to the meanings without appreciating the image, we have lost a pleasure that cannot be recovered by the very best interpretations. We have also taken the pleasure out of life we are regarding; the display of its beauty has become irrelevant to its meaning.” (p. 36)
Many of us have been captivated by Senator Obama’s rhetorical abilities and life story – but as the election approaches, I ask myself why? What is the mystery behind the image?

Barack Obama Video:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/lin ... 1797097875

I have my personal reasons for being inspired by Senator Obama. However, before reading about his life story, HIS WORDS – the moment and energy behind some of his speeches, have seized me time and time again. His words cause me to pause, almost like an inspirational poem or a great piece of art would do. (Of course we could further argue, what kind of art a great speech is: proper or improper art – or even if a great speech is considered an art form).
One of the first times he caught my attention was when I watched him speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 when he so eloquently stated,

“It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work.
It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America -- there is the United States of America.”
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/ ... index.html
I think sometimes people down play rhetorical abilities with a cynical attitude. People might say, “Oh, he has a silver tongue,” as if that is a bad thing. People don’t want to be fooled with clever words. And granted there have been powerful speakers in the world that carry their messages with deception and hidden agendas. However, there is something to be said for a person who speaks eloquently – if his words carry a liveliness that is genuine and sincere, I believe people who are open to the message, will hear it. And I HEAR Senator Obama with my heart. Simply because he speaks about and promotes VALUES that I cherish as well.

When I look at the image of Barack Obama, I see him as a force that can bring UNITY to this country.

Barack Obama has said that this election is not about him, it is about us. I have personally seen the challenges people face as they make their decision about which candidate to vote for or even to vote at all. The challenges come in many forms. Here is an example of one:

From an excerpt from an article found on NPR’s website: As Obama Leads Polls, Bradley Effect Examined/ by Mara Liasson:

“Even so, Ron Walters says race is playing a role in the campaign.
‘The presidency is almost an anthropological leadership position. ... It represents the head of a tribe for many people,’ Walters says. ‘They want a president to be like them, look like them, etc. And to that extent, there's a lot of emotional content about who the president of the United States is. … Barack Obama — part of the politics of this election is that he's been trying to overcome that cultural barrier.’”
I would like to quote Campbell – even taking his words out of context a bit, because as always his work inspires and gives meaning to my life. And the following quote is one I think about often – applying it to many areas of my life.

Campbell wrote in Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion selected and edited by Diane K. Osbon:
“All anyone is really trying to do is have an expansion of consciousness, so that the knowing and loving are on greater and greater horizons. (P. 157)
Barack Obama has the potential to guide individuals, who are ready to manifest an “expansion of consciousness.”

I know this sounds a bit idealistic. However, the fantasy of an image is what makes life exciting and worth living for. Whatever happens after Election Day, I think there have been some psychological shifts in the thinking of this country. And if Barack Obama is elected, I have the Audacity of Hope to wish that he will be a great leader. However, time will tell what kind of leader he will mold himself to be if he is elected!

I am really excited about this election. I like being part of the energy and forces circulating during this time. As Barack Obama said in one of his videos,“There is a moment in the life of every generation – when if we are to make our mark on history this spirit must break through. This is the moment! This is our time!”

As a cultural creative, walking in a new age, I thank you for allowing me this space to express my thoughts.

I wonder what image Barack Obama holds for other people -- I have a few guesses!

Happy Election!

Scarlett
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Ned Kelly
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Post by Ned Kelly » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:34 pm

In response, here is a link to a blog dedicated to questioning the personality cult of Obama:

http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/

Just one bit of food for thought: As I lived in Communist China for many years - and my wife is Chinese - I am all too familiar with icons of Chairman Mao, which usually depicted him with rays of light around his head, very similar (no, I mean IDENTICAL!) to how Obama is represented in many of his own campaign's propaganda images.

I am NOT saying Obama is like Mao. But what I AM saying, is that all, ALL personality cults are dangerous, in all countries and all times.

And THIS video, which now has over 2 million hits, is especially alarming. I will simply post the link without any commentary, except to ask rhetorically, "HAS AMERICA LOST ITS MIND?" Here: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=ghSJsEVf0pU

Chairman Mao did, after all, have many good, great and noble qualities, and he dreamed great dreams. But the thing about all doers of great evil - such as Lenin, Hitler and Mao - is that they had a lot of goodness in them, and they seemed, to their nations, to be "angels of light".

