Sunday, June 06, 2010

"happiness through wealth"?

Michel says:
I read a disturbing statistic last night
according to a study done by the WHO, 9% of Americans suffer from bipolar disorder or clinical depression

Ali says:
I knew it was high but that means it’s like 1 in 10 people have severe depression
and do you know how it would be changing recently?
maybe go even higher

Michel says:
I’d assume so, since their hopes and dreams are hinged on that fickle economy
Ali says:
that’s true
in a capitalist society we invest our sense of self in the economy

Michel says:
The mythology of the country (and subsequently all countries influenced by it) arbitrarily places value on something that cannot ever be attained, happiness through wealth. This is very good for production, but very bad for emotional stability.
Through media manipulation it’s wonderfully effective to have people believe this is capable, perhaps even attaining the delusion that they’re succeeding at it
Although, success is the less likely option.
Either way, the American Dream is untenable.

Ali says:
how can a society that’s used this system for so long break from it?
Michel says:
It would need to make a conscious effort.
People make a conscious effort to see that it’s bullshit, or the system collapses and they are awakened to its fraudulent nature through suffering
Having dwelled with working class Americans, though, I am not sure the second is likely. Their suffering is so ingrained as the fault of themselves or another person’s that they don’t even begin to question the system that allows it to exist.
To suggest such a thing makes you crazy

Ali says:
maybe an economic depression will help change that?
because now, people must feel that they are suffering at the greed and carelessness of someone else

Michel says:
Maybe in the eyes of the educated, which is as good a start as any. The people that I am talking about are the people who have always been depressed: po’ folk, uneducated people who have nothing but their mythology
The average American is very limited. The exceptions are what prove the rule, as always. The difference between the average person that works at WalMart trying to make ends meet and the rural Chinese who thinks Chairman Mao could fly is much smaller than you’d imagine.


I though this was such a good conversation (real or not I don't know) from a blog I blurfed upon, The Hazy Night's Campaign Against Dawn, (what an awesome title!) that I had to copy it across for you. It is essentially a discussion that bounces around echoes Weber's "Protestant Work Ethic" with how the American Dream of self-reliance leads to self-blame and depression.

The funny thing is that most non-Americans see such dilemmas as self-evident. The American Dream might bring for a handful of lucky and hard-working people (with a heavy emphasis on the luck drawn out of one's cultural capital). It's bloody obvious, no need to philosophize about it.

And then the inevitable emptiness of chasing such ephemeral goals makes the billionaires quite miserable as they sail the world in monstrous yachts, sipping Cristal whilst getting blow-jobs from fake-titted Thai ex-hookers, basking in the eternal sunshine of their mindless spots.


I fully accept that the top section is not my work, merely my good fortune to find.


Astute readers might notice the submerged ambivalence and hypocrisy [took me eight goes to type that correctly] swimming through *my* little, inelegant rant...


1 comment:

knobby said...

> the eternal sunshine of their mindless spots


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