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American Psychosis - An analysis of the American culture.

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posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 04:32 PM

Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. We believe, after all, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Those who lose deserve to be erased. Those who fail, those who are deemed ugly, ignorant or poor, should be belittled and mocked. Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, the prisons and the soup kitchens.

We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous. Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. It is this perverted ethic that gave us investment houses like Goldman Sachs … that willfully trashed the global economy and stole money from tens of millions of small shareholders who had bought stock in these corporations for retirement or college. The heads of these corporations, like the winners on a reality television program who lied and manipulated others to succeed, walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and compensation. The ethic of Wall Street is the ethic of celebrity. It is fused into one bizarre, perverted belief system and it has banished the possibility of the country returning to a reality-based world or avoiding internal collapse. A society that cannot distinguish reality from illusion dies.

America is sinking under trillions in debt it can never repay and stays afloat by frantically selling about $2 billion in Treasury bonds a day to the Chinese. It saw 2.8 million people lose their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8,000 people a day – and stands idle as they are joined by another 2.4 million people this year. It refuses to prosecute the Bush administration for obvious war crimes, including the use of torture, and sees no reason to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus. Its infrastructure is crumbling. Deficits are pushing individual states to bankruptcy and forcing the closure of everything from schools to parks. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have squandered trillions of dollars, appear endless. There are 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of Americans in a category called “near poverty.” One in eight Americans – and one in four children – depend on food stamps to eat. And yet, in the midst of it all, we continue to be a country consumed by happy talk and happy thoughts. We continue to embrace the illusion of inevitable progress, personal success and rising prosperity. Reality is not considered an impediment to desire.

When a culture lives within an illusion it perpetuates a state of permanent infantilism or childishness. As the gap widens between the illusion and reality, as we suddenly grasp that it is our home being foreclosed or our job that is not coming back, we react like children. We scream and yell for a savior, someone who promises us revenge, moral renewal and new glory. It is not a new story. A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually, emotionally and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans and will usher America into a new dark age. It was the economic collapse in Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in Tsarist Russia that opened the door for Lenin and the Bolsheviks. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to loudmouth talk show hosts, whom we naïvely dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal. And as in all totalitarian societies, those who do not pay fealty to the illusions imposed by the state become the outcasts, the persecuted.

There is more of this analysis here.

I copied and pasted bits and pieces of the analysis that where better than others.

There isn't much more that I can add than saying that this is one of the best pieces of analysis I have read of America.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 05:02 PM
Most threads pointing a finger at the U.S. invariably make me roll my eyes, do a facepalm or make me angry because of their obvious agenda-driven posters.

As to this, all I can say is sad, but true... s & f

The only thing I would add is that IMO, not all Americans are as cutthroat, self-absorbed or as cult-of-entitlement as the first two paragraphs suggest. Unfortunately, their voices are drowned out by The Jersey Shore.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by Legion2112]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 05:29 PM
Here is the opening paragraph to the article you linked:

The United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or John Edwards, enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class.

Before addressing this article, and beginning with the first paragraph, I feel compelled to point out that while reading this article, on a hunch, I Googled the authors name, Chris Hedges along with the key words "the myth of", and lo and behold the first link provides an article titled; War: Realities and Myths. The importance of this lies in my own analysis of this authors "analysis", which is truly just an opinion piece by a Pulitzer award winning journalist, masquerading as academic analysis.

Of all the insidious cultural memes main stream journalists have placed into American culture, the redefining of the word myth is on the top of the list of the most dubious memes relied upon by these so called "journalists". The word is constantly used in American culture to denote a lie or falsehood, instead of how the word has been used since time immemorial, which is to describe tales of either creations or origins, and more importantly tells tales of the hero's journey. Regardless of any factual nature or historical accounts that may be lacking in mythology, the historical facts of these accounts have always been less important than the lessons they offer.

However, today in American culture, myth has become so synonymous with falsehood, that the hero's journey, by default, becomes just another falsehood in American culture. Yet the hero's journey has always been a tale of instruction in how we should aspire to act, and we should avoid hubris in order to be victorious in our endeavors to achieve the greater good. Yet, in today's American culture, instead of admiring tales of heroic actions made in the service of humanity, Americans ascribe the word hero to sports figures and celebrities, and do so with the willing encouragement of these so called "journalists" who cover their antics ad hominem.

