E to the 4th
A Virtual Book Club
E4 Identity Groups
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitled them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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..."
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was promulgated in Independence Hall on July 4, 1776. Consistent with America's diversity, vis-à-vis "decent respect to the opinions of mankind", as expressed by our Founding Fathers, E4 cordially extends membership to all Americans! Our book club's philosophy is indeed inclusive of all of the following identity groups in its examination of Americana:
Most Americans can be described by E4's identity groups. Yet, virtually all of us living in the United States have been indoctrinated in violence and hatred of other identity groups. E4 contends that such malice poisons not only our relationships with each other, but also with the rest of the World! Publicly, we Americans choose reticence regarding our society's racial, religious, and socio-economic hatred. Publicly, we proclaim, "I'm proud to be an American!" Yet, privately we teach our children and our coterie to malign and molest "other people" we consider to be inferior or weaker. Is it possible for our citizenry to ever ameliorate the complementary relationships that exist among these identity groups? Or is the "American way" tantamount to our incessantly instigating competition and contention among them? How does an entire Nation learn to behave thusly? Two of the most effective means by which we propagate such hatred are via America's media and via America's criminal justice system. Were a sexual molester acquitted in court, even after the preponderance of the evidence all but proved that he was guilty, would the molester subsequently be more or less inclined to prey upon other children? In the absence of untoward consequences, a "normal" person would indeed repeat the egregious behavior. In a broader context, when America's courts condone non-sexual "molestation" of certain individuals, based solely upon the identity groups to which they belong, is the molester more or less inclined to subsequently prey upon other victims? In the absence of untoward consequences, a "normal" person would indeed repeat the egregious behavior. As fellow Americans, E4 appeals to both the "molester" and the "molested" to embrace godliness as the quintessential and impartial standard for meting liberty and justice for all.
Just as America's courts have often removed disincentives for molestation of non-Europeans in our Nation, our television shows and movies often subtly aid and abet Americans' malevolence in that regard as well. Albeit the messages are not as flagrant as those depicted in movies like Birth of a Nation, the subliminal messages remain the same. Analytically, perhaps the only thing that changes over time is which identity groups will be molested and to what extent we will condone such egregious behavior. Over a half century ago, Pavlov demonstrated how "conditioned reflexes" are actualized in the behavior of dogs. Whenever the bell of hatred is rung, is Homo sapiens now salivating as a conditioned reflex? As American students learn less and less about Asian, African and Indigenous American civilizations in school, one does not need to ring the bell loudly in order to precipitate intolerance or hatred. Because we Americans tend to interposition artificial barriers between ourselves and those outside of our specific identity group, E4 proffers a more holistic approach to our being fellow Americans. Via the unique format of a book club, even friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, siblings, spouses and other relatives can benefit from such a pedagogy as ours. E4 challenges Americans to simply become enlightened to the reality of diversity. In those areas of ethics, ethnicity, education and economics wherein we are different, diversity does not preclude our having healthy relationships as fellow Americans.
Nearly four hundred years before Christ, in China the Mo Tzu profoundly stated, "It is the business of the benevolent man to try to promote what is beneficial to the world and to eliminate what is harmful." E4 asks, "Does any such benevolent man live in the White House or elsewhere in America?" As E4's discussion of 1984, The Anatomy of a Lynching, Henry Ford and the Jews, etc. in our workbook will show, those Americans who possess more power often mistreat those who are less powerful. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we see that Cain hated and killed his own brother, Abel. In Greek mythology, Oedipus of Thebes even committed patricide and had an unnatural relationship with his own mother. Do we not see similar stories on the six o'clock evening news? Thus, one could argue that the pathology of violence and hatred is universal. Yet, it is not incorrigible! American society, one could even argue, is becoming more unethical, if not de facto pathological, via the perpetual erosion of spiritual and family values. Cogitate how we Americans spend our discretionary time, away from our careers or our classes. We are what we eat; and we Americans consume too much "garbage" that is readily available at Satan's training table. Yet, we spend virtually no time at God's training table devouring nutritious food for our souls. The results are self-evident. Are not spouses and even America's children becoming more self-absorbed, more ungodly, and more violent toward one another than ever before? America's Youths are floundering in their intellectual, emotional and spiritual development, in part because they have neither adequate religious education nor sufficient godly role models. E4 can not make the choice for anyone, insofar as how you will live your life. Each of us chooses our own head coach and our own football team. However, the stakes in life's game are much higher than the glory of a national championship. Thus, E4 proffers a playbook by which one can develop healthier bodies, minds, emotions, and spirituality in the world in which you live. As our workbook examines myriad human and spiritual relationships, E4 contends that only intellectual and spiritual enlightenment can manumit us from America's own demons of hate. Such hatred can inevitably portend global consequences. Quite bluntly, the choice is ours.