PS, personally I think Chairman Mao was a hell of a lot more intelligent, more eloquent, and FAR MORE COURAGEOUS than Obama. Yet I think Mao was one of the worst destroyers of civilisation in the past 5,000 years. Hmmmmm.......well anyway, I have far more respect for Mao than for Obama, even while I say Mao deserves ten thousand years in Hell.

PPS, the difference between (metaphorical) "antichrists" like Lenin and Hitler and Mao (and perhaps President Obama?) versus Christ, is that Christ avoided and surrendered all temporal political power during his life in this world. He said, "My kingdom is not of this world", and the Buddha agreed with him. But Obama's "kingdom", as President of the superpower of the USA, is all too much of this world, the opposite of the kingdom of the Christ (and/or the "Christ Consciousness") who, at least metaphorically, humbled himself to die a very UNPOPULAR death at the hand of the World's Number One Superpower.
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Post by littlewing » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:20 am

Of course such an election personality... a black man who can speak to the people with an actual platform based on reason and thought! (Whew! after 8 years of trying to miss W's poor attempts at speech guaranteed to bring a groan.) Of course there's some idolization in the mix. Politics has always been an avenue of religious fervor. And this is the historic opportunity to bind a nation, black and white, together. The world is debating if our country, known for its racism, will really allow a black man to be President. The numbers of people attending his speeches alone feed religious fervor. Yes, it's exaggerated; because yes, it's History in the Making. That there would be a few webpages outa hand with fervor is not surprising.

To give credit, I've listened closely to hear Obama toot his horn. He carefully deflects credit to the people of this country. Hillary didn't do that; and The Maverick and his sidekick never miss an opportunity to tell you how great they are.

I agree, Scarlett, with this sour grapes stance about Obama's ability to speak well. Perhaps it reflects an attitude that it's more in line with being 'one of the people' to be dumbed down. That attitude is seen in kids in schools and speeches that start with 'I'm proud to be a redneck...'. Does it also belong in our supposed national leaders? Shouldn't be erudite and put on airs, I guess! Talk about the rise of mediocrity and loss of our standing as an educated people in the world! Obama's speeches do remind me of readings of Lincoln's speeches. They aren't empty oratory at all. They make sense; carry a platform of ideas; and the message is the conclusion drawn. What a joy to hear! May other aspiring leaders rise to the challenge instead of putting it down.

The red lights of danger went off in my head during the last couple of elections. This one has been the most hilarious election in my lifetime! After that long arduous 18 months of fight for the Democrat nomination, once done, it's been a gas. Every few days, there's been some gaff, gesture, cartoon, parody, picture to guffaw. Hey, the nation's in terrible shape; our current Pres is doing everything in his power to involve us in a global Muslim world war; and bankrupt the nation. But I can turn on the latest on this very important horse race and lmao! We may all go broke; but may we go down laughing. Norman Cousins woud approve. I've collected a bunch of funny pics from over the net during this election that I cycle on the desktop shared by the rest of my family. It's great to hear them laugh. Included in these are Obama next to Superman; Obama as Neo (OK, that's my fave); and Obama holding a swirly .gif titled 'Hopenosis'.

As Campbell pointed out, it's not the image that bares the fault of idolatry; it's buying it as literal interpretation. I think I am in no danger of that. And if a bunch of black folk emerging from 300 years of oppression cannot resist, I can tolerate that for a while. It's inevitable that the pendulum should swing. It's the only way a society can find the Middle Way.

lw :lol:
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Post by Clemsy » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:50 am

I see this 'cult of personality' thing as media hype, because I certainly don't see it in the people around me. What I see is the very natural enthusiasm of an articulate man with the right message.

You know, the 'we're all in this together' thing.

After the past eight years of absolute madness, this may sound a bit revolutionary.

Interesting. I recall no such response to Bill Clinton... But then, 'elitist' hadn't gone through some semantic changes, right-wing extremism was kept in its cage (by both Reagan and Bush Sr.), and Bill does have a southern accent.

Ah, the good old days.

Obama is surely a falsehood because we don't do intelligent and articulate anymore?
I think Chairman Mao was a hell of a lot more intelligent, more eloquent, and FAR MORE COURAGEOUS than Obama.
Hey Ned, to be so confident you surely must have grown up with him, or shared a dorm room at Harvard maybe? I mean, such empiricism must have something of a foundation?

Because I've been listening to him for the past year and a half and consider him to be pretty damn intelligent (brilliant campaign), as eloquent as Clinton or Kennedy (disagree if you must) and as for courage... that remains to be seen. (Yet you're so sure you had to shout?)

