Below is continuation of Winston Wu’s essay:
Jeremy Rifkin, in his book, The European Dream elaborates on this in a scholarly manner:
(Pages 13 14)
"The American and European dreams are, at their core, about two diametrically opposed ideas of freedom and security. Americans hold a negative definition of what it means to be free and, thus, secure. For us, freedom has long been associated with autonomy. If one is autonomous, he or she is not dependent on others or vulnerable to circumstances outside of his or her control. To be autonomous, one needs to be propertied. The more wealth one amasses, the more independent one is in the world. One is free by becoming self-reliant and an island unto oneself. With wealth comes exclusivity, and with exclusivity comes security.
The new European Dream, however, is based on a different set of assumptions about what constitutes freedom and security. For Europeans, freedom is not found in autonomy but in embeddedness. To be free is to have access to a myriad of interdependent relationships with others. The more communities one has access to, the more options and choices one has for living a full and meaningful life. With relationships comes inclusivity, and with inclusivity comes security.
The American Dream puts an emphasis on economic growth, personal wealth, and independence. The new European Dream focuses more on sustainable development, quality of life, and interdependence
The European Dream is more cosmopolitan and less territorial
Americans tend to think locally while European’s loyalties are more divided and stretch from the local to the global. The American Dream is deeply personal and little concerned with the rest of humanity. The European Dream is more expansive and systemic, and therefore more bound to the welfare of the planet.
Also, when I speak of disconnectedness I am not referring to geographic spacing between people or isolation in remote areas. No, I am speaking of something far deeper that has to do with a psychological attitude. If merely crowding people together created connectedness, then New York and Los Angeles would be the most wholesome and connected cities in America. Are they? I dont think so. Or take a remote Russian village in Siberia. Though geographically isolated, one does not feel insecure, lonely and disconnected from others there. Life may be boring as hell, yeah, but people do not suffer from loneliness or sink into depression and insanity when confronted by problems. And every man is not a psychological island there. In fact, I challenge anyone to find a sincere travelogue of someone who went to a remote foreign village and felt lonely, disconnected and found the villagers to be anti-social and segregated. Furthermore, as mentioned before, you can feel all alone in America even around your friends or in crowded places, but in other countries with connectedness, you can be physically alone yet not really feel alone. Why do you think that is? Ponder it and youll see the real nature of what Im talking about here, and that its not about geographic isolation.
In America, you are NOT taught to FEEL GOOD about yourself at all! You are NOT taught how to cultivate good mental health, self-acceptance, inner wholeness and well-being, or healthy social relationships and friendships. No way. Instead, you are conditioned and engineered by your schools, media, culture and peers to feel UNWORTHY, INSECURE and INADEQUATE deep down, and to fill that emptiness within by 1) becoming a workaholic slave to a corporate dictatorship (aka “getting a career”) so you can make money and 2) become a mass consumer junkie who tries to buy everything he/she can that’s on the market out there. In other words, you are programmed to try to fill your emptiness and insecurity by over-working and over-consuming (buying too much useless junk) perpetually without end, all under the doctrine that “material goods lead to happiness and well-being” and that “the more the better”. In short, your self-esteem is artificially based on your status in a corporate dictatorship and what you > can BUY to enhance your “image”.
(continued in next post)
It goes on but I think you get the idea…