“Instead of the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, we should stand and recite parts of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence from memory.”
Americans don’t care about the world or world history because we’ve already done, in 200 years, what it took millennia for the rest of the world to start doing, and they still haven’t even caught up yet.
I’m only half joking.
Why was America known as the “Land of Opportunity”? Why is America known as such a “melting pot”? What other countries were known as “melting pots”? I’m sure there has had to have been others. How much of the rest of the world was a “melting pot”, and who made up the “ingredients”? How “diverse” were they? I don’t believe that America is known as a “melting pot” simply because we scream it louder so that people believe it. There has to be some truth to it. People have come here from all over the world: the question is: why? War-mongering politicians have corrupted the phrase “American exceptionalism”. They have hijacked it and perverted it. But there’s some truth to the idea of “American exceptionalism”. There’s truth to the phrase “greatest country in the world”. America is a product of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Historically speaking, they occurred right after the other. This has bode exceptionally well for us Americans.
There’s certainly a significant stain across American history, mainly in the form of slavery. Also, of course, “Native Americans” are described as “Natives” for a reason. But I have a feeling I’m missing out significant information regarding the mix between Europeans and Native Americans. Something tells me my government education has left very significant facts out of the picture. I’m skeptical of the common account of “history”.
But the Industrial Revolution occurred very early on in America’s history (when you compare the histories of other nations, and how long it took for them to undergo an “Industrial Revolution”). The impact of the Industrial Revolution cannot be understated. This combination of the rebellious “Enlightenment” coupled with the Industrial Revolution has created a sense of superiority within Americans. Honestly……….considering these two factors, it’s justified. Of course, America’s flaws should be pointed out, past or present. But us Americans know why we feel superior to the rest of the world. It is because we were fucking lucky. We’ve had it better than everyone else before us. We’re happy about that fact. Our history is one of rebelliousness, particularly of government, and of capitalism. This was, for all intents and purposes, our birth. We didn’t have centuries of history before this. Granted, we can look at those people that moved here, and trace their histories back to countries with rich histories. But we identify as Americans. The world sucked for a very long time, and we got extremely lucky. Our life was one of extreme fortune. For us, America is truly when history starts.
I should do more research on the Enlightenment thinkers and the historical capitalists that have made America what it is today: where they were from, etc. Something beyond the superficial “history” that I learned in school.
The “world” is a whole nother matter entirely.
The point is that world history is a complicated subject.
I’m a man that doesn’t like choice.
I’ve never liked independence.
Obviously, I’m still young. I haven’t had much experience with independence.
The youngest of the young don’t have many choices. This can be quite frustrating, even if that restriction is justified. And certainly, I had times during my youth (at least, younger than I am now) that I wished I had choices when I didn’t have any. But currently, I’m at that stage when I need to make a good many choices for myself, and these choices will effect me for, if I live this long, decades. And I must make these decisions with an immature mind (at least currently: hopefully, not perpetually).
So, no pressure.
There is a security in having others make decisions for you. If a mistake is made, you don’t feel responsible, and you can shift blame to the one who has “decided” for you. But there comes a point in everyone’s life when that doesn’t work anymore, and that time for me is pretty much right now. (Shit, it may have even been before this, but if it was, I was too goddamn stupid to realize it. So I’m off to a great start).
Besides just being a child, whom naturally finds comfort and security in trusted authority figures, another reason I found the authority of others so comforting was the fact that I was just goddamned bad at making decisions for myself. Not that any young teenager should be expected to be good at making decisions, but man, was I BAD. I’ve beaten myself up over that fact more than I can count. It’s not that I should expect that I should’ve been good at making decisions. But in the past, I felt like I should’ve been. I don’t have any idea how I could have been, but that was my expectation nonetheless. A very fairytale expectation. Impossible to satisfy.