However, I've no doubt the thought enters his head that he may be in the cross hairs of a high powered scope every time he gets up on a stage. I know it enters mine... and the rest of the country's. I call that chutzpah.

Besides, he's just starting. I fear dismissing him so out of hand without any doubt...

Doubt makes me pay attention. Unwavering certainty about what you can't know for sure (unless you grew up with him or shared that dorm room) colors my image of you, not him.
Last edited by Clemsy on Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Image of Barak Obama

Post by Unikorn » Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:02 am

"Scarlett" - Thanks for a thoughtfully positive and personal post. The fascists and fundamentalist charlatans that have attempted to hijack our society, along with that of much of the rest of the world, will continue to assail those of us that seek peace and harmony long after this election is over. If our people do rise to this historic occasion and elect Barak Obama to the Presidentcy, we must all do our part to heal the corruption and avarice and help him to place the public good before private advantage.
"Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people."
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Post by Ned Kelly » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:20 pm

Hey Clemsy!

First, regardless of my antipathy toward, and suspicion of, Obama, I want to share with you my joy - as an American citizen whose roots in America go back to the 1600s (equally deep roots as the ancestors of most Black Americans, whose roots in America are OLDER than those of most White Americans!) - over how, at least, THIS election in 2008 WAS A LEGAL ONE!

In other words, at the very least, I am happy and proud that my native country's President has been elected legally - something which was at least questionable in 2000 and 2004.

So, to my mind, the fact that Obama was elected THROUGH THE RULE OF LAW, is cause for celebration!

But that said, now it's time for me to challenge what you wrote:
I see this 'cult of personality' thing as media hype, because I certainly don't see it in the people around me
.

Okay, but my next question is: "Might the reason why you don't see it around you in America, be because an American personality cult will NOT resemble any other kinds of personality cults?" I mean, maybe the reason why you don't "see" it, is because it doesn't QUITE resemble any prior personality cults?
What I see is the very natural enthusiasm of an articulate man with the right message.
My question is, WHAT does he 'articulate'? I agree that he speaks better English than the vast majority of Americans - because the bar has been set so low - and I find it refreshing that he uses proper grammar and diction. But then (and this is NOT an instance of the stupid "Godwin's Law" about references to Hitler, because the example of Hitler REMAINS INSTRUCTIVE today!) - well the fact is that Hitler was very articulate too. Hitler both spoke and wrote almost perfect German. But the question is, WHAT did he articulate?
You know, the 'we're all in this together' thing.
My Chinese-Australian wife and I are internationalists (especially because we both work hard on international environmental issues) who believe all Mankind are "in it together". But again, the question is HOW? And for WHAT PURPOSES? It sounds nice for Obama to preach such things, but he remains vague on the details. And my Australian wife and I do NOT want America - let alone Obama - to "lead" us, or our country, or the world.
Interesting. I recall no such response to Bill Clinton
Well then you didn't hear me in 1992, when - long before Clinton became President - I challenged all of my American friends to ask, "As Clinton's salary as the Governor of Arkansas is 30,000 dollars a year, I wonder, WHO OWNS HIM?"
.. But then, 'elitist' hadn't gone through some semantic changes
I agree that the word "elite" has become contorted in Orwellian ways in the past 20 years or so. And, I am the first one to admit that I am an elite, and I believe in elitisim - nay, a fortiori, I believe in the value of both hereditary aristocracy AND (even more) in what Thomas Jefferson called "natural aristocracy": But one of my objections to Obama is that....

...and please read this carefully....

...Obama's kind of "aristocracy" is UN-natural, because he was, after all, a beneficiary of special preferences because of his race COMBINED WITH HIS PRIVILEGED ECONOMIC CLASS into which he was born! There are legions of POOR Black Americans who are more intelligent AND more "articulate" than Obama, and the MAIN reason why none of THEM can hope to be President, is because THEY WERE BORN POOR, as Obama was not.
Obama is surely a falsehood because we don't do intelligent and articulate anymore?
I agree that he is somewhat intelligent, a "first-rate second-rate mind" (in the words of one of my mentors, a wise old Eastern European political dissident.) Other examples of "first-rate second rate minds" (the first rank of second-rate minds) would include FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon, and Deng XiaoPing. (Bill Clinton would be in the SECOND rank of second-rate minds, and so would JFK. Thus, I believe Obama is more intelligent than JFK.)

