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Montag, 24. August 2020

Analyzing the American Dream


This analysis is also published on CNN host Michael Smerconish:

https://www.smerconish.com/news/2020/8/21/analyzing-the-american-dream

The American Dream is second to none, something extraordinary, an entity, an egregore, if you will, annually attracting millions of people to come to America, visit, travel and settle in the USA, "the envy of the world" for many.

As for unity the United States of America even outshines the European Union not having reached a similar state of unity yet. So far, all efforts to establish a European Dream have failed by political partisanship and tribalism of so many Europeans from different fatherlands insisting not to unify on a higher level collectively, after all separated by different mother tongues.

These foundations of unity fuel the American exceptionalism, the self-concept of America as "shining city upon a hill", as "land of the free", as "land of boundless opportunities", as country wherein everybody has a shot and enjoys less limits against the pursuit of happiness than anywhere else.

But is that so? For analyzing the American Dream we are to explore: Is the American Dream something for all, at least something for everyone willing to go the extra mile? Or is the American Dream something like a carrot dangling in front of the nose of the people while only reachable for a few elites rubbing it in everyone's face, how rich they are? So what's the American Dream's function? Is the American Dream still achievable for all, at least in principle? Was it ever so, given the original sin America was build on?

For, one thing is for certain: The American Dream is the cultural frame of the USA. In pluribus unum, the founding motto. Albeit formerly the American Dream was only reachable for the very few, at least most people's aspirations mounded in this very American Dream of personal development and establishing a better future for next generations. So in former times the American Dream was dreamed by the many, now by the few. What has changed?

Today, still many people wish to get ahead and to live the American Dream. But today's prospects of the many are bleak, even amplified by the pandemic, despite recent decades' democratization, emancipation and empowerment processes. What happened?

In today's information and knowledge society an evermore established and rigid America is observable, solidified if you will. As new frontiers have become scarce the American Dream is dreamed by the many no more, but increasingly and exclusively by the privileged few in a well-off bubble evermore reserved to less and less people. Perhaps it needed knowledge society for the many to realize not to have a shot at all in society, but a veritable probability to get shot.

However, the American Dream is quintessential for the USA to thrive, even more important than the system of checks and balances. It's worth repeating: The American Dream is the cultural frame of the USA. So, if the American Dream fails, the USA falls. Soon after the majority of the American people realize no longer being part of the American Dream, the US-Empire falls.

Yet, in the USA you can live your spiritual freedom, enshrined in the constitution alongside with freedom of speech. To me, that's the driver, the driving force for people worldwide to adore the USA secretly or openly. But what's the foundation of the American Dream?

Sure, it's the people's collective aspirations and affirmations building this country, but there is another drive for the American Dream. Having traveled to and having exchange with many tribes of the Native American Reservations, I conclude, there is another foundation for the American Dream - The Native Americans' concept of Shamanic Dreaming and Vision Work: A shared dream galvanizing one tribe, one nation, from which receiving collective understanding and thrive. Into this Native American "Dreamtime" the new arrivals to the USA merged with their genuine way ever since the Mayflower landed on the shores of New England.

How so? The mindset and spiritual Uberbau of the newcomers with all their aspirations for spiritual and religious freedom formed the nation and merged subconsciously with the practiced collective dreaming of the Native Americans. Though fleeing from persecution and oppression themselves, the newcomers treated the Native Americans similarly as what they fled from. Still in the mid-20th century the US-government repurposed the Sioux' most sacred land as Mount Rushmore Memorial to break Native Americans spiritually, who have been broken systematically in Boarding Schools while e.g. limiting Jewish students in higher education until 1970.

Notwithstanding her systemic racism and discrimination internally the USA has managed by hypnotic act to appear as beacon of freedom to many. Despite the US-government withholding the Native Americans from practicing their culture, that spiritual and religious freedom on the basis of the Native American vision quest drives the American Dream ever since. For that the USA with her practiced freedoms is a strong magnet, also for non-spiritual people mostly mistaking that it's personal freedom based on spiritual freedom being attracted by.

Nevertheless, except from spiritual and religious freedom, the USA isn't outstanding anymore, though still so many Americans - in their sense of patriotism - believe that the USA is the greatest country on Earth undisputedly.

Recent decades showed the USA in decline, no more being the role model of many countries, having developed the same standards as the USA. Some countries even surpassed the USA standard-wise, as for to security, public safety, access to education, equality etc.

So what happened to the American Dream? Especially in recent years the American Dream was stolen by thieves inside, by reckless American elites freed from moral obligations, therefore exploiting their own country and people as there was no tomorrow. 2020, here we are.
Historically, the exploitation of workforce has long tradition. Think of creating the American railway system or other critical infrastructure costing countless lives. Although only as side effect, these nation building developments served the whole country, interconnecting cities and states, ensuring a better future for next generations, giving prospects to the masses.

Now, Big Tech's efforts to interconnect people appear to benefit the whole country too. But eventually the wealth generated by that benefits is hoarded only by a tiny elite giving barely anything in return to their country. That's the dynamics whereby the masses impoverish and streets, rails and bridges are deteriorating, while reckless elites well-connected internationally don't feel accountable for their countries anymore, showing no interest to reinvest in their country. The moral shackles holding the elites back are off. The locally-driven community spirit of an "all hands on deck"-mentality gave way to today's systemic toxic degree of individualism of reckless elites and their "abandon ship!"-mentality, an exploitative and irresponsible "save-yourself-if-you-can!"-mindset.

So in contrast to former times, when sons and daughters had a higher income and better living standards than their parents, now in the reversed development of anti-social capitalism the people has increasingly individualized and thrown off moral obligations following their modeled immoral elites.

"Who needs morals anymore?!" - "Express yourself!" has been the implicit, often explicit maxim for long. Are immoral elites the price we pay for that propagated cultural maxim? The price is even higher: Parallel to the individualization process a decrease of economic prospects is observable along with an empire in decline, as if a giant was falling.

Despite their parents giving their everything to ensure a brighter tomorrow for their kids, less and less people can participate in the country's wealth, while experiencing social inequality and tensions looking into a darkening future for their kids.

The distribution of wealth towards other world regions isn't to blame. The West's genuine elites have proven to betray their own people, at least letting them down in every aspect, not only for the sake of enriching themselves as formerly, but showing no sense of local responsibility, patriotism or any interest in their own country or culture anymore.

An individualization process going wild has infected the elites, affected the whole country to an extent to think of oneself only, reminding of the days right before the French Revolution or of any other mighty empire falling with elites completely detached from their people. History is full of examples, where selfish elites have been toppled by their people feeling abandoned.

So, compared to former times, nowadays' elites individualize like hell, while not sharing  the common values with their people anymore, but worshiping the shareholder value only. Skyrocketing inflation is only a symptom of devaluation of all values in society.

The American Dream is about to die, as elites and their people don't dream the same dream anymore.

The world's once so active driving force, the world's Dream Machine is stuttering due to elites throwing a spinner in the works. The once so big American Dream is shrinking, as we speak, since elites exclusively spinning around themselves dream an ever smaller dream excluding evermore people from participating.

This Covid-19-Crisis is a resilience test for America and the world, how the dream will continue.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

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