Tuesday, May 27, 2008
In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from – Peter Ustinov
Pressure to conform. It's everywhere but could it be starting to crumble? They call it the American dream, but unlike a dream which is hazy and whimsical, this is a clear benchmark that the citizens are taught to strive for at all costs. The the measurables are cars, jobs and houses and anything outside of this is seen as the wrong life direction. The pressure builds and clever people make sure they take advantage of one's need to conform by trapping you in deeper and deeper ... normally with credit and debt. The individual is the only one to blame of course. Humans have an incredible ability to make our own choices. Another ability crushes its compatriot of choice at most every turn. This one is called laziness. Not the laziness that keeps you on the couch with your feet up, but laziness of the little gray cells in your skull. You will have heard that our brains use less than 10% of their capacities. There is no cap that stops us at that point though. Nothing stopping us putting more of those little buggers to work. We are provided with a lazy option with pressure to fit into it and most gladly accept it. Those that stand out in the western world have gone against that option and are enjoying seeing a little more of what the planet has to offer. In the case of the USA, life paths were so spelled out to those meandering along it that it was a huge effort to take another route.
This quote was made a while back by one of my favourite actors and it is great to see that things are shifting. The late Peter Ustinov saw much of the world as an eccentric Belgian sleuth in Agatha Christie murder novels. He could see the self imposed constraints in the USA with clarity as he moved from country to new country in his vast career which spanned from the 1950's till his death in 2004. Just a few years later and there is a good chance of a black president with a women as vice-president for the USA - who would have entertained that thought just a decade ago? Certainly not the current clown at their helm.
The pressure may well be crumbling. The results not always pretty on the surface and many are falling victim along the way to the self imposed constraints of the past, that tumble abrasively downward, causing suffering for those nestled too close to what was once perceived as such sturdy walls. There will be a lot more tumbling to come if the planet is to survive.
Post Script: Peter Ustinov wanted his epitah to read "Please keep of the grass".