And I agree that he is "articulate." But the question remains, WHAT does he articulate?
Hitler was far more articulate than Obama, and yes that included his skill in his native language. Hitler wrote and spoke almost perfect High German, obviously to great effect. I'm not saying Obama is like Hitler (I believe Obama's heart and morals are vastly superior to Hitler's); I'm just pointing out that being "articulate" is morally neutral.
However, I've no doubt the thought enters his head that he may be in the cross hairs of a high powered scope every time he gets up on a stage. I know it enters mine... and the rest of the country's.
I agree, and here is a provocative thought: I think, that perhaps, Obama's legacy in history might be better if he were assassinated. (Note to the Secret Service, I do NOT advocate assassination of ANY head of state! I am speculating hypothetically!) What I mean is, that the beautiful ideals which Obama SEEMS to represent right now, will no longer be identified with him after he is in office for a while, when reality sets in. Analogously, several great historians - who are very hostile to Hitler - have speculated that Hitler's reputation would be very high today if Hitler had died in 1938.
Besides, he's just starting. I fear dismissing him so out of hand without any doubt...

Doubt makes me pay attention. Unwavering certainty about what you can't know for sure (unless you grew up with him or shared that dorm room) colors my image of you, not him.
Clemsy, I'm sorry to tell you honestly that your above words are confused. Your phrase, "unwavering certainty about what you can't know" is illogical. I am unwaveringly UNcertain about what I don't know, and I ask you please not to confuse that.

I am certain that Obama's potentials are UNcertain! And so, I use all of world history as my guidelines to predict the outcome of Obama's presidency, and all of the evidence of the past 5,000 years of civilisation tells me that heads of state generally do more harm than good, and even the bits of good (if any) that they do, have always been corrupt and corruptible.
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:24 pm

I am certain that Obama's potentials are UNcertain!
Good, then don't sound otherwise, Ned.
I think Chairman Mao was a hell of a lot more intelligent, more eloquent, and FAR MORE COURAGEOUS than Obama.

Obama is a man of mediocre intelligence and shallow character, who will not be personally instrumental in any major changes.

But Obama is, after all, OWNED BY the plutocracy.
There's certainty in those lines, my good man. There are no qulaifiers of any kind to indicate any uncertainty.

You also said:
When Obama, the child of privilege and beneficiary of racial preferences, gave a speech at the Dem convention telling Americans (or implying to them) that he personfies the "American Dream" that "if you work hard and have talent, you will succeed", he unwittingly insulted the legions of Americans who know all too well that America is NOT the "land of opportunity."
Problem with this is that obama is not a child of privilege.
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Re: The Image of Barak Obama

Post by Unikorn » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:40 pm

ORANGE ALERT!

I would like to challenge all factually challenged statements disguised as serious contributions to honest discourse. However, this seems to be a somewhat futile effort, not to speak of an incredible waste of time. Such fiction need not be disguised as fact, lest the teller of the tale has no factual challenge to proffer.

"Mud is not PooP; it has a different odor, and mammals don't poop mud."
The Book of Pan
chapter I; verse 1; line 1
"Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people."
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Post by Scarlett » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:15 pm

Hello,

Thank you everyone for responding!

Mr. Kelly, I hear you. However, it’s obvious we have different perspectives of Obama – or should I say the movement of Obama – the now, President-Elect!

You wrote:
But what I AM saying, is that all, ALL personality cults are dangerous, in all countries and all times.
Yes, a cult can be dangerous when the image or initial movement that perhaps started with good intentions is lost in the trappings of a leader, organization, etc…

In the book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman; He wrote:
“Innocence is America’s mystical cloud of unknowing. We are forgiven simply by virtue of not knowing what we do. To wrap ourselves round in the Good – that is the American dream, leaving place for the evil nightmare only in the ‘other,’ where it can be diagnosed, treated, prevented, and sermonized about….” (p.247)
However, I have faith in the American People. I don’t think all of us are “unknowing” – unless we choose to be blind. We have a responsibility to look at all the facts. If not, we might become ensnared. Yes, yes, I know the trappings of propaganda.

What’s wrong with an inspirational IMAGE – as long as we are conscious of the mystery of the image -- as long as we don’t get trapped into idealizing the person, system, organization, etc… that embodies the spirit.

For me, Barack Obama has demonstrated values that I relate to and his words inspire me.

That is why I want to talk about the IMAGE of Barack Obama – the force that inspired millions of Americans. Where did it come from? Was it a desire for unity? A desire for racial healing? A desire to get the republicans out of the office :lol:

Whatever – something INSPIRATIONAL is behind the movement.

I am not fearful. I embrace the movement!

However, I am not putting Barack Obama on a pedestal either. He is simply a man after all – a human, like the rest of us -- who is subject to the demands of a personal ego.

