May 16, 2008

Love and Death

“In everyone there sleeps/A sense of life lived according to love.”

–Philip Larkin, “Faith Healing”


Two years ago an American journalist wrote that “The death instinct hovers over the United States.” I had known this for some time, of course; when you turn yourself into a late-empire killing machine, what other outcome could there be? But the phrase “death instinct,” so stark and Freudian in its implications, really caught my attention. Long before Freud, poets and novelists had written of the intimate connection between love and death, eros and thanatos. Indeed, when the former gets blocked or thwarted, it turns into the latter, its opposite. Check out the body language of Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice, if you don’t believe me.

Since the 1960s, America has been seen as the land of hedonism, the place where “anything goes.” But the truth is that this is a thin veneer placed over a much deeper puritan reality. “Scratch an American,” wrote one astute historian in the late sixties, “and you find a Puritan.” It’s much worse now than it was forty years ago, of course; “political correctness” is nothing if not a puritan movement. Thus I was recently contacted by a German journalist living in Washington, DC, who expressed her horror at a number of current news items. One involved a situation in which the parents of a two-year-old had their child playing in their backyard, in a diaper, and the next-door neighbors called the police to report this case of “indecent exposure.” The police, instead of suggesting that the neighbors check themselves into the nearest mental institution, came to the parents’ house and ordered them to put some clothes on the child.

Another situation she reported to me involved that of a six-year-old boy who wrote a note to a classmate, telling her “I love you.” The little girl showed the note to her parents, who then descended on the school principal, choking with anxiety. The principal could have pointed out how sweet this love note was, how touching. Instead, he inflicted permanent emotional damage on the little boy by suspending him from school for three days. Clearly, hatred of life is a terrifying thing.

The flip side of this, as battalions of sociologists have pointed out, is pornography. By this I don’t mean merely the tons of pictures and videos on the Internet, but, along with the militarization of American life, the sexualization of it. Sex permeates the public sphere in the United States in a way that is so pervasive that it has become part of the air we breathe. Television, advertising, films, you name it–sex is somehow always present. And yet, what does it really come down to? Recent studies of American sexual behavior reveal that actual sexual activity is way down, from years past; Americans are too busy working and consuming to have time for pleasure in their lives. Pornography is something that takes place in the mind, and since almost all of it is variations on a theme, it’s actually quite boring. All it amounts to is a kind of mental “utopia” that never manages to get below the neck. Many years ago Octavio Paz wrote that North Americans were big on pornography because they didn’t really live in their bodies; that in the US, the life of the senses had atrophied.

I remember when I first visited Mexico, in 1979. The most striking thing about crossing the border was the explosion of color. Prior to that, the color range I was used to consisted of varying shades of gray and green. Suddenly, I felt like the victim of a visual assault: Mexico was a riot of color. Houses of deep blue, ochre, salmon, brilliant yellow–what a feast, I remember thinking. True, I had had somewhat similar experiences in San Francisco, New Mexico, and Italy, for example, but this was much more dramatic; it seemed to be a statement about reality, about the nature of things. As I traveled around Mexico, I remember thinking: Which country really has the wealth? What is “wealth,” when you get right down to it? Nearly thirty years later, I live in a Mexican house whose walls are so drenched in color that I see no point in putting up any pictures. The walls themselves are the “art.”

And of course, if there is very little repression of sensuality in Mexico, there is also very little repression of death. Since North Americans don’t really live, in a sensual or erotic way, death is a great source of fear for them, a taboo subject. (The guy who wants the party to go on forever is the one who never had the courage to approach the pretty girls.) In Mexico, on the other hand, death is never very far from one’s consciousness. Pictures of skulls, skeletons, national holidays–all of this seems ever-present, reminding us that you’d better enjoy life while you can, because it’s over pretty quickly, and you are going to be dead for a very long time.

“Make love, not war,” the Austrian psychiatrist, Wilhelm Reich, told us, many years ago, in so many words. I guess the old boy knew what he was talking about.


©Morris Berman, 2008

29 Comments:

Blogger Darwin's Dagger said...

