American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?…

Posted on September 14, 2010 by rockingjude

By: Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, is the author of severalbooks including the best sellers War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. . . .

The United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or John Edwards, enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class.

The virtues that sustain a nation-state and build community, from honesty to self-sacrifice to transparency to sharing, are ridiculed each night on television as rubes stupid enough to cling to this antiquated behavior are voted off reality shows. Fellow competitors for prize money and a chance for fleeting fame, cheered on by millions of viewers, elect to “disappear” the unwanted. In the final credits of the reality show America’s Next Top Model, a picture of the woman expelled during the episode vanishes from the group portrait on the screen. Those cast aside become, at least to the television audience, nonpersons. Celebrities that can no longer generate publicity, good or bad, vanish. Life, these shows persistently teach, is a brutal world of unadulterated competition and a constant quest for notoriety and attention.

Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. We believe, after all, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Those who lose deserve to be erased. Those who fail, those who are deemed ugly, ignorant or poor, should be belittled and mocked. Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, the prisons and the soup kitchens.

It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Michael Jackson, from his phony marriages to the portraits of himself dressed as royalty to his insatiable hunger for new toys to his questionable relationships with young boys, had all these qualities. And this is also the ethic promoted by corporations. It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, mistaken for individualism, are the same as democratic equality. It is the nationwide celebration of image over substance, of illusion over truth. And it is why investment bankers blink in confusion when questioned about the morality of the billions in profits they made by selling worthless toxic assets to investors.

We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous. Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. It is this perverted ethic that gave us investment houses like Goldman Sachs … that willfully trashed the global economy and stole money from tens of millions of small shareholders who had bought stock in these corporations for retirement or college. The heads of these corporations, like the winners on a reality television program who lied and manipulated others to succeed, walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and compensation. The ethic of Wall Street is the ethic of celebrity. It is fused into one bizarre, perverted belief system and it has banished the possibility of the country returning to a reality-based world or avoiding internal collapse. A society that cannot distinguish reality from illusion dies.

The tantalizing illusions offered by our consumer culture, however, are vanishing for most citizens as we head toward collapse. The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The jobs we are shedding are not coming back, as the White House economist Lawrence Summers tacitly acknowledges when he talks of a “jobless recovery.” The belief that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the accumulation of vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others is exposed as a fraud. Freedom can no longer be conflated with the free market. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.

America is sinking under trillions in debt it can never repay and stays afloat by frantically selling about $2 billion in Treasury bonds a day to the Chinese. It saw 2.8 million people lose their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8,000 people a day – and stands idle as they are joined by another 2.4 million people this year. It refuses to prosecute the Bush administration for obvious war crimes, including the use of torture, and sees no reason to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus. Its infrastructure is crumbling. Deficits are pushing individual states to bankruptcy and forcing the closure of everything from schools to parks. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have squandered trillions of dollars, appear endless. There are 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of Americans in a category called “near poverty.” One in eight Americans – and one in four children – depend on food stamps to eat. And yet, in the midst of it all, we continue to be a country consumed by happy talk and happy thoughts. We continue to embrace the illusion of inevitable progress, personal success and rising prosperity. Reality is not considered an impediment to desire.

When a culture lives within an illusion it perpetuates a state of permanent infantilism or childishness. As the gap widens between the illusion and reality, as we suddenly grasp that it is our home being foreclosed or our job that is not coming back, we react like children. We scream and yell for a savior, someone who promises us revenge, moral renewal and new glory. It is not a new story. A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually, emotionally and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans and will usher America into a new dark age. It was the economic collapse in Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in Tsarist Russia that opened the door for Lenin and the Bolsheviks. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to loudmouth talk show hosts, whom we naïvely dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal. And as in all totalitarian societies, those who do not pay fealty to the illusions imposed by the state become the outcasts, the persecuted.

The decline of American empire began long before the current economic meltdown or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It began before the first Gulf War or Ronald Reagan. It began when we shifted, in the words of Harvard historian Charles Maier, from an “empire of production” to an “empire of consumption.” By the end of the Vietnam War, when the costs of the war ate away at Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and domestic oil production began its steady, inexorable decline, we saw our country transformed from one that primarily produced to one that primarily consumed. We started borrowing to maintain a level of consumption as well as an empire we could no longer afford. We began to use force, especially in the Middle East, to feed our insatiable thirst for cheap oil. We substituted the illusion of growth and prosperity for real growth and prosperity. The bill is now due. America’s most dangerous enemies are not Islamic radicals but those who sold us the perverted ideology of free-market capitalism and globalization. They have dynamited the very foundations of our society. In the 17th century these speculators would have been hung. Today they run the government and consume billions in taxpayer subsidies.

