Dreams are full of strange happenings and illusive figures reflecting some of the life of the dreamer. Dreams are cloaked in mystery, a puzzle we assemble on waking in ways that makes sense, but still, there are messages within messages using metaphors and mythological symbols.
Unfortunately, the American Dream is not that mysterious or puzzling. It’s very defined, very obvious: wealth, status, health, religion; the nice house and automobiles; the money and time to travel, leisure time; washing the car in the driveway on Sunday afternoon; playing golf with friends and drinking a few beers out on the links; healthcare that has not yet wiped us out financially and has even provided some amount of preemptive health benefits; good credit rating; eating out often; nice clothing, a pillar in our own community and in our own minds. “Freedom” is part of this dream, but we aren’t exactly free. Free to pay taxes that deepen our slavery to an all powerful financial system based on scarcity. There’s enough to go around but someone isn’t sharing. The American Dream chews up 40% of the world’s resources.
The American dream is unsustainable. It’s based on the “bottom line”, or “What’s in it for me.” The dream is self-serving, advising us to surround ourselves with all this stuff so we will be safe, secure and happy. Security is important to the ego, but really, the bottom line is always about money or what money can buy. An enlightened society would probably have people as the bottom line and making sure that all were served.
The American Dream should be based on the amount of success you could expect to achieve, considering your individual circumstance. “In America, you can become President if you try hard enough” is some statement of delusion that is often used to promote America as the land of opportunity. We also hear that the world is our “oyster” but not if we can’t afford it. Not if we live in a wheelchair, not if we’re homeless. The America Dream does not include the homeless. We’d rather pretend that everyone has all they need and if they don’t, they should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed, but that’s not always the case and besides, what if some of us do need a little help? Are we going to deny them that because we think they should do it on their own, just because maybe we were lucky enough to do it on our own? And didn’t we get some help somewhere down the line ourselves?
No doubt, we all have individual talents and different life scenarios that make us who we are, like what families we are born into and what our financial and psychological status is. We’ve built belief systems from scraps of experience and limited information, yet we hold those beliefs to our hearts like a child holding a Teddy Bear, and we’ll even die for them, these things we’ve loosely tied together from our limited points of view and questionable sources of information.
“All men are created equal,” depends on what you mean by “equal.” Our forefathers, bless their hearts as we say here in the South, were not a very compassionate bunch. “Equal” for them did not include, Native Americans, slaves, women, indentured servants or anyone else who did not own land and they even prescribed to slavery.
I’m beating around the bush of this American Dream, not able to decide if I want to go deeper into the dream or try to wake myself up from this stupor of materialistic fog that seems to have hold of so many of us. “You have to climb, the ladder to success” we’re told. It makes it sound like we can’t be successful right now, right here, with what we’re doing. We’re going to have to go somewhere else to find it; “up,” we have to go “up” just like we have to go “up” to heaven. Going to heaven, whatever or wherever that is, is part of the American Dream. “I’m going to go to heaven when I die,” is something we fill our minds with, wondering whether there has been a place set aside for us in heaven, but the details of heaven are certainly fuzzy.
The American Dream is filled with nightmares of the temporal difficulties of our creature existence while Infinity is breathing down our necks. We don’t recognize Infinity because religiosity has befuddled our minds to the point that we now believe that we know how God thinks.
The American Dream also incorporates American imperialism and as long as we don’t personally have to do the killing, because we have psychopathic professionals for that, we can condone war and look the other way because that is the American Way. Maybe if we didn’t make so many enemies, we wouldn’t need a huge military presence in the world. But war is a big part of the American Dream. It’s in our history and promoted daily with flag waving and talk of heroes. Sometimes standing down is heroic, but the continual brainwashing of young kids helps feed the war machine, the monster that eats up half of our tax dollars and has turned into a maelstrom of a shell game.
We are still very comfortable and there seems to be no need to protest because we have a government “of and by the people.” This is a cleptocracy of elite individuals, out to get whatever they can and running roughshod over whoever stands in their way. That’s part of the American Nightmare, the leadership that has led us down a road of world domination, destruction of our moral code and financial ruin, while our infrastructure crumbles.
It’s not only the infrastructure that’s crumbling but the American Dream is crumbling. We’re starting to realize that all our years of supporting dictators and then turning on them; crushing democratic movements; nuking up to prove domination; and just spreading bottom-line capitalism as far as there are Coca-Cola distributors, has worn away at the fabric of America, causing the “dream” to become unstable, illusive and misguided. Our once comfortable American Dream has become a nightmare that won’t let us rest so we’re addicted to sleeping pills and mood enhancing drugs and all the while becoming victim to the number one disease on the planet: depression, and we have it really good compared to the rest of the world.
The American Dream should be as personal as a toothbrush, something that is identifiably of our own making. It should come from within not from without. That’s the secret of success. It’s really success on our own terms with what we have to work with. We’re always limited by what we have to work with but, within that framework, we have free will and that should be the cornerstone of the American Dream. Freedom is not just part of the American Dream, it’s the dream and right of everyone in the world.
Note from the Author: “If you like what you’ve been reading, please register as a subscriber.”
“Please comment on what you have read. Sitting in front of a computer dabbling in the infinite universe of thought, gets kind of lonely sometimes and I would love any kind of response.”