Brilliant insights, as usual, Dr. Berman.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

While I know many individual Americans who don't fit this description I must agree with you on the general culture. About a year ago a very pretty young woman was admitted to the hospital I used to work in and one of the male patients developed an instant crush on her. He wrote her a letter which she immediately turned in, it was added to his chart and read by the staff. It was one of the most touching, tender and sincere things I've ever read. There was nothing coarse or suggestive about it but you would never have known this from the reaction of the staff of "mental health professionals". I'm not suggesting that she should have fallen into his arms or anything like that. She didn't return his feelings and, eventually, it was handled in a manner that was respectful and reasonably kind, thank God. But to me what was the most interesting thing was the inability of well-educated, "sensitive" people to simply see this for what it was and not analyze it for hidden meanings. Maybe they were just suspicious that he still had a sex drive considering all the drugs he was taking. I've talked to my daughter who's 22 about male/female relationships now and it's confirmed what I've observed. People of both sexes seem more interested in networking and superficial encounters whether it's sex or friendship. There seems to be a lack of passion or desire no matter how much kids talk about how "hot" someone is. There just seems to be something missing that was there when I was 22. I'm not explaining this very well but it's hard to put into words exactly what this emptiness is----the excitment and anticipation appear to be gone.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Susan,

I guess the combination of a scientized culture and a politically correct culture has just about destroyed what's left of the American soul.

Sad story.

-mb

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman, I checked your blog this morning to read comments and reread my own. I realized I left out important information about the story (which I will not bore you with)and the tone comes across as patronizing and trivializing of other's problems and feelings. Short being capable of mind-reading or being present that morning, there's no way this would make any sense. I look like a fool and certainly feel like one. I don't know if it's possible to cut and paste the prior entry from your blog into the computer trash can, but if you can I would be grateful. Throw this one in after it. Sorry for the trouble.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Susan,

I'll delete your letters if you want, but I don't see anything wrong with what you've written. Seems to me to be right on target. In any case, there are roughly 6 million Susan W's in the US, so I think your identity is fairly safe.

Keep writing!

-mb

3:31 PM  
Blogger David said...

Dr. Berman,

I've been enjoying your books for years, but I only recently came across your web site. Instead of responding directly to the subject of this post, I hope you don't mind if I write a fan letter instead.

I first discovered your work in 1990, when I read "Coming to Our Senses" (I'm guessing that the cover to the trade paperback version piqued my interest!), and then followed that up with "Reenchantment of the World". Coming to Our Senses is still one of my very favorite nonfiction books, not the least because of passages like the one in which, after talking about TOs, you have the author picking up his manuscript and leaving the cafe in a huff when it is suggested that he isn't immune to the syndrome you've been discussing. The ability to gently poke fun of yourself, and at the same time, make such a compelling case for the existence of some gap, or faultline, in virtually all inhabitants of the modern world, made for satisfying and thought-provoking reading.

So immediately after finishing "Coming to Our Senses", I located a copy of "Reenchantment of the World", which I also learned a great deal from.

When "Twilight" was published, I raved about it to friends. One in particular, a well-read, thoughtful woman, purchased a copy, but thought that you were a bit pessimistic. But then again, it published right before it was clear to everybody that the 'dot com' boom was over, and I think that she was blinded by the heady optimism generated by her financial investments. Anyway, by the time "Dark Ages America" was written, she commented to me that a great deal of what you wrote was quite prescient, and that she had been naive.

Just a month ago, I made what would have been an unpleasant day flying across country a very enjoyable one instead by reading "Wandering God" from cover to cover.

One of the conclusions I draw from your works is that human beings seem inextricably drawn to the notion that there exists some unifying "Big Idea" that you can use to make sense of the universe (popular examples in the USA being 'God' or the 'free market'). But I suspect that there is no such Big Idea that works as a universal organizing principle. (Which, amusingly, can lead to the statement: "The Big Idea is: There is no Big Idea", which means it self-destructs in a particularly neat, "Godelian" fashion. There's an interesting article that could be written on the subject...)

I'll close by saying again how much I admire your body of work, and that I hope you keep writing!

4:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear David,

Your letter makes me reflect on the meaning of the word "success." "Wandering God," my best book (imo), sold something like 2000 copies--this, in a nation of 300 million people. "Dark Ages" got savaged by the NY Times and basically buried forever. I once estimated all of the hours I spent writing books, and then divided that figure into the sum of the royalties I've received over the years; it came to 2.5 cents per hour.

