The American Way: Mindless Pursuit

The American Way: Mindless Pursuit

[411 Note: An excellent essay. When you think of the consumerism, entertainment, consumption, and narcissism that is overtaking society – a good, honest “reality check” is in order. Sadly – pieces like this rarely make headway into the minds of those pursuing mindless activities and self-gratification. Almost all of them are essentially stuck. Permanently. But for the handful that can be saved – this is for you.]

By Cognitive Dissonance

It’s actually embarrassing if I’m to be frank and honest in my opinion. How many times during my adult life did I hear ‘leadership’ proclaim they are simply defending ‘The American Way’ without ever really thinking about what constituted the way “We the People” live?

Sure I gave passing consideration now and then, but I always remained safely within the pro-programmed thought box promoted by those who claimed to be defending me and my ‘way’. Therefore when I was younger the answer was simplicity at its finest: baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.

In other words, the mindless pursuit of all things pleasurable.

The American Way Mindless Pursuit

Here come some trigger words! LOLZ!

Of course, this is an over simplification of a complex situation. Then again, maybe not. There are several trigger words in my statement, any one of which can be endlessly argued to death. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in my advancing age it is this. When I don’t wish to confront an unpleasant situation I will argue the piss out of the details until I have convinced myself it doesn’t apply and I can ignore it completely.

A person engaged in mindless pursuit must always be in pursuit of mindlessness. Anything that interferes with this objective is perceived as a disturbance in the force and must be eradicated as quickly as possible. Again, plenty of trigger words in this statement, affording everyone the opportunity to stop reading and find something more pleasurable to do.

I am aware that when you are a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail just begging to be pounded. Since I am a recovering alcoholic, I tend to see the world through the eyes of a recovering addict. And what I see through my admittedly biased baby blues is an America full of addicts in various stages of obsessive compulsive obliviousness.

Whatever ‘The American Way’ once was, it no longer is. Too much of a ‘good’ thing is rarely good for long and often leads to the consumer of goodness being consumed by the obsession. One of the greatest self-deceptions we embrace is the one about everyone else being the problem, but not us. I’m OK, but you’re definitely not.

The library shelves overflow with book after book detailing the rise and fall of America and where the actual problem(s) lay. It’s the elites, the corporations, the politicians, the mass media, the Russians, the money system, the debt, the food, the schools…on and on and on endlessly pointing the finger everywhere but where it belongs… with the reader.

Ouch! Now THAT was a trigger if ever there was one.

Everyone denies being part of the problem

No single rain drop considers itself responsible for the flood. Yet each drop of water is frolicking along with all its fellow drops of dew flooding Houston as I write this. Clearly, anonymity is the enabler of denial, for behavior we would never engage in alone suddenly becomes not only acceptable but normal when pursued while safely hidden within the mindless herd.

This includes many so-called ‘normal’ things such as going deeply into debt to purchase “The American Dream”, then commuting 2-4 hours per day to work in a high enough paying job that we can service the debt used to purchase “The American Dream”. I just love closed loop affirmations. They feel so good.

Or how about combining the contents of four cans, three boxes, two frozen ‘foods’ and one partridge from a pear tree so we may prepare a wonderfully nutritious and emotionally fulfilling meal for friends and family. Or better yet, just order up some delivery and leave the cooking to someone else. Either way, at least you know the source of your food.

/sarc

You always defend your actions, even when clearly wrong

The list is endless if one is determined to put their mind to the task of compiling it, but for the purposes of this screed, it’s a pointless pursuit. Either you get my point or you don’t. More importantly, either you act on my point or you don’t.

And here is where the wiggle room afforded by our denial fully kicks in. There are always a thousand seemingly valid reasons not to do something while usually just one or two good reasons to actually do it. If our bias is already stacked towards status quo, and we know it is, odds are extremely favorable the party will continue until the patient dies.

What we are witnessing here in America is the slow and agonizing death of the patient. And “We the People” are the patient presently engaged in ugly death throes. The good news is this will end. The bad news is it won’t be for a very long time.

Never underestimate the lengths to which people will go in order to believe precisely what they want to believe. And NEVER think the bottom has been hit when behavior remains the same. For all the bitching and complaining going on, I don’t see many people changing their behavior. So the insanity continues.

You don’t have to participate

I cannot change the flood. Nor can I cannot stop the flood. I cannot prevent the flood. However, I can no longer participate in this flood and the next flood and the next and the next. I can muster the courage and change my mind, then my behavior, one step at a time.

How does one eat an elephant? Easy…one bite at a time. But first, we must decide if the elephant is what we want. And if it is, we then commit to a long slow slog of seemingly endless elephant bites. The good news is life does get better after some initial deprogramming and detoxification.

But here’s the kicker, the ultimate trigger if you will. Sanity is hard, especially while living inside the insane asylum. We must fearlessly pursue sanity on a daily basis. This requires constant vigilance and mindfulness of who we are and what we wish to be.

We face a lifetime of work that rarely gets significantly easier because there are dozens of onion layers waiting to be peeled. But it does get much more rewarding in ways we wish we could achieve when having our fake cake and eating it too.

Or we can return to the mad pursuit of mindlessness. In fact, we can never ever leave other than to test the waters of denial to reinvigorate the thousand and one reasons to remain insane.

Of course, I’m not talking about you… right?

 

Cognitive Dissonance

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