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 The American Dream from a Nepali's Perspective
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Posted on 10-03-12 9:40 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Seen many people discuss their desires to go back to Nepal. This is an interesting perspective

29 April 2009

In today’s globalized world, although we may separate ourselves as Nepali and American, our lives are intermixed. In that context, one of my Nepali friends once said, "If you're still seeing the American dream, you must be sleeping." 

I have heard people question where such rampant greed in modern society comes from. They say it’s unconscious greed, although I don't know just how unconscious the source of greed is. I think it's just good old insecurity. In history, different people in different cultures have responded to insecurity in different ways. Insecurity has been expressed as paranoia, arrogance and defiance, in terms of social traits. In modern society, we have just chosen to express it as greed—finding security in the world of material possessions. The modern propaganda goes: earning money by hook or crook is the way to find security, love and happiness. The panacea to all of life’s problems is ‘material symbolism’ as promoted by the Church of Multi-National Corporate Culture (COMNCC).

Corporate evangelists 
It’s quite understandable why people would respond to the ‘spiritual calling’ of corporate culture with such force. Dedicated corporate evangelists religiously appear to inspire us during commercial breaks. The amount of energy and charisma they put into their advertisements make me shake in rapture. Each corporate evangelist wants us to join their particular church. Ah, so many choices of spiritual discipline to join, so little time and money. 

The economic bear 
Of course, you can’t have a church without also having a devil to be against. In modern COMNCC, the devil is portrayed as 'the bear.' The bear is the global economy that is very hungry and chomping at our heels. This bear is what everyone is supposed to run away from by not falling behind in the rat race. This global economy is all devouring and never satisfied. We all fear being eaten alive by the bottomless pit of the stomach of the economic bear. This bedtime story is told in many different shapes and forms on many channels of the media.

The effects of the bedtime story on us kids
Every kindergartner knows that a good bedtime story needs to have a good moral. What is a good story without a moral right? The moral of the bedtime story of the economic bear is that we should feel shame and guilt. We don’t need to personally feel shame and guilt, but since we know that the story is told in every household across the nation and the world, when we talk to someone at a party, we feel that they are judging us based on where we stand in relation to the chomping bear. Pretty clever, huh? We fear being detested and rejected by those around us because we aren’t good enough for their friendship. We fear not being loved by the people we identify with because we are not seen to be deserving. We fear being laughed at because the wealth we own does not match up to the ‘acceptable’ standards of those around us. So we find ourselves constantly comparing our own economic standing in relationship to others. In such an environment, each person fears having less than the people around them. 

The fastest rat in the race wins 
It’s like that story of the two friends who are being chased by a bear. One friend runs faster than the other feeling that he doesn’t need to outrun the bear, he only needs to outrun his friend. The lesson is that in order to be saved by the bear, we need to make sure we are surrounded by people who are weaker and run slower than we do.

There are two options to play this game of the economic bear chasing you with gnashing teeth:

1) Either learn to run faster than the other people around you. Afford to buy yourself and your loved ones ‘Nike’ shoes, pain killers, muscle cream, plenty of Gatorade and other performance enhancers. This is the option taken up by developed nations.

2) Or trip the guy next to you.

In developed nations, where there are lots of opportunities, you learn to run faster. In under-developed nations, where there aren’t a lot of opportunities, you learn to smile in front of people but to drag them down when no one is looking. In essence, you learn to be Manipulative Mike. This is why there is rampant corruption and back biting amongst people in under-developed nations. 

Making economic progress 
The statistics say that about 5% of the world's population owns 60% of the wealth in the world.

In a global economy, if the top 5% of the world, whom the rest of the world either directly or indirectly works for, wants to motivate the middle 60% to work harder, what do they do?

Well, it's easy. You give the bear steroids.

The faster the bear on steroids runs, the faster everyone else runs in fear. The faster everyone else runs in the ‘rat race’, the more electricity (money) is generated for the top 5%. The economic bear serves as a great motivating force for the electricity generating rats. It’s the law of the jungle folks, plain and simple. 

So why aren’t the top 5% happy? 
Things in this world being relative, even wealth up top is quite relative. So what do the most competitive people do when they reach the very top? Well shoot, what else would you do? You compete some more with the people you were trying to reach. Believe it or not, but billionaires do take the time to envy each other’s yachts and art collections and aspire to one-up each other the next time they meet.

Where does that leave the rest of us? 

All that running leaves us tired and hating ourselves for being ‘inadequate.’ It also leaves a lot of us afraid that we won’t be able to outrun the bear in our old age. That is a great motivating force for a lot of us pouring money into our nest eggs for our old age. We spend the prime 50-60 years of our lives preparing and worrying about the last 10-20 years of our lives, instead of following our passions and our dreams. This also prevents us from being there for people who need us the most. 

Greed 
And what about greed, that all-devouring and never satiated being? Can that be satisfied too? Yes, I believe so. I believe that the source of greed is the objectification of people. Its cure then would be to identify with the unlimitedness that comes from spirit—being ‘greedy’ for relationships and for loving and playing with others. I believe real satisfaction comes from finding intimacy by identifying with unlimited ‘goods’ instead limited ‘goods’. Unlimited goods are beauty, truth, goodness, joy, care, love, knowledge. These are things that the more we share, the more we have. I feel that if yours, mine and the rest of the world’s focus was more on the unlimited, then the limited would be seen in perspective. 

I’m a dreamer. And that’s my American dream.


 
Posted on 10-04-12 7:59 AM     [Snapshot: 261]     Reply [Subscribe]
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A nicely written article:
I liked this part :
We spend the prime 50-60 years of our lives preparing and worrying about the last 10-20 years of our lives, instead of following our passions and our dreams. This also prevents us from being there for people who need us the most. 
 


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