And then I get a letter like yours, and all of that stuff doesn't seem to matter.

Thank you.

-mb

6:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

Just a couple of additional comments:

Susan W. --

When I read your original post, I didn't think it was patronizing or trivializing at all. I enjoyed reading it, especially given that I have a 22-year-old daughter too!

And anyway, I think of this site as a forum for good conversation, which means that the postings are more likely to be impromptu thoughts rather than finely crafted essays. And personally, I'd hate to have to live up to some standard of profundity in my posts.


Dr. Berman,

I have much less confidence that I could define what 'success' means than I did 20 years ago. But I think that a good clue is that throughout history, most of the people revered as wise have said that whatever success is, it has very little to do with money.

And it seems to me that you could make a good case that a life spent thinking carefully and deeply about the world around you, and sharing your insights (even if they feel tentative at times) with others, is a worthwhile, and therefore successful one.

(Oh, and great dollops of love and compassion are pretty important in my book, too)

I'm proud to be one of the 2000 owners of 'Wandering God', and I hope that you're working on another book.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Violet Gray said...

Dear Mr. Berman,

I just finished reading your book, "Twilight...". I thought that your description of our current state of disarray was excellent. I also agree that people who take Candide's advice about plowing our own fields is the only case for survival of the civilized. I felt that you should have emphasized the basis of Civilization though. If people know where their next meal is coming from, then they may be inclined to play music, or repeat a few lines of Shakespeare. Those who wish to survive as civilized people should learn something about how food is grown, fabric made, water purified, etc. These are simple basic things without which there can be no civilization. Man crawled out of the mud because of extra food, and he will go back to the mud without it. Best wishes for your continued endeavors.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Steven Rix said...

In our world all our technologies are dependant from each other, that's the way things work here on Earth. So when one technology crashes down, it also affects other technologies. A good case right now would be the oil price that has been affecting our food supply: we produce ethanol to be less dependant from oil factor but we created another crisis in food supply. So let's say that if you were going to remove all the technologies from now, the only one that comes in mind to use before anything else would be the plow because we need to feed ourselves first. But we'll find the same problems as we did in the Middle-Ages, between the ones who work so that they can survive and the thieves that don't want to work and prefer to steal our meal, and we would be back to serfs times because people will always exploit people.

I hope we'll never go back to the plow because we'll lose the very fabric of our society, especially for the US since I think that crimes are often associated with economics: violence is inherent to the human being but these are the ills of our societies that push the human being to revolt himself individually (it's a notion that is not shared by the US unfortunately and you can understand why).


With the oilprice barrel reaching anytime soon the $150, I've been thinking to cultivate my own veggies so that I can cut down on my spendings, and if it's still too hard, then I'll just go back to the woods.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Martin Carcamo said...

I really like your work
i`ve heard your living in Mexico
how has that experience been for you?

12:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Martin,

Well, the "Love and Death" essay shd give you some idea, but you can find more in the blog correspondence here on the subject. In a word, I should have moved here 20 yrs ago. Crossing the border is like going thru a mirror. After 8 years of depressed, surly people in Washington DC, the graciousness of the Mexicans is almost beyond belief. The way I like to compare it is: In the US, everything works, but nothing works out; in Mexico, nothing works, but everything works out. Take yer pick.

All the best,
mb

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Tim Case said...

I moved to brazil 3 years ago and what surprised me was just how civil and enjoyable public life is there. I like to explain to my friends that the difference between Brazil and the US is that in the US there are signs everywhere that say "NO LOITERING", in Brazil all you do is loiter, you hang out in cafés, drink beer in open outdoor bars instead of dingy holes, and make yourself at home in public places. Everyone is together and it's much more joyful than individual living in my opinion. . In the States you cannot hang out for the sake of hanging out you always need a purpose if you are in public space, and even then rarely will you interact very much with other people.

In Brazil things don't work but they work out as well, death is not hidden, and contrary to what most Americans would believe almost all the Brazilians that I know would much rather live in Brazil despite the greater difficulty in getting money there. The reason is that the country affords pleasure. In Brazil it only takes a little bit of money to have a lot of fun, in the US it takes a lot of money to have a little fun.

