The American Dream

So much noise has been created around the “American Dream”; the whole world is dreaming of it!  But what is finally the definition of the American Dream? For John Winthrop was a religious paradise in a “City upon a Hill” while for Martin Luther King, Jr. was a dream of racial equality. The American Dream was based on principles of freedom and equality, inspired from great philosophers, but today is based on materialism. The great principles of liberty, to find one’s goals–the meaning of one’s life-and pursue them have been transformed to compulsion for materialism and collectivism.  Adam’s in the “Epic of America” according to David Kamp’s article, defines it as “the American dream that life should be made richer, and fuller for everyone and opportunity remain open to all”.  The richness as Kamp asserts doesn’t appear just in experience, but in all making material an essential component to the “American Dream”.

The fact is that in the “American Dream” has always included achieving financial success, but over the centuries huge changes happened in acquiring money. According to Matthew Warshauer, while at the routes of the dream hard work and prudence were the ways of success, nowadays Americans are dreaming different ways to fantastic wealth such as winning on game shows and lotteries while some other trying to gain millions through lawsuits. Marketers and the Media have convinced Americans about the new way to wealth. The respectable goal of the American dream, which was based on persistence and work ethics, has been transformed to the delusion of big fortune and easy riches.

Another case is the huge interest of the American audience in the Modern Royal Family, following their dramas and their complex life ruling their subjects. Having great wealth, while they don’t have to rely on it for daily expenses, fulfilling the American dream-wealth without expense. As Michael and Madonna Marsden emphasize, this obsession with the Royal Family is in the context of a continuing soap opera, which actually is completely misleading because the soap opera misses the magical way of the divine of the Royal Family. Another soap opera melodrama the Americans follow is the “Kardashian” phenomenon. As Robin Roberts declared on Good Morning America, “you cannot escape the Kardashian phenomenon” (2011). They managed to create respectively to the British Royal Family, their American suburban family life style, that the majority of Americans today feed their minds and souls. In Plato’s Protagoras, Hippocrates asks Socrates “And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul?” , Socrates “Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul”.  Paralleled with  Socrates idea,  Neither Brillat-Savarin stated that “You Are What You Eat” emphasizing the importance of good food in order to be healthy and fit.

James Truslow Adams in “The Epic of America” calls for a more equitably distributed national wealth and good life “A system that steadily increases the gulf between the ordinary man and the super-rich, that permits the resources of society to be gathered into personal fortunes that afford their owners millions in income a year, with only the chance that here and there a few may be moved to confer some of their surplus upon the public in ways chosen wholly by themselves, is assuredly a wasteful an unjust system. Until countless men and women have decided in their own hearts, through experience and perhaps disillusion, what is a genuinely satisfying life, a “good life” in the old Greek sense, we need look to neither politicians nor captains of industry.”

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