I realize that any political movement, as sweeping as the one involving Barack Obama, can be frightening for people.

And you are not alone in being skeptical.

I witnessed people struggle until the last moment about who they would vote for. I need not list the struggles, because most of us have been exposed to many of these already through the media and internet! We have witnessed these extreme views from both poles!

History is a testament to the type of movements you spoke of that perhaps served a dark force.

Like I said, I hope and pray that Barack Obama will be a force of good for this country.

I believe his IMAGE is one of unity

Speaking of inspiration, I am currently reading Pollen and Fragments by Novalis. He wrote:
“Now the spirit stirs only here and there: when will the spirit stir the whole? When will humanity begin to remember itself?” – 24 (p. 29)
The spirit has certainly been stirred!!!!

Inspiration is a gift.

We must use it wisely.


---Scarlett
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Re: The Image of Barack Obama

Post by Unikorn » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:05 pm

Scarlett wrote:Hello,

Thank you everyone for responding!

Mr. Kelly, I hear you. However, it’s obvious we have different perspectives of Obama – or should I say the movement of Obama – the now, President-Elect!

You wrote:
But what I AM saying, is that all, ALL personality cults are dangerous, in all countries and all times.
Yes, a cult can be dangerous when the image or initial movement that perhaps started with good intentions is lost in the trappings of a leader, organization, etc…

In the book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman; He wrote:
“Innocence is America’s mystical cloud of unknowing. We are forgiven simply by virtue of not knowing what we do. To wrap ourselves round in the Good – that is the American dream, leaving place for the evil nightmare only in the ‘other,’ where it can be diagnosed, treated, prevented, and sermonized about….” (p.247)
However, I have faith in the American People. I don’t think all of us are “unknowing” – unless we choose to be blind. We have a responsibility to look at all the facts. If not, we might become ensnared. Yes, yes, I know the trappings of propaganda.

What’s wrong with an inspirational IMAGE – as long as we are conscious of the mystery of the image -- as long as we don’t get trapped into idealizing the person, system, organization, etc… that embodies the spirit.

For me, Barack Obama has demonstrated values that I relate to and his words inspire me.

That is why I want to talk about the IMAGE of Barack Obama – the force that inspired millions of Americans. Where did it come from? Was it a desire for unity? A desire for racial healing? A desire to get the republicans out of the office :lol:

Whatever – something INSPIRATIONAL is behind the movement.

I am not fearful. I embrace the movement!

However, I am not putting Barack Obama on a pedestal either. He is simply a man after all – a human, like the rest of us -- who is subject to the demands of a personal ego.

I realize that any political movement, as sweeping as the one involving Barack Obama, can be frightening for people.

And you are not alone in being skeptical.

I witnessed people struggle until the last moment about who they would vote for. I need not list the struggles, because most of us have been exposed to many of these already through the media and internet! We have witnessed these extreme views from both poles!

History is a testament to the type of movements you spoke of that perhaps served a dark force.

Like I said, I hope and pray that Barack Obama will be a force of good for this country.

I believe his IMAGE is one of unity

Speaking of inspiration, I am currently reading Pollen and Fragments by Novalis. He wrote:
“Now the spirit stirs only here and there: when will the spirit stir the whole? When will humanity begin to remember itself?” – 24 (p. 29)
The spirit has certainly been stirred!!!!

Inspiration is a gift.

We must use it wisely.


---Scarlett
Well said Lady "Scarlett", it is all of our responsibility to insure that the voices of reason guide our people back to the path of liberty, peace, and justice for all humankind.
YES WE CAN!
"Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people."
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Post by Vissi » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:20 pm

Hello Scarlett, Ned, Clemsy, Unikorn, Everyone,

Scarlett wrote:
That is why I want to talk about the IMAGE of Barack Obama – the force that inspired millions of Americans. Where did it come from? Was it a desire for unity? A desire for racial healing? A desire to get the republicans out of the office :lol:
Scarlett, thank you for initiating this topic. I'd like to share some things briefly as I don't have the time I'd like to comment just now.

It's as important, I think, to ask ourselves why we support someone as it is to give support. On election day, I was fortunate to work at the polls and to watch over the process (in my small way) as Americans were casting their votes. Many times that day, I was told, "I've never voted before. This is my first time." And those offering this confidence were not all young people just past the age of eighteen. Many were people who felt this was the time for them to make their voices heard. When I arrived at the polls at 5:15am, there was already a line, people sitting in folding chairs along the sidewalk --- a sight most usually associated with, in America at least, purchasing tickets to a film or concert, obtaining a copy of new book, or the opportunity to purchase a limited supply of new video or computer gear. After so many years of apathy, cynicism with the processes of democracy, it was inspirational to see people so committed and excited about being citizens (I only hope they don't feel they've done their part but continue to be as active in the days going forward). The feeling to me was that people were casting their ballots in favor of hope. If one considers the Greek myth of Pandora's box, what was left once all the afflictions were set forth on the world? Hope.

