Have you ever had a dream? Of course you have. Dreams are usually desired things that we want to actually experience in real life. I want to be part of a community where everyone works together, peacefully, and selflessly for the common good. I dream of a society where we serve each other without expecting rewards. I dream of a neighborhood where people are not afraid of walking outside at night, everyone knows each other, and the thought of the next door neighbor’s needs are always in my mind. How about the American Dream? Does my desire for a selfless lifestyle fit the American Dream? I don’t think so. What is the American Dream? John Nestler wrote in 1973 that “Whereas the American Dream was once equated with certain principles of freedom, it is now equated with things. The American Dream has undergone a metamorphosis from principles to materialism. … When people are concerned more with the attainment of things than with the maintenance of principles, it is a sign of moral decay. And it is through such decay that loss of freedom occurs.” Is the American Dream about prosperity, individualism, success, and wealth? If so, I don’t want to be part of it. I rather be poor and live a life of simplicity, helping my fellow human beings in need. Wealth and success, to me, is a way of isolating ourselves from others. We become more individualized and selfish the more wealth we obtain. It is simply the way it its. Yes, some rich people have good hearts and give to charity. But I personally don’t want to fall in the trap of having too much, and forget about the ones who do not. Jesus said it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I understand now why: the love for money blinds us from seeing others as equal. Compassion and service disappears. If I dream of having the best cars, a big house, the greatest education, and the best clothes, I am surely missing something. I rather have a healthy family, close friends, and lovely home. Is having too much money bad? That is not what I am saying, but dreaming about having the best things is a barrier to living a full life.
March 30, 2011
Waking Up From The American Dream.