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The American Dream – Have We Been Fooled?

April 24, 2009

americandreamHave we been fooled by false promises?  The American Dream, in the modern world, seems like a hoax, a greed-based power drive that caters to the basest animal instincts within us – the selfish, competitive and “every man for himself” part.  I know that it sounds harsh, but we have to call it what it is, and question the system as well as ourselves.  Yes, I agree with Adam Smith that our humans are by nature motivated by self-interest; however, what they missed is that this is only one of many parts of our nature.  Each of us has another part – let’s call that our Essence or Spirit – that has little to no sense of such boundaries, and that recognizes the “All in One, One in All” principle.  The United States, for quite some time now, has been heavily weighted towards the self-interest part – this is capitalism at its worst, or perhaps what capitalism is all about.  I’m less concerned with what we call it or to rehash the arguments of capitalism vs. socialism, and would rather focus on what the effects are on individuals living and seeking happiness within the system.  Although I cannot vouch for it yet, there is a book that seems to intelligently address this topic – Is The American Dream Killing You? (by Paul Stiles)

What we have witnessed over the past several years, in terms of the collapse of a fraudulent economic system, corruption across the board – politics, business, media, etc. – and an unjustifiable war in Iraq, is disheartening for many Americans, including myself, who want to believe that our country represents something noble.  Of course, the U.S. has many positive qualities and is a pioneer in so many areas.  However, our ego has swelled, to the point where we have committed crimes while acting as if we are above the law.  For “We the People”, this is like the trauma of a young adult coming to grips with the fact that their childhood heroes – their parents – are human, and in fact, have not been good parents at all.  As “children” of a nation, we are opening our eyes to the reality that we have been in an abusive relationship and one which is not so easy to escape or heal from, especially because many of us have facilitated the wrong doings of our parent/country.  And remember, there are always two sides to an abusive relationship.

Consumers is what they want us to be.  Remember when George W. Bush asked citizens to go out and shop after 9/11?  I hate to sound negative here or to sound “unpatriotic” because I have faith that we can turn things around.  I’m just telling the truth, and trying to work towards solutions, which similar to the individual growth process, starts with honest self-reflection.  What does it say about us that we measure our country’s “health” by how much we consume, while our kids continue to get more obese and also fall behind the world’s education standards?  We must seek and push for greater transparency, in everything we participate in, from products we buy to taxes we pay to where we live.  I support what Barack Obama has done during his First 100 Days to restore some dignity to America.  Leadership, at all levels, is needed, down to the level of families, communities and your own Self.  Do you have order within?  Are you energy independent?  We’re not talking about oil here – I am talking about the subtle energy by which you run your life.

I challenge you to consume less – less food, less gas, less of everything.  Try to rely less on government systems.  See what is it like to be a minimalist, not only because we are in a crisis, but it is a respectful right way to live, in harmony with nature and with respect for its resources.  Do not confuse this with the pursuit of abundance, which can be achieved Spiritually, once we de-program our brains of the incessant messaging that has convinced us that we need more of everything to be alright.  Watch how the powerful media black hole pulls you into the feeling that you don’t have enough, that you need and deserve more, and that those with more money are better than you.  “Our religion is money in America” – remember the accountant that I told you about, who said that?  He said it with pride.  Well, if that’s the case, then the current state of affairs gives new meaning to the REM song “Losing my Religion”.  It is time for us all to look in the mirror and acknowledge our part in the hysteria and delusion, the perversion and dysfunction of “The American Dream”.

That all said, what do we do now?

  1. I would suggest that you focus on your own karma – this is something that you have control over, no matter what is happening in society at large.  Don’t despair.  Everyone has what’s coming to them.  If you do the right things and continue to live a simple, truthful life, you will be alright.
  2. Make conscious, informed decisions, from what products you buy, to where you send your kids to school, to where you live, to whom you support politically, to what you do for a living.  In short, be a proactive citizen.
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