Today, in America, we have a chance, built on the hope of many generations, countless men, women, and children who lived the struggles and bore the brunt of inequality (in body, mind, and spirit) to embrace possibility, embrace change, and move forward from the tyrannies of the past to the possibilities of the present and the potential of a future that was hoped for, lived for, and believed. That alone is cause for celebration I think.

For many around the world, the image of Barack Obama is the face of America. The face of this nation has changed. There again, is cause for hope, not just for our brothers and sisters in other countries, but for Americans as well.

Beyond that, as I watch Mr. and Mrs. Obama work together, hear and read their words of love and support for one another, I see a truly powerful symbol created in their relationship --- one in which the love of two people for one another creates beautiful opportunity for so many. It's clear that love is central to the lives of these two extraordinary people. For me, that is the confirmation of what is possible in human relationships. For too long, too many of the leaders of the world have eschewed speaking of love as a real force. Pardon me for being sentimental but if someone is brave enough of heart to speak of love from one of the most vaunted public forums in the world, I find a great deal to admire in that act. Mr. Obama's mother is not here to see the wonderful possibilities her belief in ideas like Joseph Campbell's have brought forth in the world, in a very real and practical way. Perhaps we can all spare a moment or two to thank her for her belief in love, wisdom, and universal human truths when so many voices around her where shouting otherwise. And to thank all those, like Joseph Campbell, like Dr. King, like so many whose names are not known to us but who feel the same, who tirelessly and patiently speak in favor of the triumph of wisdom over ignorance, the victory of love over hatred, and the power of creative acts of the heart.

Help Set 350, Peace Now,
Dixie
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Ned Kelly
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Post by Ned Kelly » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:24 am

@Clemsy,

I concede that the question of whether Obama is "owned by the plutocracy" is debatable.

But as for this:
...obama is not a child of privilege.
He went to Hawaii's most prestigious private school. He has never experienced poverty. And although the records of how and why he was admitted to Harvard are not open to the public, it is at least surmisable - based on Harvard's openly acknowledged policy of admitting designated "minorities" (NOT including Chinese- Americans, shamefully and hypocritically) with sub-par academic qualifications.

Funny thing about affirmative action quotas for abstractly designated "minorities" (again, for some reason such advantages are NOT given to Chinese-Americans, who were in many ways persecuted even worse than Blacks in the 1800s), is that the actual economic status of those "minorities" is not considered at all.

Here's an example - and yes I know one cannot extrapolate too much inductively from just one anecdote, yet the fact that this anecdote exists is disturbing in itself:

I have no personal grievance against racial preferences, being mindful that I was born into a somewhat privileged economic class, so that I did not suffer from racial preferences. But my former college roommate was not born privileged like me.
He is the son of working class Italian immigrants, and he grew up knowing hunger. He went to our college on a full academic scholarship - based strictly on merit - and then graduated second in our class. So, he and another classmate of ours - at the same college, same year - both applied for a place at an Ivy League medical school.
Our classmate's class rank and MCAT test scores were far beneath my roommate's. But our classmate was admitted to that Ivy League school, while my roommate was not.

And here is the reason why. Our classmate checked a box on his application to say he was "Hispanic". But my friend, the son of Italian immigrants, was simply considered "White" and therefore not disadvantaged.

And here's the punchline: The so-called "Hispanic" applicant, didn't know a word of Spanish. His father was Irish-American, and a wealthy businessman. And his mother, from Ecuador, belonged to a family which OWNED HALF OF ECUADOR, and she was a direct descendant of Simon Bolivar. In other words, that "Hispanic" applicant was a member of Ecuador's aristocracy. And he was American. And didn't speak any Spanish. And had lots of money and went to the best private schools and drove an expensive sports car.

Meanwhile, my poor Italian friend never even owned a car - because he couldn't afford one - until he was well into his 20s.

So, why was that half-Ecuadorian applicant given special privileges? "Diversity" is no excuse, considering how he didn't even speak any Spanish.