It's not perfect, no place ever is, but for me the life I have learning portuguese, living without shiny new toys, and having to be responsible for my own security, are small prices to pay to live in place where I feel I have room to breathe, and drink a beer on the beach. It's embarrasing that I have to admit that experiencing pleasure without guilt is something I still struggle with.

I enjoyed Dark Ages because you wrote a book that helped me understand why I left the US in search of a better life. To this day I tell my friends in the states I went searching for a life of beaches and bananas because it's easier to let them think I'm crazy than it is to explain that I escaped what I considered to be an indentured existence. Also, it's hard to explain to someone that they are eating a shit sandwich while they are still chewing on it.

Cheers Morris, I didn't find your book depressing at all.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Tim,

What can I say? Your letter needs to be posted in neon on every streetcorner in every city and town in America. Even then, it's really a no-win proposition. It's worse than having most of the population eating shit sandwiches; the tragedy is that they think it's caviar.

Of course, life in Brazil is no picnic. I recall driving past the favelas in Sao Paolo, years ago, and seeing the horrible poverty of 15 people living in a single room made of cardboard and copper sheeting. There is no romanticizing that. And yet...there's also no escaping the fact that these folks know how to live, and we don't. Here in Mexico, 42% of the population is at the poverty line or below--a terrible statistic, in my opinion. And yet, the latest "world happiness survey" I read had Mexicans coming in as #5 (in the world, if I remember correctly) on the happiness scale. The US problem is having more and more and it never filling an infinite hole in the soul. All that money, all those toys, all that scrambling for "success," and what have we wound up with? A place with no community, few real friendships, and an agenda-driven life that ends in a meaningless death. You are one of the very few who saw that, and escaped. Felicidades.

BTW, when Americans ask me why I moved to Mexico, I tell them because it's less expensive. Money, they understand.

Enjoy, amigo-

mb

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi its John from Melbourne.

Speaking of colour, or rather the lack of it. I noticed a large well stocked mens clothing store in a large shopping mall the other day.

There was only six items in the entire store that were not entirely brown, grey, black or a very dull navy blue. A part from a few business shirts there was no white either.

Very depressing.

Male birds by comparison nearly always have brilliant coloured plumage.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

I recently visited Mexico for the first time with my sister and brother-in-law. We stayed with friends who permanently moved to San Miguel and love it there. It was everything you described -- friendly, gracious people, beautiful colours, wonderful plants and it felt like walking inside a painting when I was in the historic district of the Jardin. The drivers actually yielded to one another and didn't act like pedestrians were The Enemy. I was there five days and walked further into the outlying areas where the majority of the people live (not too many gringos)and it looked to me like the beautiful colours and landscaping were replaced by graffiti and empty lots with broken glass and trash. A maid "came with the house" and she could neither read nor write, her 16 year old daughter was due any day and she was apparently really lucky to have a job so prestigious as to be waiting on us hand and foot. I can understand why you love Mexico, there's alot to love, but the crushing poverty, almost serf-like existence for some people, lack of educational opportunities for the lower classes are every bit as chilling there as they are in the USA. There's no paradise here on earth, I guess, but I think it's a good idea if (as some of your readers have discussed)they decide to go to Mexico, Sweden or anywhere else, best to do it with your eyes open.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Susan,

Well, you are certainly correct: 42% of Mexicans live at the poverty line or below, and a good percentage of those from the indigena population. The fact that the US is itself turning into a Latin-American-style economy, with 1% of the population owning 47% of the wealth, and the top 0.1% owning a sizeable chunk of that, is certainly no comfort to me. Nor am I in the business of romanticizing poverty: it sucks, period, and the huge damage wrought by globalization, and fierce social inequality that exists on a worldwide basis, clearly present the greatest challenge to the human race rt now with the possible exception of overpopulation. (How either of these can be overcome is a whole other discussion, of course.) So no, Mexico is no paradise, and neither is the US. From what is available on the planet, the Scandanavian countries are probably doing the best job...tho I frankly wonder to what extent homogeneity of those societies is a key factor in their success (again, another discussion).

