Interviewing Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Few people in the history of humanity have had the impact that Thomas Jefferson has had and continues to have, world wide. This influence is largely indirect, through his insistence that protections of basic human rights are an essential element of any government that claims to respect its citizens. Because Jefferson succeeded in raising the bar for good governance, people all over the world have basic rights to speech, press, religion, and justice. He laid the groundwork that would eventually end slavery worldwide and yet later provide women with the same rights of citizenship that men enjoyed. That ripple effect is now being seen in the ability of gays to serve openly in the military, the granting of equal governmental services to gay couples, and in the gathering recognition that animals and the Earth itself have rights that need both acknowledgement and protection. To learn more about Jefferson and how you can use his vision to change your life, see Thomas Jefferson and Dream Politics.

In this interview one version of Jefferson speaks its truth. It is not your Jefferson; to access that, you are invited to do your own interview. Society needs people like Jefferson today; you need to access that part of yourself to help provide you with the courage and wisdom to act in the world and to better govern your own life.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

Since this interview is about listening to those emerging potentials personified by Thomas Jefferson, the first issue would be about how to best go about guaranteeing human rights for all mankind.

The second is how best to insure the rights of each  individual’s greater identity, so that each can respect a continuously expanding definition of self and not be a dictator in one’s own relationships to themselves.

The third is how best to awaken others to the Thomas Jefferson part of themselves.

Thomas Jefferson, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see…

I see an amazing, appalling world, full of hope and despair, of extremes of wealth, privilege, opportunity and ignorance, greed, and abuse of power. Beyond my amazement at the extraordinary improvements in transportation, communication, health, education, and human rights is my horror at the degree of neglect and irresponsibility I find in governance. I thought the virtue in man combined with governmental checks and balances and legal guarantees of the rights of men would tip the balance toward virtue. What I see instead is that human greed and lust for power has used those institutions to create vast inequality and exploitation. Man has developed and tolerates a capacity for weapons that, through a moment’s fury, miscalculation, or simple system error, could trigger his own extinction. I never considered that mankind could become so powerful, reckless, or foolish – and in only two hundred years! I never considered that mankind could use the richness of the earth to the point that he would deplete its abundance and create such an imbalance that imperils life and threatens cities with the rise of the sea and the drying out of vast areas, making them unsuitable for cultivation. I am astonished, horrified, deeply sad, confused, and very angry.

Thomas Jefferson, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I have been living on as an historical example and as ideas, inspiring people and societies to implement and extend human rights. Few have considered the extension of these ideas to their interior realm. I did not, because the understanding of the mind had not developed to a place where those concepts made sense during my lifetime. I am curious about the possibility of this application of human rights to the interior realm, mostly because I always thought that human virtue would win out, and this could be a way of strengthening virtue within individuals in a way that balances out the accumulation of segregated power and control by waking minds. This is a new concept to me.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I like most that I built structures that endure and that stand the test of time. They do so because they are universal, rational, virtuous, and balanced. My greatest strength is my ability to adapt, to expand and grow in my understanding and in my willingness to implement what I know.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?

As a human, I had plenty of weaknesses. The historical record has a good accounting of them. I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, completely good or trustworthy. I am not a good model in some ways. I am not trustworthy in some ways. I am human. I have learned that it is unrealistic to expect myself to be perfect, to expect others to be perfect, or to tolerate humans imagining I and my ideas are perfect. They are not. They are merely tools, experiments in building a more just society. That is all.

Thomas Jefferson, what aspect of humanity do you represent or most closely personify?

Intellectual curiosity. The willingness to question any and all beliefs and power structures, both external and internal. Respect for reason. Belief in quality, accountability, transparency, education, hard work, and human virtue. Belief in the Golden Rule and its practical application in government.

Thomas Jefferson, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?

I would like to experience life from multiple perspectives, to look out at the world from the minds and hearts of all humans everywhere. That is actually occurring, as people learn about me and get in touch with the parts of themselves that are like me.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Thomas Jefferson, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?

Confidence: 8 I still am not sure virtue can or will win the day. However, human ability to access and practice the necessary virtue has increased and is increasing.

Compassion: 8 It is difficult for me to control my impatience and intolerance. From my perspective, humans are tolerant of many intolerable things: poverty, hunger, illness when they now have the resources to finally remove these scourges; war, when it has never been more dangerous; destruction of the earth and heavens when it is obvious that when you foul your own nest you cannot live. While I understand why these problems have grown and refuse to yield to time and wisdom, I am impatient and intolerant of the intolerable, and I think humans should be too.

Wisdom: 8 I have grown in wisdom enormously since my physical death and I became a growing idea for governance. I see no reason why this will not continue.