This is what happens when individual qualities are disregarded in favour of abstractions. And in my opinion, Obama's main appeal is that he personifies an ABSTRACTION of the desideratum of "diversity".
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Post by Ned Kelly » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:39 am

And a few questions for Vissi, with whom I agree about many of her above-expressed noble sentiments. You wrote:
as I watch Mr. and Mrs. Obama work together, hear and read their words of love and support for one another, I see a truly powerful symbol created in their relationship
What do you think is extraordinary about their love and support for one another, any more than that between other husbands and wives, including Ron Reagan and Nancy Reagan who often publicly expressed their passionate love and devotion to each other?
--- one in which the love of two people for one another creates beautiful opportunity for so many.
How, precisely, has the love between the Obamas (whose authenticity I do not doubt) created opportunities for anyone? And if so, how is it different from the opportunities created by the love between Chairman Mao and Madame Mao? Their very sincere love for each other was instrumental in enabling Mao to create a revolution and an entirely new government, whose effects did a lot of good for a lot of people. But then there's the other detail of how Mao and his wife murdered ten percent of the people of China and tormented most of the other 90 percent. But still, Mao and his wife DID create opportunities for many! And they accomplished many good things, too.

By the way, on the issue of Chairman Mao and "love", when I visited his birthplace, his farmhouse in ShaoShan (where he, like Obama, was born middle class, not poor), I bought a souvenir, a gilded heart-shaped medallion dedicated to Mao and how he loved the people.

(And I can't resist this gloss about Mao: If being eloquent (or "articulate") is a sign of talent for good, moral leadership, then Mao certainly had it! Have you ever read any of Mao's poetry? Mao wrote beautiful poetry, expressing sublime ideals of universal brotherhood.)
For too long, too many of the leaders of the world have eschewed speaking of love as a real force.
Pope Benedict the 16th's first message to the worldwide Catholic Church was about the centrality of Love, and especially love between spouses. And (see above) the cult of Mao often referred to "love" too.
Pardon me for being sentimental


No pardon is ever needed for that.
but if someone is brave enough of heart to speak of love from one of the most vaunted public forums in the world, I find a great deal to admire in that act.
By that reasoning, you should admire Pope Benedict. And I'm not saying that you don't.
And to thank all those, like Joseph Campbell, like Dr. King, like so many whose names are not known to us but who feel the same, who tirelessly and patiently speak in favor of the triumph of wisdom over ignorance, the victory of love over hatred, and the power of creative acts of the heart.
By those good criteria, the late Pope John Paul II deserves a shout-out too, especially for how, when he visited his native Poland in 1979, his first words to the Poles suffering under imperial oppression were, "Be not afraid".

But then, Chairman Mao ALSO told his people, "be not afraid"; Mao told his people to "believe". It seems to me that the Chinese emperors (including Mao) were not very different from the Popes. And the historical records of the Popes AND of Chinese Emperors - both going back around 2,000 years - are pretty grim. And so, as my principal religious inheritance is high church Anglican, I remember the Psalm which says, "Do not put your faith in Princes (nor in any other political leaders)".

And I am certain that Campbell would agree with that Psalm.
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Post by Clemsy » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:19 am

I went to a private, though perhaps not prestigious, school. I never experienced poverty. I am half Latino and consider myself that, though I speak little Spanish. I didn't go to Harvard, but damn, I sound almost like a child of privilege.

Guess I am... from a certain perspective.

I'm not going to argue the pros and cons of affirmative action and the American history of black opportunity here, but are you basing your rather empirical comments on Obama's intelligence on an assumption that he got into that school based on his color and not grades?

Obama, like our Prof. Campbell, is a graduate of Columbia University. Coincidentally, I was there a couple weeks ago for the orientation tour for potential students. Learned some interesting stuff, like Columbia, which doesn't take federal funding, doesn't apply racial quotas.

And he was President of the Harvard Law Review exactly why?

His reputation as a teacher at the University of Chicago (that would be constitutional law) seems, as far as I can see quite fine. (This Sunday the NYTimes Magazine will have an article on his work there.)

Your comment on Obama's intelligence lacks any foundation that I can find, Ned.

Mediocre intelligence, and that's being generous, has been running the country for the past eight years. John McCain allowed his campaign to be run by mediocre intelligence. (And is it me, or did he look relieved during his very good concession speech? Indeed, he looked like the John McCain I could have potentially voted for.)

Obama's campaign was brilliant which everyone on all sides admits.

I know what that tells me. Obama was in charge of his campaign. McCain was not. Obama knows how to choose a team. McCain does not.

As Maureen Dowd said yesterday, "Obama may be in over his head. Or he may be heading for his own monument one day."

