I found this over at “Mark’s blog”: the other day:

bq. p. 118: “Americans will go to almost any lengths to avoid sounding negative, pessimistic, or defeatist, even if it means being somewhat less than honest or candid. They try to stay away from topics they refer to as ‘downers’ and to stay out of conversations that ‘bring you down,’ as in down from the giddy heights of optimism and happiness. These topics include anything to do with evil or the dark side of human nature, which Americans either ignore or try to explain away, anything that suggests failure, defeat, or any kind of setback – especially with death, the ultimate setback – or anything to do with limits or limitations, such as reasons why something cannot be done, should not be tried, or is impossible.”

What does it say about American culture when a statement of this kind needs to be included in a travel guide for those coming to our country? Apparently, America really _is_ the feel-good nation of the world, where everything we do is aimed toward making ourselves feel better about our position in life and about our place in the world.

But then again, we already knew that. We’re the nation that preaches a brand of tolerance that forbids anyone else from introducing viewpoints that might conflict with these little universes we have constructed around ourselves. We’re the nation with the highest quality forms of entertainment so that we can escape the trials and hardships of life and feel better for a little while. We are a people of non-truth because relative truth makes it easier for us to create the kind of world we really want to live in.

People are not evil – they are inherently good, and those who stray to acts of evil are nothing more than products of their abusive environments. We do not fail at anything – it is always someone else’s fault when things go wrong because we absolutely know beyond doubt that we are both deserving of success in everything we do and also skilled enough to achieve success. There are no limits in life because truly if we set our minds to something, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

All myths. All lies we Americans tell ourselves because the act of facing the truth – that people really are evil at the core, requiring grace to overcome that inherent dark nature; that failure is a fact of life and that we ourselves are very often the cause of our own failures; that life is fraught with limitations and that, in many cases, just because we set our minds to accomplish something, we will never ever accomplish because we simply haven’t the ability; that, yes, we will all one day die and pass from this mortal coil – is too horrifying for us to contemplate. Somehow, the American culture has come to the conclusion that it is our right to be happy all the time and that real life has no right to infringe upon that happiness. Well, the _truth_ is that life is hard, and it is often very painful. No amount of denial or redefinition of truth will ever change that fact, no matter how hard we try to do so.

Time to face up to the facts, folks. It’s apparent that the rest of world realizes our culture lives in a cloud of delusion. Time we did so, as well. And once you’ve done this, go seek out some Christians. I can guarantee you they can tell you about a hope that makes it possible to face the world’s evil and darkness with strength and courage.

3 thoughts on “Self-myth”

  1. wow. right-frickin’ on.
    That which you speak of is the exactly where the *actual* good news needs to be communicated into. thereby, the ‘softening up’ process is one of getting them to admit the ways which these things *are* myths.
    Talk about a hard thing to accomplish, being surrounded by everyone telling you not to.. I guess it’s the rebel in me that likes the good news :)

  2. How true is this. This is why it’s so hard to spread the Gospel to Americans b/c they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to hear that their own darkness is their responsibility and that they really can’t do anything about it. They also don’t want to be told that their own worldview is wrong. We create a world of tolerance not because we think it’s intrinsically right, but because that way nobody can tell us we’re wrong. How hypocritical!

  3. Good post, Jim. Everyday, I see commercials for antidepressants. If we were such a happy bunch, why are they necessary?

    Mike: Regarding your statement about our dark sides and taking responsibility for them, I disagree. Most of us have a choice in how we behave.

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