But, nonetheless, many of my decisions in my childhood were horrible. The consequences, at least at the time, were almost unbearable. And I wondered how in the fuck I was ever going to make it when I grew up. I worried myself to death about “adulthood”, where people make decisions for themselves. I had no idea to do it. I was only thirteen. (And fourteen).
Knowing (mainly thanks to my parents) that some day, I was going to have to “take the reigns”, and weighing that upon my self-destructive decision-making ability, I spent many years in sheer terror of the future. I’m talking from when I was, like I said, maybe fourteen or so, til, I would say, almost now, I have been terrified of the future. “Every decision impacts your future.” Combine this attitude with the belief that certain thoughts and actions will send you to Hellfire for all eternity, and you can see why one would be frightened when it comes to making decisions for oneself. My self-confidence was destroyed by my own stupid decisions, the consequences I had to face, and, I would argue, my natural tendency towards anxiousness. So I deferred as much as possible towards the direction of my life, having teachers decide which classes I should take, letting others decide when I should get my driver’s license, etc.
And yet, there was still a fiercely independent streak in me. This independence was usually geared towards “higher” ideas. Ideas that, you could argue, “shape” society. I have always been extremely independent in “higher” ideas. It’s the “lower” ideas (the more “practical” ideas (the ones necessary for basic biological functioning)) that I have deferred for so long (the “important” ones, many would argue. And I couldn’t argue against that description).
The independence was usually “Wait a minute: this common belief does not make sense to me.” And that, happening frequently enough, caused me to question common beliefs, and helped shape my worldview. And it’s still present within me today. The independence has been channeled into “vulgarity” now, where I independently decide to question common views of “artistic morality“, and wish to push art further along the line of human depravity than anyone has ever gone before (well, probably not. But a guy can DREAM, can’t he?)
It is also very hard to be independent when you are young and socially anxious (it should really be no surprise why, but this is what I’m trying to work on, personally) because of other people.
I think the biggest hurdles regarding my inability to feel confident and independent enough as a thinker to make more and important decisions for myself are the following:
I’ve always naturally had an inclination to weigh my ideas off of others. My ideas were, I think, usually independent. But I wasn’t sure of their validity, so I bounced them off of others: even if those others were stupid or malicious. I had not the confidence to believe in myself and in my own independence. And that’s what this is really all about. It’s not that I’m dependent; or, rather, I am. I’m independent, but them I’m dependent on approval because I’m not confident enough to develop my independence through thought processes and continuances of logic trees and preferences.
When you “put yourself out there”, other people are going to respond. And the responses exist all over the spectrum: some are insightful, and some are stupid. Some are supportive, and some are not. And if you happen to have ideas that exist outside of the “norm” (whether they be truthful or not), they will be questioned relentlessly, as is the case by the very definition of being “outside of the norm”.
I’m not saying that ideas shouldn’t be subjected to scrutiny. But when, at a young age, you have very independent ideas, very diverse from those around you, and you begin to express those ideas, you have not the confidence to defend yourself, nor the time to fully-fledge out those delicate, crucial beginnings of a fruit of individual thought.
It’s hard being an individual thinker, and it’s probably just as dangerous as being part of a mob. Of course, there are correct “mobs” and incorrect individuals. But one can’t help but picture a Titanic, or a Jesus Christ, when referring to fiercely independent thinkers and “group thinkers”.
To say that there are exceptions to every rule, and that everyone is right and everyone is wrong from time to time, is redundant. Vague, obvious phrases like this are typically used to keep from hearing what the original speaker had to say. “Yeah, but”. In good-spirited discourse, there will obviously be a great many “but”s. But there should be some substance behind the “but”. Repeating a general truth just to be argumentative is unproductive. You need to say something that adds to the conversation, and repetitive phrases uttered for fear of not being a “good person” do not do that.