So, when Hedges laments how Americans "intellectual energy (is spent) on the trivial and the absurd", and are "captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble", there is a hypocritical smugness to this Pulitzer Prize winning "journalist", as if he is above that which he complains about, but in truth, rather than being above this disconcerting reality, he is smack dab in the middle of it willingly contributing to the crumbling of the walls, and where mythology has consistently extolled what Hedges calls "The virtues that sustain a nation-state and build community, from honesty to self-sacrifice to transparency to sharing", he himself will use the word myth to reinforce the notion that myths are falsehoods, either ignorant of his own contribution to our cultural demise, or worse, actively engaging in bringing about that end.

Even more tellingly, in an article about Hedges as a war correspondent, another "journalist" Bethany Saltman of the Sun Magazine gives this historical account of Hedges childhood:

As a boy, instead of reading comic books or The Hobbit, Hedges immersed himself in works about the Spanish Civil War and dreamed of fighting the fascists like his hero George Orwell.

Does it really come as any surprise that Hedges, who uses the word myth to declare a falsehood, not only eschewed comic books and other mythological tales of heroic deeds in favor of books on war, and when it was fiction it was Orwellian tales where the hero never wins, and the forces of evil do? Of course, Hedges is a war correspondent, as he worshiped this act of war as a child, and now he is merely projecting while he, as he would put it; " rubes stupid enough to cling to this antiquated behavior..." the American culture. Never mind the fact that comic books are very much a part of that culture, and indeed, comic books are modern day tales of mythological hero's, and never mind the fact that Hollywood does best both financially, and often critically, when focusing on the hero's journey, Hedges is obsessed, much like most main stream "journalists" are, with reality television. As if the talking heads of broadcast news are not the prototype to "reality television".

Where Hedges laments; "Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us", it should not be lost on anyone that he himself is permitting humiliation of Americans in his blatant ridicule of them, while making sure, at the end of the article to exalt himself and point out he is a Pulitzer Prize winning "journalist". A writer who has profited greatly off of war, and now wishes to blame his own profits on the American culture. It's not Hedges fault that he grew up wanting to join wars to "fight the fascists", this is American cultures fault, and he is just a victim, not of his own hubris of course, but of a culture...the culture he ridicules.

When pointing to the entertainment choices aired on broadcast television, he omits the serious and well made dramas and comedies that have nothing to do with inanity and would have us pretend that the only entertainment options available are "reality television". In fairness to Hedges, where he is clearly relying upon his craft to sell his personal bias, I am not doing anything different myself with this post, and the best I can hope to offer is some sort of balance, where perhaps, along with other members, a bigger picture revealing a greater truth about American culture can be found.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 05:46 PM
This is an interesting take on things. I had to sit and think about it for a moment. There is a great deal of truth to what is said here. He is my analysis of the same subject.

There are two aspects of America as a nation and culture. First is the Advertisement or Legend, the second is the Product or Action.

The Advertisement and Legend IS America. It is the idea created by the founders. Like rights, this idea is not a tangible item but simply a concept, a philosophy. It is what should be strived for, and the rally point when things go wrong or new situation are encountered.

The Product or Action is all the self-centered, shallow, dehumanizing trivial acts taken. These however, are not a product of or isolated to the USA. These are found everywhere on the planet, and throughout history. These may be more noticeable and concentrated in America no due to technology and marketing, but also because people from around the world have come to the USA because it provides opportunity. Not that to be self-centered, shallow, dehumanizing and trivial is the reason, but it happens because it can happen.

This is all an aspect of society or human civilization as a whole having to evolve, not physically, but philosophically and at an individual level. It is basically about realizing the responsibility having freedom represents, and being responsible for exercising it. The freedom provided for by the IDEA of America is what has brought humanity to this critical juncture in cultural evolution. It is really an exciting thing to be able to witness. We will either progress to a new level of prosperity and growth on a global scale, or lose everything and return to more brutal and primitive times. Seeing things as they are, I worry we are likely on the later, more destructive path.

edit: I wanted to clarify something. I do not think America is all "self-centered, shallow, dehumanizing trivial acts." On the contrary, I think as a whole, America may be responsible for doing the most good in the world. I do see that is is growing farther and farther away from the idea, which is not good for America or the world.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by Wolf321]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 07:03 PM

Originally posted by Phlynx
.A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to loudmouth talk show hosts, whom we naïvely dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal.