In the context of relationships, mortals often will debate whether a particular person, place, thing, or point of view is superior to another. For example, academes entertain such an argument regarding whether heredity or environment plays the greater role in a student's ultimate level of success. E4 considers such arguments moot because, although they may fail to admit such, academes possess less than perfect knowledge or understanding of the Universe. That distinction belongs to God and to Him alone! We are mere creatures while He is the Creator! Therefore, in spite of impressive credentials, we mortals are ignorant of some elements or characteristics of the disparate issues we tend to debate. More germane to E4's position, however, is the premise that the parties engaged in such debates have a vested interest in the "appearance of truth" more than in the truth itself. For example, scientific scholars from Europe and the United States attempted to affirm the genetic inferiority of Africans via the contrivance of "experiments" measuring the brain and other anatomical characteristics of Negroes. Realistically, were these eminent scientists seeking the "appearance of truth" or the truth itself? Another such example illustrating propaganda in science and academia was the proposition at the beginning of the twentieth century that homosexuality was an organic mental illness. By the end of the twentieth century, however, the experts considered homosexuality to be simply an innocuous alternate lifestyle. Ergo, what are the relationships between hidden agendas and the "appearance of truth"? Explain.
Ethically speaking, when the very rich and powerful Catholic Church banned books, imprisoned dissidents, excommunicated and even publicly executed heretics during the Inquisition, was the Church's motive the appearance of truth or the truth itself? When corrupt policemen suppress evidence or plant false evidence at crime scenes to protect their own or to insure a conviction, are they perpetuating the appearance of the truth instead of the truth itself? Ethically speaking, do other respected American institutions and individuals still perpetuate the appearance of truth, at the expense of the truth? Bien sur! When one studies human history, one finds this human vice of dishonesty to be universal among the ungodly. Thus, the struggle between good and evil ever continues in each of E4's identity groups. Throughout human history, religious zealots have demonstrated an appearance of truth, only to molest or even murder those whose mores and folkways were different from their own. Antithetically, the spiritually enlightened have demonstrated a genuine love for humanity and have attained inner peace via obedience unto God. E4 solicits essays or anecdotes from such enlightened members regarding how godliness has changed your life and your lifestyle! Presumably, most Americans will continue to choose to do evil and score many more touchdowns for Satan. Only those of us who choose to do good will ever make "liberty and justice for all" more of a reality. In so doing, E4 and its members run the football for God in obedience to His commandments. With so much at stake, whose football jersey are you wearing as you run toward the end zone? Explain.
An underlying premise of our workbook is that of anonymity of our respondents. Rather than perpetuating the matrix or image behind which we hide from reality, E4 challenges each of us to honestly confront our moral assets and liabilities. Spiritual enlightenment requires that we walk in the truth's light instead of in darkness. Only candid responses to our workbook's queries can genuinely make us better human beings. As such, the only "signature" requested on any response from our workbook is that of a four-digit number, indicating the four identity groups to which you belong. For example, "1/3/2/4" would be a Buddhist, of European Ancestry, with some college education, and who earns at least $500,000 annually. E4's curriculum explores both the internal and external relationships of each of these identity groups listed above. Because many Americans are more comfortable projecting aggressive malevolence instead of benevolence upon other identity groups, we will not publish any such submissions. To some degree, our culture subliminally programs us to compete against, rather than to complement the well being of other individuals and identity groups. E4's workbook proffers an alternatively holistic approach to diversity predicated upon our belief that all people exist in a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual self. Concomitantly, we feel as if most Americans fail to self-actualize in one or more of these areas, primarily as a function of the deleterious relationships we have with other individuals and institutions. Therefore, akin to a balance sheet, E4's curriculum will examine both the assets and liabilities that comprise American mores and folkways. It is up to each member to increase the assets, while decreasing the liabilities in your "moral portfolio". As you do so, our book club facilitates your establishment of real, instead of virtual, relationships with others who practice our ideals. E4 feels that by raising our awareness and discernment of morality, spirituality, good, evil, etc., we can learn to embrace human diversity as God intended. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can best be defined by each of us as we experience it in the United States. Thus, as we explore these efferent relationships, E4 challenges its members to choose their own paths of enlightenment and empowerment in creating a more ethical society for us all.
Unapologetically, E4 is also concerned that "In God we trust" remains more than a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed. Is freedom of religion tantamount to freedom from religion? Can we define ethics, morality, immorality, spirituality, godliness, etc., without God? Is America a better Nation when we altogether ban religion in our public schools, as opposed to providing elective courses in Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism? When a mother says to a child, "Now that you are older, you can choose your own outfits to wear to school," is she condoning the child's going to school naked? A relationship with God, based upon moral purity, is far more important to E4's pedagogy than one's personal choice of religion. Unlike the Supreme Court's ruling in Engel vs. Vitale, our curriculum simply discourages ambulating to school naked! Do students who trust in God behave any differently from those students who lack a religious and moral education? Do college coeds who observe their religious morals respond differently to the hedonistic temptations of college life than do nonbelievers? Do Americans who live morally pure lives smoke, drink, party, embezzle, defraud investors or the government, etc.? Do adults who trust in God comport themselves more ethically in government and business than others who disavow God? We believe the righteous practice piety, while the unrighteous perfunctorily pontificate their religious ideals. Nobody is perfect; yet, the twain are mutually exclusive. For example, if one's religion teaches that one should always be truthful, nurture the poor, protect the elderly and our children, then E4 commends such virtuous ethical standards, inconsequential to one's religious choice. Likewise, E4 endeavors to give a similar voice of diversity in America regarding Ethnicity, Education and Economics as well. "We the People" of the United States make our Nation great only when we fully participate in both discussing and demonstrating the democratic principles upon which our government was founded. Thus, we proffer an expression of diversity as perhaps it is seldom otherwise exemplified within American society. As both enlightened and patriotic members of this book club, E4 doesn't try to change the world; instead, working together we change the world in which we live!
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