You Will Have A Better Love and Life Beyond
The Industrial Culture and Automaton Populace of America
the European perspective of
I’ve written this essay to help others, especially Americans, understand how most Europeans view
A culture of hype and consumerism
In the old days,
American culture has little
or nothing to do with reality and substance. Instead, everything
up beyond substance or reality for commercial purposes. The
This is exemplified
everywhere in advertisements, commercials, billboards, strip malls,
etc. We are programmed to think that being able to
buy things leads
to happiness and fulfillment. And in fact, in most of
It's no wonder that my Greek college buddy used to always say to me that, "Americans have no inner life. All they do is consume, consume."
Excess consumption=excess production=excess work
The problem with the American lifestyle is that people consume more than they need to and they work more than they need to. They both go hand-in-hand. Excess consumption means excess production, which in turn leads to more work and jobs to be done. Plus, if you consume a lot, then you have to work more to make enough money to keep up that lifestyle. The thing is though, that neither are really necessary. We are simply programmed to think it's necessary and act on it.
To see an obvious example of excess consumption in America, go to a typical home and look in the garage or basement, and notice the excess of things stored there that are never used, making moving a total pain in the ass. As ancient wisdom goes, too much of anything is never any good.
Though excess consumption is supposed to lead to happiness and fulfillment, for many it doesn't, so they are left confused as to why they feel empty and flat when they should be happy for being allowed to consume to their heart's content. Hence they wonder "What is wrong with me?" rather than see a problem in the whole hyped consumerist system which they've been programmed to think as the perfect epitome of life. And of course, our system's train of thought is that anyone who doesn't fit into it or find fulfillment in it is "the problem" rather than the system itself.
Some counter culture authors
postulated that there is enough productivity in this country for
work only 3-4 hours a day, yet maintain the same lifestyle. But the reason we don't is that the powers
that rule production and resources in this country do not wish us to,
everyone had that much more free time, they'd start to think on their
organize grass root movements in their own interest, and upturn the
quo. In other words, they know that a
revolution of the people would be much more likely if everyone had that
more free time. So, they prefer you to
always work at least 8 hours a day so that you'll be so tired at the
end of the
day, that all you can do is lounge off on TV the rest of the night,
passive observer rather than a participant.
That's how the ruling class in
Stagnation of mind and soul in a culture of assimilation
The problem with mainstream
In daily American life, not much happens to you personally. Time just passes and life is wasted in mind-numbing mechanistic routines of work and hype-driven consumerism to perpetuate the stability and expansion of the industrial forces that dominate the country. These forces also seek to control the rest of the world, often overthrowing foreign governments and regimes due to corporate greed. Let's elaborate on some of the factors at work.
Although America tries to pretend to be a multi-cultural melting pot of diversity to appease its many ethnic groups, in reality it is a culture of assimilation with no real culture left (notwithstanding a few cities, e.g. New York, San Francisco, New Orleans), at least not by the standards of the rest of the world. Instead, it's basically a giant "industrial machine" of mass production and consumption, seeking to dominate the world and make all in its path serve its interests.
Even foreign immigrants who come here lose their culture, as they become immersed and "assimilated" into the gigantic industrial culture of modern day
Regulating self-expression in an automaton society
Those with a strong need for creative self-expression often feel suffocated in corporate
What most Americans don't know and don't realize is that the industrial corporate forces that control everything in the country, NEED them to be automatons, without self-expression or critical "out of the box" thinking, and therefore set up the conditions to make and keep them that way so the industrial structure of this country can prosper and stabilize. To maintain the status quo, free expression needs to be squelched to keep the lives of the populace as automaton-like as possible. Since
Most Americans don't realize this because they've never stepped outside of it like I and others have, so they think that it's "the universe" and nothing else is outside of it. But as in the "Cave Analogy" by Plato, some do escape the shadows on the cave wall and step out to see the light, but of course, the national media, owned and funded by corporate industrial interests, never give them an outlet to present their viewpoints.
One way corporate
To quell the human need for self-expression and provide an outlet for it, the American population gets to see actors, entertainers, and athletes express themselves in movies, television, and professional sports. These forms of entertainment allow the automaton populace to have a canned, controlled, form of expression. In effect, the automatons who spend the day as slaves to corporate
And as for youngsters, they are given a wide barrage of extremely elaborate interactive aggressive violent video games to allow them to vent their energies (aggression for males) in yet another form of senseless entertainment that provides more distraction from critical thinking or community development.
What this does is turn the population into passive observers (as globally acclaimed author and critic of US media, Noam Chomsky, has noted in his publications). Instead of critically thinking about their lives and society, being aware of what's going on, their attention and energy is vented through outlets such as the above, which serve no threat to the hierarchical power structure of this country, diffusing any possibility of revolution.
(See an index of articles about corporate power and New World Order here http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/Articles.html or listen to Alex Jones or David Icke on YouTube)
In addition, the American population is bombarded relentlessly by daily mass advertising in many forms, turning them into zombies whose only inclination is deciding what to buy next. All of this is done to keep the automatons in line to buy what is produced as much as possible, resulting in overconsumption far beyond necessity.
Our mainstream media has almost no diversity in viewpoint. The closest they come is picking out issues they consider important (but rarely have anything to do with our personal lives), and presenting the pro and con sides of them. They never present any counter-culture, intellectual, free-thinking, or “out of the box” (and in this case, the box is very narrow and tight) views, dissertations, or opinions. Though a proportion of the American populace has such views, discussing them in personal communications/conversations, the public media invalidates such them and denies their existence by never presenting them nor giving their advocates a say on the air.
