Shame and Self-Destruction

This posting comes from my past – when I was convinced that America was self-destructing – and that vision haunted me.

I still think I was right – and I am still amazed that no one else can see this. But I can now see that shame was behind it. We were ashamed of ourselves – as we certainly should have been.

We were stuck in a vicious circle – we had failed, we hated ourselves for failing – and that feedback made us hate ourselves even more.

Let’s start with the first part – we had failed.

After winning WWII, we could be proud of ourselves – we were the richest nation in history. But these riches were hollow and superficial – and we knew it. As always, we have consider our conscious selves – and our unconscious selves – that we do not want to recognize, but are far more powerful.

We compensated by having the finest homes and driving the biggest cars. We even built superhighways for them to drive on, as we commuted between the suburbs and our jobs. We created Los Angles, the prototype for all the large cities that sprang up all over the world. Which also included Hollywood – another prototype for how everything could go wrong.

Deep in our hearts, we knew something was wrong – but we didn’t know what. We didn’t take the time to figure out what was wrong – but rushed on, as though the Devil was after us – as no doubt he was. We were, in a word – stupid.

The symbol of our time was Hemingway – the success who shot himself. He was ashamed of himself, and his country – which to his mind, were the same thing.

This was the world I grew up with, in the Fifties. LBJ tried to fix things with his Great Society, but lost it completely in Vietnam.

We have only one small comfort – the rest of the world (the EU and China) has followed us – and is now in worse shape than we are. The Global Economy, which America and its Computer made possible – is not working.

And we have the same solution for this – we are destroying it.

  1. An old C.S.Lewis quote comes to mind. About the abolition of man being man’s final conquest.

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