Monday, June 11, 2012

american dream

'The term "American Dream" implies a paradigm of unlimited growth, insatiable consumerism, the continued expansion and plundering of our Commons, and the manufacturing of more and more stuff. There needs to be a new model of living based on having enough and sharing. Of course, there was a model of living based on having enough and sharing but we annihilated all those people.(Indigenous tribes, Native Americans ring a bell?)  
The American Dream suggests we take what we want, at any cost to other humans and ecosystems, in order to keep up with a lifestyle based on acquisition and wealth.  All the wars we hate so much, the ones about which so many of us are objecting to in various articles in here, they have a whole hell of a lot to do with keeping the American Dream alive. You really want that dream?
Many of the posters in here already know that countless scientists, authors and environmental educators have warned that the definition of the American Dream is what is decimating this planet. If all other developing countries wanted to emulate our lifestyles we'd need four more planet Earths. That's not a dream, that's a fucking nightmare come to life. 
The American Dream is synonymous with ecocide and genocide. I don't want that dream. Yet I don't know how one begins to penetrate what has amounted to years of systematic conditioning and brainwashing that "more is better". It's a monumental task of herculean proportion to change that identification. But one small way to begin might be to lose the term "American Dream". Nobody really wants that "dream" at all.'  
--Elizabeth Tjader

I came across the above statement in the comment section of an article about inequality.   I hope that Ms. Tjader doesn't mind my borrowing her quote.

It elucidates, better than I possibly could, everything that's wrong with the 'American Dream.'  The completely divorced-from-reality concept of unlimited growth, excessive consumerism as the definition of 'success,' inherent ecocide.  Disgusting, counterproductive, impractical, unfulfilling, and ultimately suicidal as a species.

Perhaps the 'American Dream' used to refer just to financial security, the opportunities of a meritocracy, and hope for desperate immigrants.  These are all good things.  But it's been co-opted so thoroughly by corporate culture that it's morphed into a mantra of 'Buy more!  If you own more things you'll be happy!  You're worthless without this object!  Go deeply into debt; it's worth it!'.  Not so healthy.

So what, you might ask, am I doing in my lovely oversized house in the suburbs, making car payments, and owning so many things that my husband feels quite strongly that we require even more space?

That's a really good question.

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