But, all-too-often, I would believe is the case, young, smart people are trampled upon by their all-knowing, “moral” authority figures. This isn’t to say that adults do not have a great amount of experience, and that this experience is not valuable to creating an insightful perspective of the world. Surely, years of experience on the Earth would help one achieve a higher grasp of reality (or at least, one would hope). However, from a personal standpoint, I think that I have uncritically accepted the advice of every do-gooder from every left, right, and other direction. And I think this has done me some mental harm that I will attempt to explain.
If I’m not a genius, and I’m just a fool, then at least I’m my own man. But I’d rather foolishly believe me a genius than fret over actual foolishness.
I believe that I have some very insightful things to say, especially considering my age. I understand that there are people in this world older than I who understand more than me; likewise, there are people younger than me who understand more than I. But I think I have something. I think there’s something in me that has important things to say. And even if only for my own sake as a human being, for my own volition, sanity, maturity, and peace, I must say them…
Although I’m certain in my heart that there are others out there who will find insight in my words…
But I do not wish to seek social approval. Financial approval is social approval, and of course, I wish to get paid. But beyond that, I wish not to seek social acceptance of my ideas as a validation for them (even money does not “validate” them for me).
Social approval is another sign of youth. I don’t need to explain this: you understand this already. But, for those of you that don’t, I’ll drop in the words “peer pressure”. A desire for a peaceful, cooperating community is not an immature idea, however. But that is not social approval.
“Approval” implies that one can be socially rejected. But why should anyone care about being socially rejected? One may argue that the murderer’s actions are justifiably socially rejected, but his actions are not unethical because they are rejected: they are rejected because they are unethical, and, thankfully, many people’s code of ethics, at least when it comes to murder, are in coexistence with humanity (this is not to say that humans can do nothing inhumane, but rather that, simply stated, their code of ethics promotes the existence and flourishing of humans, rather than destroying humans).
One needs the confidence to speak up for oneself, and one needs the maturity to be able to handle the consequences of speaking up for oneself. And those are two things that I greatly wish to develop and improve upon.
As well as becoming a better organizer of the written word, I hope to continue my fierce independence of thought and furious dictation (sometimes both meanings) with an improvement upon my ability to be independent, my ability to comprehend objectivity, and my ability to communicate.
But, being an introvert, my main concern for improving my communication ability is to improve my financial spending ability.
And I’m not confident enough in myself to feel like I’m making good decisions in this area yet…
…Plus, sometimes I think I’m crazy…
I want to succeed, but I’m afraid of finally becoming successful.
Because, you know, all of those rich and famous people are sinners, while the good, common country folk are RIGHTEOUS.
Oh, wasted youth.
But I digress.
I wish to be independent enough to think “I’m going to write all of this, using up valuable time in my life, and valuable energy, when I could be doing something else, because I find this important. I don’t want to hear other people tell me to do it because it’s important. And I don’t want to care about others who tell me I’m wasting my time, and that I should focus more on getting a better paying job, or something like that. I want to put more energy into my writing because I want to do it. I want to feel comfortable enough to not look for approval in this decision. I do not want to care who thinks me crazy; who thinks me young, and immature; and who thinks the cold hand of reality will smack my young, delicate face, and wake me up to the brutal cold.” I care not any longer.
I am really bad at all of this, but God damn do I wish to improve upon it…
I wish to be independent to a degree that I’m comfortable with. I wish to have the confidence to accept the consequences of my actions. I wish to improve upon my writing ability. I wish to learn to have enough self-confidence to reread and edit my work. I wish to have enough self-confidence in my own ethics that I do not feel the need to validate myself through other people. I wish to shed negative perspectives about life through religion that have enslaved me for most of my life. But, I think, most of all, I wish to really feel like I’m in control of my life; in control of myself; and to feel happy about that.
Those are the most crucial elements of ALL of this.
This is also a message about conflict: I fiercely don’t care about what other people think about my work, but I do in the sense that I wish to get paid. But I don’t want to create work simply because I know it will sell well. But I still want it to sell.
These conflicts are just at the crux of life, I guess.
I think time has the answer to those questions in particular for me, though.