Anyone else think of Sarah Palin besides me? Revenge and moral renewal would be the tea-party, and we all know she is highly religious.

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 07:43 AM
What a load of crap. Human beings suck. They suck in Europe. They suck all over the Middle East. They suck in Canada. And yes, even in the good ol' U.S. of A., they suck. People need to quit scapegoating America just because they have some sort of inferiority complex about their own country. Deal with it. Your country sucks too.

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 08:07 AM
Interesting. Everybody knows there are two sides to every story.

But not this story, nope.

Propaganda: If I want to prove that all dogs are mean, I will write only about mean dogs.

Please don't ever again write and/or point the finger at propagandists.

You're very accomplished at the basics.

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 08:20 AM
Wolf321 said:

On the contrary, I think as a whole, America may be responsible for doing the most good in the world

A few weeks ago for some reason I had Mother Theresa on my mind.
I started this frenzy of research on her, staying up to the wee hours.
She was really a very eccentric woman, her religiosity was way "out there" at times, but I found her fascinating. She was actually a "little crazy", by most our standards.

I discovered an interview with her old secretary, who granted an interview to a non-American, shortly after her death. She admitted to some of Mother Theresa's imperfections, including how tight she was with money, and how most of the money that had been sent to her to help the children and the sick, was still in the bank accounts upon her death. Millions of dollars.

The interviewer asked:

"Well then, WHO fed all the starving children for all these years?"

Her answer:

"The Americans".

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 04:22 PM
No, i think there is an obvious difference in cultures, and american culture is bleak, where success is only measured by how much money you have, and what kind of job you have. Other cultures have social and spiritual systems set up to cultivate maturity and wisdom, and to some degree those virtues still exist and are extolled in those societies. In the US those virtues, along with compassion, and humanity, are nearly nonexistant, leading to the greediest among us being the rulers in congress and the white house, leading to women being totally fixated on their bodies and unable to accept aging, leading to children, actually seeing those virtues as weakness, and idolizing rappers and athletes who actually stylize themselves in the polar opposites of these virtues.

In other countries there are still family values, where families (extended) stay together, live in a neighborhood with one another, and help out through thick and thin. Largely in the US now, families move away, so that they can find greater cash flow, which is obviously more important to them than family ties. In other countries, the poor are helped up, with social safety nets that truly help the downtrodden not slip through the cracks, and get on their feet, through social healthcare and education. In the US the poor are given just enough to subsist, not to ever break out of their situation, and now we are lagging behind much of western europe for social mobility, when originally we were the ones who CREATED social mobility! Ok, so thats hyperbole, but you get the point.

Summary, in the US, largely, values have been destroyed. Spirituality has been destroyed. Greed is extolled as the only measurable virtue. And children are forced to watch barney and the wiggles. All sad and horrible.

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 05:05 PM
reply to post by pexx421

Spirituality has been destroyed.

If spirituality has been destroyed then why are self-help books and books on spirituality always on the best-seller lists?

posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 06:01 PM
Talk about stereotyping.....
You cant take one group....a group , I might add, who goes out of their way to grace the papers and media, and say this is how ALL Americans are.
Is this coming from the same people who claim ALL Americans are rich, fat and greedy, but somehow still live in trailer parks???

Wake UP! America is the great melting pot. We ARE the world. We have every race, religion, and culture HERE...not because we MADE them come, because they couldn't get out of the place they were at fast enough!
Otherwise, there would be nothing but Indians here.
Just like with religion...we have the ones who talk the talk, and those who actually walk the walk.
We have some of the most generous, caring people here, and some of the greediest, selfish pigs you could meet as well.
We have people who only care about money, and those who care nothing about money.
Gay, straight, religious, atheists, good women, whores, good husbands, and lieing, cheating wife beating jerks......each with a point of view to rationalize their actions..just like everyone else.
And, every country has their good and bad as well.