He's certainly earned his chance and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

I haven't been proud of my country in a long time. I'm going to savor the taste of it for a while.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Re: The Image of Barack Obama

Post by Unikorn » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:40 pm

Vissi wrote:Hello Scarlett, Ned, Clemsy, Unikorn, Everyone,

Scarlett wrote:
That is why I want to talk about the IMAGE of Barack Obama – the force that inspired millions of Americans. Where did it come from? Was it a desire for unity? A desire for racial healing? A desire to get the republicans out of the office :lol:
Scarlett, thank you for initiating this topic. I'd like to share some things briefly as I don't have the time I'd like to comment just now.

It's as important, I think, to ask ourselves why we support someone as it is to give support. On election day, I was fortunate to work at the polls and to watch over the process (in my small way) as Americans were casting their votes. Many times that day, I was told, "I've never voted before. This is my first time." And those offering this confidence were not all young people just past the age of eighteen. Many were people who felt this was the time for them to make their voices heard. When I arrived at the polls at 5:15am, there was already a line, people sitting in folding chairs along the sidewalk --- a sight most usually associated with, in America at least, purchasing tickets to a film or concert, obtaining a copy of new book, or the opportunity to purchase a limited supply of new video or computer gear. After so many years of apathy, cynicism with the processes of democracy, it was inspirational to see people so committed and excited about being citizens (I only hope they don't feel they've done their part but continue to be as active in the days going forward). The feeling to me was that people were casting their ballots in favor of hope. If one considers the Greek myth of Pandora's box, what was left once all the afflictions were set forth on the world? Hope.

Today, in America, we have a chance, built on the hope of many generations, countless men, women, and children who lived the struggles and bore the brunt of inequality (in body, mind, and spirit) to embrace possibility, embrace change, and move forward from the tyrannies of the past to the possibilities of the present and the potential of a future that was hoped for, lived for, and believed. That alone is cause for celebration I think.

For many around the world, the image of Barack Obama is the face of America. The face of this nation has changed. There again, is cause for hope, not just for our brothers and sisters in other countries, but for Americans as well.

Beyond that, as I watch Mr. and Mrs. Obama work together, hear and read their words of love and support for one another, I see a truly powerful symbol created in their relationship --- one in which the love of two people for one another creates beautiful opportunity for so many. It's clear that love is central to the lives of these two extraordinary people. For me, that is the confirmation of what is possible in human relationships. For too long, too many of the leaders of the world have eschewed speaking of love as a real force. Pardon me for being sentimental but if someone is brave enough of heart to speak of love from one of the most vaunted public forums in the world, I find a great deal to admire in that act. Mr. Obama's mother is not here to see the wonderful possibilities her belief in ideas like Joseph Campbell's have brought forth in the world, in a very real and practical way. Perhaps we can all spare a moment or two to thank her for her belief in love, wisdom, and universal human truths when so many voices around her where shouting otherwise. And to thank all those, like Joseph Campbell, like Dr. King, like so many whose names are not known to us but who feel the same, who tirelessly and patiently speak in favor of the triumph of wisdom over ignorance, the victory of love over hatred, and the power of creative acts of the heart.

Help Set 350, Peace Now,
Dixie
Good Lady Dixie,
There will no doubt be those who will attempt to disparage and dissemble your gentle words of love and reason, in their desperate attempts to diminish the life experience of others. I suspect that these assaults, however framed and couched in pretended logic and revisionist distortions, will merit little but a sympathetic ear.
You alluded to those amongst us, "....who tirelessly and patiently speak in favor of the triumph of wisdom over ignorance, the victory of love over hatred, and the power of creative acts of the heart." This is the stuff that fuels human inspiration in all walks of life, to speak against these axioms is the stuff of avarice and cynicism.
Barack Obama, who has publicly admitted to being an imperfect and flawed human being, has inspired a distinct majority (by a measure of over 7 million citizens) to elect him our next President. In turn, the entire world is inspired by the clear intentions of the people of the United States. There is much to do in the next four years to heal and repair our people and their nation, and it is incumbent on all of us who have benefited from our nation's largess, to use this time wisely to give back some of which we have gained. As President-elect Obama has said, he needs and expects all of us to get involved in the process. It is not "blind faith" to take him at his word that he will be open to the free exchange of ideas, just as it is not unreasonable to carefully scrutinize every action the new administration takes in our behalf.
For my part, I will advocate on behalf of the increase in the support for the human arts and humanities curriculum's in our education system, both from the public and private sectors. If anyone on this forum would like to assist in this effort, all ideas are welcomed. Let's all put aside our differences, and go to work on forming a more perfect union.
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