That being said, I can't help but marvel at how callous and hostile Americans are as a matter of course, and how gracious Mexicans are by contrast, whether rich or poor. A "world happiness poll" (conducted by Denmark, if I remember correctly) of a few yrs ago found Mexico #5 on the list, poverty notwithstanding. It makes you wonder.

When I lived in Washington DC, it was in an apt complex where the people treated each other like dirt, like they didn't exist. The place was filled with surveillance cameras; tenant complaints (and this was a condo) were completely ignored. Daily life was something akin to war; everyone was your enemy. You get the picture.

Recently I phoned a B&B in Boston to make a reservation. The woman at the desk was actually angry, for no reason at all: We have nothing, you should have called earlier, etc. No Mexican person would treat another Mexican person in such a way; behavior like that would be regarded as grotesque down here. North of the border, it's not all that unusual--which is kind of frightening, when you think about the larger implications of that sort of behavior.

Anyway, it's a complex picture.

-mb

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman, You're right, it's very complex. I heard from several people in Mexico that the crime rate is low in the small towns, in spite of the poverty rate, and I never felt at all uneasy walking around alone. It was fun to go to the Jardin at night and watch the bands perform, see children playing and the neighbors visiting. Yes, poverty sucks and poverty without community really, really sucks. And it was nice not to have security cameras on me every minute. It's no wonder everyone is so paranoid----we view each other as potential muggers, rapists and thieves kept only in line by the threat of being captured on camera. And I'm glad you've found so much happiness there and (after listening to your interview) have been so productive, too.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Susan,

Again, I don't want to romanticize poverty in any way, but I do think we should be aware that there is such a thing as spiritual poverty, and that ain't much fun either. In that category, if the US is not No. 1, it's pretty high on the list, I'm guessing.

mb

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Spiritual poverty---certainly in the long run---is much worse, I think. Your condo bldg in DC is the perfect example. I'm sure everyone living there had every"thing" they needed but it sounds like the most valuable (and free) experiences and traits had been purged from their lives. Simple good will and warmth add more to our lives, I think, than any amount of square feet, cars, flat screen TVs, etc., etc. Thanks, as always, for your response-----you're obviously busy and I appreciate the time you devote to this blog.

12:24 PM  
Blogger peijin said...

Dr. Berman, I haven't read any of your books (well, I had "Twilight" but lost it by accident), but the first thing that I thought of when reading this post is Ernest Becker. The "Denial of Death" was a Pulitzer Prize winning book in 1972, which means that *somebody* must have read it and liked it. But what cultural traction does it have now? I certainly don't think we can argue it has none because it's no longer relevant; in fact the opposite might be true.

I live in Shanghai but recently visited Europe, twice--Athens and Paris. In the latter two cities, history is omnipresent--and so is, in a way, death. Not in a morbid way but more in the way that you described wrt to Mexico. Whenever there are 2 numbers on either side of a hyphen eg 1903-1988, you are reminded of your own mortality. You see that on street signs in Paris named after famous people. Agoras and temples in Athens have similar effect on me. Shanghai doesn't have a long history but China does--and yet most of its constantly effaced by the push towards modernization. "Home" for me is Orange County, California, where I, at age 31, am literally older than most of the buildings and roads there. There is an essential hubris to this, which, at least personally, makes it hard for me to live in these places and feel completely anchored. It's probably one of the reasons why I am hesitant about returning to the US to live as well.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Peijin,

You know more about this than I, but the impression I get from all my reading is that China is engaged in a hectic scramble for consumerism and the accumulation of huge wealth in the hands of a few. Check out my "China" section in the final chapter of DAA, see if you think I've got it right. It seems like the country is basically the US in Mandarin.

Thanks for the input, in any case-

mb

9:59 AM  
Blogger Wendy Koenigsmann said...

I have a love/hate relationship with other Americans. I want to like them and respect them as human beings, but everything they do, say, or how they treat me in the end belies any compassion I may have had to begin with. The only thing I can say, regrettably is, Americans really are like the "sub-human" robots that you mention in your book. They have no IDEA who they are or what they really think, and they are totally out of touch with their emotions. By the way, your ideas remind me a lot of Colin Wilson and Hermann Hesse, who were "outsiders" in their own society.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Wendy,

You should see how they behave in a small Mexican town, where American behavior stands out like a sore thumb. In the US, since everybody is doing some version of I'm No. 1, it tends to be invisible. But down here, the strutting, the posturing, the I'm Important--it becomes difficult to hide (not that they are trying). I watch Mexicans being gracious to one another, as a natural part of their culture, and then think back to the "autistic hostility" that was my daily fare when I lived north of the border--no comparison, amiga.

