Americans are afraid – very afraid, but are not aware of this.
I was not aware of it until a friend of mine clued me in. He was a Canadian, who invited me out for breakfast at the most expensive restaurant in our little town. During the small talk that followed, I mentioned that Americans did not know what was going on, and that baffled me. Without thinking about it, he said “They know, alright – but they are scared!” I knew immediately that he had said something important, and wanted to talk about it. But he refused, and ended our meal.
I have thought about this a lot, since then. He is right, Americans are afraid to talk about many things. Including their fear of talking. There seems to be an unwritten rule – “No serious talk!” They are quite willing to talk about small, unimportant things – but they clam up, or change the subject – if something important comes up. They are afraid.
I ask myself “What are they afraid of?” And the answer seems to be “Of being killed!” Which would be a reasonable answer in many places in the world – where the people are kept under tight control. But in America, the Land of the Free?
You know the answer – in America, there are strict rules about what is acceptable behavior, and everyone knows what these rules are. One of them is “You will be afraid!” And sure enough, people are afraid. They don’t have to be told what to be afraid of, but they have to show everyone that they are. And act accordingly.
This is the oldest rule in the book – people behave as they are supposed to behave. And they are very good – extremely good – at intuiting what these rules are. And at denying their existence.
This denial is a newcomer on the scene – and I don’t know when or how it got here. Probably, we acquired it along with the Modern World, about five hundred years ago – a transition people are no longer aware of.
To figure out what these rules are – you have to observe their group behavior, and figure out what is going on inside them. Tricky business, since there are so many rules, and they change all the time. This is why people monitor the media so carefully – to see what the latest rules (and the latest fashions) are.
They are not inner-motivated – but outer-motivated. The big change from only two hundred years ago. This was caused by the switch from Print to Television – and then to the Smartphone.
People are now only minor players in the Information Economy. Pushed around by everything else.