Amerika

An (Alternative) American Dream

the_american_dream_is_escape

A South African philosophy lecturer some years ago mentioned a psychiatric book describing how dreams become reality. It reminded me of an experience where, after a long day of work, I dreamed of dancing with a muscular girl, and one week later found myself doing exactly that, without having known her a week prior.

For this reason, Gregory Hood’s book Waking Up From The American Dream revitalized interest in the idea that dreams affect our future. It is difficult to find a credible explanation of the “American dream” so I reverted to the original poem apparently inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal;

 

The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame.

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

The bit that caught my eye was this: “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”  It describes quite accurately the mindset difference between the “pomp” of the elites and the “huddled masses” where an open country as reflected by a woman (Mother Earth perhaps) invites the intrepid, but not the pompous. Clearly the dream was not only the venture, but also the escape (or “exit” in today’s language).

The escape has become the venture. That is the real American Dream: not to be constricted, but to be released. In fact, to be released into a world we can’t envisage from one that has become tedious and pointless. Hood wants us to realize not that the poetic version of the dream is wrong, but rather that it has become corrupted and now serves as the inversion of what it once meant.

The world is filled up in 2016, but people still require to be released because the pompous constrictor is still tightening its muscles. However, the “huddled masses” cannot escape to an empty New World, so they escape back to an “empty” Old World (same constrictor though).  The difference between the huddled masses then and now is civilization. The first huddle mass were barely civilized, while the second is entirely not. Also civilization has grown exponentially since the last mass “exodus” (pun intended). The new huddled masses are not intrepid and humble; they are dependent and arrogant because they think their superiority lies in their penises rather than brains. In fact, they don’t even know what property rights are, which means they are effectively uncivilized.  (Think how dangerous that is for rural town councils/cities in America).

However, civility requires that we should start a new pursuit (as opposed to the pursuit of happiness), perhaps called the “pursuit of civility” or “civilization.”  Since civilization is an unnatural state (it’s also unnatural for all humans to be civil with all other humans due to stress factors alone), humans should make haste in pursuing their “organizational” happiness and not just their own individual (selfish) happiness. They should not dream about being pompous heroes, they should dream of civilization and its enemies. Heroes are those epitomizing the upward spiral while enemies are those causing the downward spiral. The pursuit of happiness necessarily extends beyond the self.

Returning to the above –- “to be released into a world we can’t envisage” — may I point out that the part of “released into a world” is actually wrong? It should rather be “released into a civilization”. The second part of “we can’t envisage” will then indicate a desire to improve civilization, being the opportunity we can’t envisage (yet).

This unknown visualization of reality will ignite our minds to create solutions emerging as dreams that may just one day come true in a natural world. While it is natural to dream, it is incumbent on humans to keep it as natural as possible too. We can’t therefor dream of an unnatural liberalized politics-of-fear diverse world, because we already have that.

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