Acceptance: 5 Perhaps it is my lack of acceptance of injustice that most makes me who I am to you. I think you should be less accepting of injustice as well, but starting with the injustices you do to yourself. This is a new idea, something I did not so much contemplate when I was alive.

Inner Peace: 5 I have work to do. I want to be used more by humans. I want to be put to work. There is a time for inner peace and there is a time for exertion and effort. Still, I know that only from a space of inner peace does the strength come that is required for sustained effort. During my lifetime I did not do enough to guard and build my inner peace. I can be more effective in your life the more you are in touch with yours.

Witnessing: 8 I see the broad panorama of human history. I see the hearts and minds of humans. I am hardly God, but from where I stand I can see a lot.

Thomas Jefferson, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?

I would be more powerful and more effective, because I would be more balanced. This is why people need to access other emerging potentials from history and within themselves besides me. I supply important attributes for transformation, but I am hardly strong in all of the necessary ones.

How would life be different if humans naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

Your focus and dedication would mean that you made clearer choices. You would waste much less time on activities and people that do not serve those goals that not only accomplish your ends, but those of your broader self and of humanity.

If you could live my life for humans, how would you live it differently?

I would have more courage and confidence and therefore act more, with less consideration for those who lack vision and who are doubtful and afraid. I would do a better job of confronting the complacency of the greedy and powerful. Time is real. Time is short. It is time to make haste.

If you were alive, would you handle those three life issues differently? If so, how?

Since this interview is about listening to those emerging potentials personified by Thomas Jefferson, the first issue would be about how to best go about guaranteeing human rights for all mankind.

A multi-pronged approach is required. Some people will work to change law to ensure human rights and the rights of the earth. Some people will focus on increasing internal virtue through extending full rights of citizenship to the other parts of themselves. Both approaches are necessary and become more necessary as human power, knowledge, numbers, and complexity grows.

The second is how best to insure the rights of one’s greater identity, so that humans can cultivate a constantly expanding self and not be a dictator in their own relationships to themselves.

Your work, which is about listening to disenfranchised perspectives and applying their recommendations, allows people to find their own way to virtue. It teaches them to believe in themselves and find direction for growth that is genuine and deeply meaningful for them. So through your work people learn to become much less dictators over themselves; that will continue to be the case.

The third is how best to awaken others to the Thomas Jefferson part of themselves.

People will read this and some few will try these experiments and get in touch with me. Some few of those will find themselves awakened and will be moved to greater, more effective action.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge?

Question, but do not tolerate doubt, distraction, or the petty criticism of those who are themselves rudderless or who are protecting their advantage.

Recognize and remember that your inner community looks to you for leadership, direction, inspiration, and help. It cannot live or act in the world without you. It is up to you to represent them and to advocate for them, to ensure that they have a place at the decision-making table, that their voices are heard, and that their grievances are respected.

Virtue is a balance of many things, as you know. It is also an active thing, not simply an idea, ideal, or moral imperative. The nature of an imperative is that it commands and leads to action, and not just any action, but virtuous action. The most virtuous actions are those that extend rights to more in broader spheres, to everyone, to the earth, and to the internal constituency of every personal government, without exception.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for people to imagine that they are you and act as you would?

Only when they want vision, courage, and decisive action.

Thomas Jefferson, do you do drama? If not, why not?

In my lifetime I did. I have no interest in it now.

What is your secret for staying out of drama?

I see the big picture of human governance and find it petty, distracting, and self-centered.

Thomas Jefferson, you are the imaginary musings of only one person. Why should anyone pay attention to anything you say?

An idea whose time has come is more real than any individual. It is more powerful than any army. I am such an idea. I continue to be born within the mind of humanity. I continue to be born within your mind.

Why do you think that you are once again, in the forefront of the consciousness of those humans who read these words?

Political power is personal power, writ large. Personal power starts with accessing powerful, wise, and virtuous inner reservoirs of ability. I am one such reservoir.

How are we humans most likely to ignore what you are saying to us?

You will think small. You will listen to your fears. You will surround yourself with petty, confused, or destructive people. You will forget about me.

What would you recommend that we do about that?

Read over this interview. Everyone, particularly children, would do well to consult their own personal version of me. Work on the practical application of my presence in your daily life. Enfranchise your internal society.  Good self-governance leads to good national governance.

If this experience were a wake-up call from the inner compass of humanity, what might it be saying?

There exists within all men a very powerful, effective, and useful emerging potential personified by Thomas Jefferson. His example can inspire us to do great deeds and to act with courage and virtue, in our own small ways, in our own limited spheres of influence, today.

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