Thanks for writing-

mb

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Mr. Berman,

I think that this thread is on to something. Denmark was voted #1 in the world,(happiness) and it wasn't based on money. They say that moving from poverty to $30,000 a year will make you happier, but any additional money will not equal more happiness. Interestingly enough the Danes were the happiest because their expectations for life are much lower than those in the U.S. How many friends do I have in the U.S. who are envious or unhappy because they are not "rich." I try to tell them, but it is hard when we live in the "Matrix" and every show, message, ad, etc., tells you that you need to be rich to be happy. It is wrong, and this explains why poorer people in Brazil and Mexico are happier. The study also concluded that having more friends and close family connections was key. Bingo! Americans are lonely and gettig lonelier by the minute. I live in an affluent, lonely suburb, and no one knows anyone. I told my wife the other day that this must be the most isolating place on earth. Something went wrong, and this is not the America of the 1970s. My friend from Germany can't figure out where all the kids are. I don't know what to tell him. Do you think that this economic depression will ironically force Americans to reconnect with neighbors and relatives for help?

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Anon,

Yes, the coming depression will do that, but only for as long as it lasts. This was true of the last Depression (1930s), and was briefly true in the case of 9/11. But the overwhelming individualist ethos in this country is too powerful, and as I document in DAA, it shows up in every area of American life. It also goes back to the 1790s, so the possibility of enduring change is extremely unlikely. We would need a team of empathic doctors going door to door and giving every American a lobotomy, for things to really turn around; but then I suppose that wouldn't be very empathic. In a nutshell, we're doomed!

Thanks for writing-

mb

11:24 AM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

I just started reading Dark Ages America and it answers so many of my questions. It was the right book at the right time for me. I feel very uneasy about the future of the United States and your book has explained things that I could not put my finger on. I have been reading a lot about the fate of America and there are a lot of good books out there, but this one is so well written and speaks to the way things are in my life; the mall, no sense of community, the sense of fear to talk to people.
I am only finished with a few chapters but I felt the need to say thank you and well done.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Roxanne,

Many thanks for your kind comments, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book. There is no future for the US, really; the bell is tolling for us now, and there is no way out. Even Francis Fukuyama, a former neocon, recently said that the advantage of having Obama as president is that he will do a better job of presiding over our decline. In fact, the Wash Post did an article a few days ago showing that his foreign policy is basically the same as McCain's. And now we even have a certified clown as a VP candidate. (If you've never seen the film "Being There," now might be the time; book is pretty good as well.) We are by now a "procedural democracy," as Michael Sandel calls it; a shell of what we used to be. I recently got some secessionist literature from Vermont--folks trying to get VT to leave the (dis)Union. They make a good case, I tell you. (Thos H. Naylor, "Secession") For me personally (since I think secession is a very long shot at this point, and I'm too old to wait around), becoming an ex-pat has been the best solution; although I am occasionally sad that the country of my childhood has somehow come to this.

Peace,
mb

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your descriptions are biased or squed.Yes their are the stereotypically types somewhat the same but not really .The country is people after all and as a group this is a way that we are viewed but when you stop and talk to people as I do every day individuals don't fit your description.Leaders tend to become more interested in their jobs than yours and we allow other people to be responsible for our lives rather than ourselves because we are to busy or lazy to do these things for ourselves.Now we have little time that we are not working to survive and pay bills and that leaves the people we put in charge to tell us that they will take care of us and we should not worry .Your description could fit other countries as well as us England was a much bigger Empire for a longer time Spain was a much more violent country looking for gold they killed off entire cultures.Russia was much more paranoid and depressed and still is today.Stalin killed millions of his countrymen and his family members as well.Lenin as he lay dying said stop Stalin.We for sure are the solution and the problem we being all of mankind we create our own monsters and then try to kill them before they kill us.Frankenstein being the greatest story on that matter.God save us and love us for we can't do it for ourselves.None of us.

10:32 PM  

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