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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

E Pluribus Unum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

E Pluribus Unum included in the Seal of the United States, being one of the nation's mottos at the time of the seal's creation
E pluribus unum (/ˈiː ˈplʊərɨbəs ˈuːnəm/; Latin: [ˈeː ˈpluːrɪbʊs ˈuːnũː])—Latin for "Out of many, one" (alternatively translated as "One out of many" or "One from many")—is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis (Latin for "He approves (has approved) of the undertaking") and Novus ordo seclorum, (Latin for "New Order of the Ages") and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States[citation needed] until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto.

 The motto was suggested in 1776 by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere to the committee responsible for developing the seal. At the time of the American Revolution, the exact phrase appeared prominently on the title page of every issue of a popular periodical, The Gentleman's Magazine, which collected articles from many sources into one "magazine". This in turn can be traced back to the London-based Huguenot Peter Anthony Motteux, who used the adage for his The Gentleman's Journal, or the Monthly Miscellany (1692-1694). The phrase is similar to a Latin translation of a variation of Heraclitus's 10th fragment, "The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one." A variant of the phrase was used in Moretum, a poem attributed to Virgil but with the actual author unknown. In the poem text, color est e pluribus unus describes the blending of colors into one. St Augustine used a variant of the phrase, ex pluribus unum, in his Confessions.

While Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum appear on the reverse side of the great seal, E pluribus unum appears on the obverse side of the seal (Designed by Charles Thomson), the image of which is used as the national emblem of the United States, and appears on official documents such as passports. It also appears on the seal of the President and in the seals of the Vice President of the United States, of the United States Congress, of the United States House of Representatives, of the United States Senate and on the seal of the United States Supreme Court.

Traditionally, the understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerge a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation—illustrating the concept of the melting pot.

from The Apostles Creed

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The longer I live the more I have come to appreciate the wisdom and truth embodied in the phrases “E pluribus unum” and the “holy catholic Church” [the church universal derived from unity in Christ but diversity in fellowship]. Both have the meaning that there is unity in diversity. Sometimes it is assumed the Kingdom of God will cover the earth with a blanket of abject uniformity and from that we will of necessity derive great happiness. Is this really what we want? Is this really what we need? The surest path to survival and abundance in the long term suggest the need for a portfolio of diversity. We certainly can see the necessity of this in the dynamics of human nature. Once any one institution or person or party is assigned the attribution of being “It” or “The One and Only” or “The Great I Am” great mischief is sure to follow. The human psyche just can’t deal with that kind of power and disastrous consequences result.

Now in American we have great dissension present in national politics. Nevertheless, we must conclude that anything is better than total conformity. Down that route disaster would not only be in the offing, it would be certain—despite perhaps a temporary high of phony good feeling. The essential problem is that if any person or institution is assigned the role of God, delusions already evident would escalate into utter escapism. The motto of the United States “In God we trust” means that we must always hold total and absolute trust in God alone—not in any other being (to include any institution or person). So we must conclude that we should be grateful for diversity, and thank the surpassing wisdom of God Almighty for our political opposition—though this not always is an easy thing to do. E pluribus unum is the common page upon which we all can write and forms the paradox upon which true strength resides.

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