Instead, our corporate network media wants us to believe that only views that strictly conform to the industrial culture exist, and that anything outside that tight box is inappropriate, weird, or even creepy. They assume that everyone watching is a workaholic, lives for consumption, and has a rat race mentality. That's the vibe they give, and it's very anti-intellectual. Anything intellectual or "out of the box" of their propaganda is ignored in the network media's universe. Hence, they help condition the American populace to be brain-dead conformists with the illusion that they are unique individuals.
Michael Goodspeed, a good friend of mine, made eloquent points about this in his article My Brain Is Not Silly Putty:
“I repeat, powerful
people want to mold
your mind to fit their self-serving interests. They are salesmen, you
the products they are selling are ignorance and egotism. Useless
such as gratuitously violent films, video, and professional sports
The corporate "bottom-liners" who own the media have a VESTED INTEREST in creating collective and individual mental illness. The more contracted and disturbed your mind is, the more product they are going to sell. Just as it's easier to mass-produce junk food than to nurture and grow organic health food, it is easier to sell ignorance and egotism than truth and beauty.”
Segregating and dividing the populace to prevent revolution
Another way to maintain the power structure, keep people as automatons, and prevent any form of revolution is by segregating, dividing and isolating the population. Those in power in this country know that for real change to occur, it would require mass grass roots movements from large segments of the population. In order to diffuse that possibility, they divide and segregate the population in a variety of ways to prevent collective bonding that would pose as a threat. Scholar and
The following are
just a few
examples: Mainstream people in the suburbs are isolated in their homes,
in their own world. Neighborhoods lack any real sense of community or
togetherness; many live for years in their homes without ever getting
their neighbors. Life in
In fact, I would say
out of all the countries I've been in,
In most parts of the
(not just according to my experiences, but those of many others as
can just walk in out of nowhere a total unknown, yet meet a lot of
dates, and have fun. But not so in the
In the states, to have a "life", you have to be part of the "in crowd" or else you're nothing. And if you're not attractive or desirable by the cultural standards here, then you'll never fit into the "in crowd" anyway, which is extremely limiting.
In contrast, the social scene in
All of these unnatural conditions cause some in the
Lack of curiosity and interest in the outside world
The above, in part, is why Americans are known around the world as the most ignorant of global geography (amazingly many can't even find their own country on a global map, or their own state on a national map). And most Americans don't even know who the leaders of their neighboring countries,
The preservation and perpetuation of these national industrial structures and systems, contributes to
Some of course, are happy and thrive in this kind of system. However, for free-spirited, open-minded people who are seeking to expand their mind and souls, the industrial culture and systems of America conflict with their inclinations and suffocate the very essence of who they are. This is one reason, I think, why "freespirits" (alternative crowds, bohemian artists, hippies, intellectuals with counter-culture views, etc.) in
What's not taken into account though, is that ancient wisdom has taught us that extremism in any form is never a good thing. The ancient Greek and Chinese sayings of "everything in moderation", as well as the Chinese principle symbol of Yin Yang, which requires opposite forces to be balanced and unified in order to achieve harmony, indicate that such an extreme capitalistic system as ours would result in unhealthy imbalances of sorts. Perhaps that's why we have the highest rates of insanity, obesity, etc. in the world among industrial nations.
not able to view life in their country from the viewpoint I espouse
above, those who are well traveled or
have integrated themselves
into several foreign cultures, are better able to relate to the
"wavelength" I'm coming from in this essay. The reason for
is what most never thought of. When you are out of
The above factors explain, in part, why most Europeans despise and are critical of
While the average
American centers his life around career
status and the accumulation of wealth to retire as soon as
average European centers his life around cultivating mind, body, and
soul. Though the
European lifestyle is not always
as luxurious as Americans, it nevertheless is richer in soul and
allowing much more freedom of expression and expansion of mind and soul. As they say in
And so folks, these
help explain why I spend so much time abroad. It's
just too easy to
go insane in
Even among Americans are a growing number of people who can see this, as this man rants:
as anyone who has ever been to
"The American Dream is far too centered on personal material advancement and too little concerned with the broader human welfare to be relevant in a world of increasing risk, diversity, and interdependence. It is an old dream, immersed in a frontier mentality, that has long since become passé. While the American Spirit is tiring and languishing in the past, a new European Dream is being born. It is a dream far better suited to the next stage in the human journey - one that promises to bring humanity to a global consciousness befitting an increasingly interconnected and globalizing society.
The European Dream emphasizes community relationships over individual autonomy, cultural diversity over assimilation, quality of life over the accumulation of wealth, sustainable development over unlimited material growth, deep play over unrelenting toil, universal human rights and the rights of nature over property rights, and global cooperation over the unilateral exercise of power."
Discuss this article here: http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6759
- “Dear Winston:
I have never responded to a blog before or whatever they are called. I found your essay about american consumerism on planet essay and was inspired to write to you.
As I read your essay I felt like you were
story, except that I am a 40 year old female living in
Do you have any advice?”
(My response: Not really, unfortunately. You just have to find every opportunity you can to do what you love and try to maintain a healthy balance between your other priorities, as well as a workable compromise. In the meantime, you can try to live vicariously through people like me :))
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