There is, within man, an irresistible desire to be a part of something bigger than oneself, to be knitted into a fabric of meaning that transcends an individual life and will last longer than the mortal self.
We all seek, in this way, the fountain of youth.
Since it's appointed to all men once to die, men grasp at immortality. One way to do this is to have children, lots of them and experience an enlarged world by literally enlarging it. Immortality can be achieved another way--through creation of art. Whether the name is remembered or not, the creation is an extension of the author and as long as the matter exists, the connection to the creator exists, too. But there is yet another way to grasp immortality. It is through beliefs and ideas. To attach to a timeless ideal, be a part of it and know that the ideal will endure long after death takes us is a powerful desire.
Great thinkers, politicians, preachers, and innovators tap into that powerful energy. No one is feeling that current and building it quite like Barack Obama. Watch this and see what I mean:
His rhetoric soars and stirs a deep place of longing--the longing to belong. It is heady. It is enrapturing. It is thrilling.
And it can be extraordinarily dangerous. Engaging the heart and feeling completely can be intoxicating...and toxic. In Obama's case, my concern is that the heart-throbbing rhetoric isn't backed up by any sort of substance. Or worse, that the substance is that of other great socialist orators.
To me, this is one of the best ads I've seen this political season. It hits the emotional heart strings. It rises above the distinctions without a difference. It is a call to action. He sees the best of America and Americans and wants us to believe.
Many people will want to believe, and in this cynical environment need to believe--yes, we can.