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Andrade, Victor

  • Victor Andrade, Bolivian Ambassador to the United States, describes how he explained the concept of electricity to his son, and states his beliefs that the soul, like electricity, is an unseen force; that a moral order exists; that happiness must be based on immaterial, rather than material, means; and that all individuals are equal. Audio also contains advertisement for "This I Believe" book.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Victor Andrade is the Bolivian ambassador to the United States. A lawyer, a teacher, and an army officer, he was elected to the Bolivian Parliament in 1940 and was Minister of Foreign Affairs and ambassador in 1944. A revolution overthew his government and while in exile, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York. When an election returned his party to power, he again became ambassador. Here now are the personal beliefs of Ambassador Victor Andrade.
When my son Mario was at the age when youngsters are a fountain of questions, he began one of his inquisitorial series, this time on the nature of electricity. He asked, and I did my best to explain, why one notices no change in wires when they are connected to the outlet, where the electricity comes from, and then what is the source of energy. My answers in technical matters would never be distinguished by profundity, but I told him of dynamos, transforming the energy of fuels or waterfalls into electricity, and of the unharnessed energy of our sun and the millions of suns in the universe. He finally asked, "And where have these millions of stars obtained their energy?"
"My son, for those of us who believe in God, it is He who is the fount of all life and all energy. That is precisely what distinguishes us from the materialists who believe that the manifestations of life are limited by the phenomena which can be understood by the senses." I believe in the existence of the soul, part of a universal spirit, which transitorily animates the body, just as electricity in the wires you noticed. And just as the disconnecting of the wires from the fount of electricity did not indicate termination of energy itself, so death is not the end of the life of the spirit but the restitution to the very fount of life. In other words, I believe in the Being Who surpasses the limitations of its physical envelopment.
Because of this, I believe in the existence of a moral order which comes from something more eternal than social conventions, customs, ambitions, and conveniences. That is the reason also for my belief in love, honesty, honor, goodness, and in human solidarity. I believe in these things and in justice because I believe in a Supreme Being.
I believe that happiness is rooted in the soul and in the subjective appreciation of the state of mind; therefore, it is false to seek that happiness in the satisfaction of appetite, ambitions, and sensual pleasures.
I believe also that it is wrong to judge the conduct and historic process of nations through a materialistic analysis, just as I judge it to be false to measure human values by the influence which power and force give. I believe that the control over instincts and the absence of fear are much more indicative of human superiority than is the possession of physical power.
I believe that the bonds between men, who associate in order to live in a community, go beyond the common economic interests which move them to defend their homes and possessions. I believe in the existence of ties based on religion, culture, and tradition. I believe that nations who have this faith are capable of enduring the sacrifices necessary in order to attain their ideals.
I believe in the equality of men, in this life and beyond. Because of this I am opposed to imperialism and to dictators. I do not believe that nations are chosen by God to redeem humanity nor direct it in this or that way. I believe that the search for individual and collective perfection is a common task which no single individual nor any one nation can attain with prefabricated ideals or molds of conduct.
Those were the personal beliefs of Ambassador Victor Andrade. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.