It must be nice to be able to spew hatred as you please. I live in a land of freedom, and we arent ( politically) allowed to hate anyone.
They say we have freedom of speech, but it will get you banned, jailed, fined, or whatever else they can do.

I believe in a GOD that gave us FREE WILL. I look at it like a credit card...spend now, pay later. Payment is just about due....good luck with that.

posted on Jun, 26 2010 @ 09:39 PM
Yes, its true. We do have all those people. But none of them are represented in congress. They have no organization to promote themselves or their way.

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 09:57 AM
reply to post by pexx421

Can't argue with you there. It's a politico-economic culture and everything else is secondary.

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by Phlynx

Flagrant self-exaltation is the nature of all living things.

Everything the author bleats against American culture, properly considered, is merely an indictment of human nature overall, wherever humans are found.

He does but slightly know himself, too.

Wouldn't it be charming if those who make a (tedious, repetitive, predictable, whiny) career of preaching against human nature would actually practice their revealed platitudes and cease to exist? That's too much to expect, but maybe they could acquire enough anti-human self-doubt to shut up...some people are too good to live, but not too good to tell us all about it...To each his own, as always.

But the "analysis" is just lame conventional moralistic puke, I would be ashamed to utter it.

[edit on 27-6-2010 by nine-eyed-eel]

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 11:10 AM
Very true. Because "the people" have never been represented by congress.
THEIR people, yes, but not "THE" people.
The fact is, the very people this post was written about are the same people everyone HERE hates as well.

In MY way of thinking, the school system should be changed dramatically.
First, instead of actors, actresses and sports figures pulling in the cash, it should be the TEACHERS. THEY should be our heros, but only if deemed worthy.
Perhaps paid on a commission, according to what they produce?
And, what they learn and WHEN they learn it needs to be changed as well.
I also think it would be nice, if 10 minutes of each class/recess, etc. could be videoed , and we could send these back and forth to other countries.
I would be good for all of the children of other countries could see each other learning and playing for 30 minutes every day.
They would learn, as children, what our differences and similarities are, and learn to respect each other as human beings.

Because, lets face it. We ALL need to by-pass the propaganda of the media and governments, and see that we are just people.
If all you see of this country is a McDonalds on every corner, it is easy to assume I eat there....I do not. ( I prefer Burger King..but not daily)

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 11:12 AM

Originally posted by AProphet1233
reply to post by pexx421

Spirituality has been destroyed.

If spirituality has been destroyed then why are self-help books and books on spirituality always on the best-seller lists?

Obviously, because we're a nation of self-absorbed narcissists.

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 11:36 AM
One more thing, since I missed the post above my last one.

Human nature.
When we are born, our only desire is the protection we had in the womb, food, and not to be rotting in a dirty diaper.
And, we find, when we CRY, these needs are "usually" met.

As we grow, we desire to touch just about everything we see...and later to HAVE just about everything we see. This is most obvious by the ROCK collections my kids have brought into my house, rather than leaving them as they were.
As they grow, the crying stops working and the begging begins.

But, there is a season for everything, and it is the PARENTS job to teach their kids that they CAN"T have everything, and this life is not meant as a competition over who has the most "stuff".
This is where the parents have failed us. If they had done their job well, the media would lose their grip.

"Do as I say, not as I do", doesn't work on kids. For a very short time, you ARE their GOD. This time is best spent teaching them THROUGH EXAMPLE.
And, this is where we have failed out children.

They are not dolls to be put on a shelve until we have time for them.
Or, they will forever hunger for something to fill the void.
Just my opinion...

posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 12:54 PM
reply to post by unityemissions

It's more because the spiritual side of life can't be ignored entirely. So people find themselves eager to devour whatever mess is thrown on their plates.

posted on Jun, 28 2010 @ 12:47 PM
reply to post by Phlynx

American Psychosis - An analysis of the American culture.

"Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. We believe, after all, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Those who lose deserve to be erased. Those who fail, those who are deemed ugly, ignorant or poor, should be belittled and mocked. Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, the prisons and the soup kitchens."

Lol. This speaks for every single empire that has had dominance in the world since the beginning of time! Please don't give America ALL the credit!

Europe, Rome, Germany, PERSIA!!! Ancient Egypt, etc etc... I think we are the NICEST bad guys out there at the moment.!

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