As the pressure mounts, as the despair and desperation reach into larger and larger segments of the populace, the mechanisms of corporate and government control are being bolstered to prevent civil unrest and instability. The emergence of the corporate state always means the emergence of the security state. This is why the Bush White House pushed through the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the suspension of habeas corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” warrantless wiretapping on American citizens and the refusal to ensure free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting. The motive behind these measures is not to fight terrorism or to bolster national security. It is to seize and maintain internal control. It is about controlling us.

And yet, even in the face of catastrophe, mass culture continues to assure us that if we close our eyes, if we visualize what we want, if we have faith in ourselves, if we tell God that we believe in miracles, if we tap into our inner strength, if we grasp that we are truly exceptional, if we focus on happiness, our lives will be harmonious and complete. This cultural retreat into illusion, whether peddled by positive psychologists, by Hollywood or by Christian preachers, is magical thinking. It turns worthless mortgages and debt into wealth. It turns the destruction of our manufacturing base into an opportunity for growth. It turns alienation and anxiety into a cheerful conformity. It turns a nation that wages illegal wars and administers offshore penal colonies where it openly practices torture into the greatest democracy on earth. And it keeps us from fighting back.

Resistance movements will have to look now at the long night of slavery, the decades of oppression in the Soviet Union and the curse of fascism for models. The goal will no longer be the possibility of reforming the system but of protecting truth, civility and culture from mass contamination. It will require the kind of schizophrenic lifestyle that characterizes all totalitarian societies. Our private and public demeanors will often have to stand in stark contrast. Acts of defiance will often be subtle and nuanced. They will be carried out not for short term gain but the assertion of our integrity. Rebellion will have an ultimate if not easily definable purpose. The more we retreat from the culture at large the more room we will have to carve out lives of meaning, the more we will be able to wall off the flood of illusions disseminated by mass culture and the more we will retain sanity in an insane world. The goal will become the ability to endure…..

http://networkedblogs.com/7OIvj

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
By Chris Hedges
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Nation Books (2009)
ISBN: 9781568584379

If you’re looking for one of those treacly Oprah books—The Secret, and its variants—avoid this one. Those books nourish like potato chips and leave most people more confused, more desperate, more thirsty for fantasies than before. No amount of wishing, earnest yearning, visualizing and New Age mysticism is going to get us out of the morass we’re in. In Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges takes a sober look down our hall of distorting mirrors. The son of a minister, with a degree in theology from Harvard, a columnist for Truthdigger.com, Hedges has worked as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His books include War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists. He was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. Here are some of the pertinent facts he contemplates:

  • The top 1% of Americans now control more wealth than the bottom 90% combined.
  • World-wide porn revenues, including in-room movies at hotels, sex clubs, and the Internet, topped $97 billion in 2006—more than that of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflixs, and EarthLink combined.
  • The football coach is the University of California-Berkeley’s highest paid “employee”; he makes about $3 million a year. Nationwide, full-time faculty positions have been disappearing, replaced by adjunct positions, with itinerant instructors barely making living wages.
  • Collapsing and overwhelmed sewage systems release more than 40,000 discharges of raw sewage into our drinking water, streams and homes each year.
  • One-third of our schools are in such a severe state of disrepair that it interferes with the delivery of instruction.
  • We spend $8.9 billion on ICBM missile defense systems that would be useless in stopping a shipping container concealing a dirty bomb.
  • A family of 4 now pays about $12,000 a year in premiums for healthcare—up about 90 percent from 2000 to 2006. About 50 million Americans are uninsured; another 25 million are “under-insured.”
  • We have 2.3 million of our citizens behind bars. With less than 5% of the world’s popultion, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners (1/2 for non-violent drug crimes).

Any wonder there’s been a flight to fantasy? But, more profoundly, what’s the connection between fantasy and our decaying culture? How did we get here? Digging beneath the statistics, we find an increasing number of warm-blooded humans suffering like they never have before: lost in a world of promises broken; the American Dream of endless consumption and fulfillment–nightmarishly evinced.

“A culture that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion dies,” Hedges writes. “And we are dying now. … Those who cling to fantasy in times of despair and turmoil inevitably turn to demagogues and charlatans to entertain and reassure them. …” As bad as things are now—the disconnectedness, fragmentation, loneliness, im- and a-morality–we can extrapolate, interpret the trend lines, read history, and find worse to come. Hedges dissects “our cultural embrace of illusion and the celebrity culture that has risen up around it” in five comprehensive chapters:

The Illusion of Literacy
The Illusion of Love
The Illusion of Wisdom
The Illusion of Happiness
The Illusion of America

At his best, Hedges has a “true” journalist’s (i.e., the careful observer’s, the truth-digger’s) eye for detail, and a novelist’s ear and sense of flow. His book is a compilation of some of the best thinking on corporate power, the Corporate State, the decline of the American empire—deftly knitted together with wit and a lively writing style. (His chapter on the “Illusion of Love,” focusing on pornography, is both funny and poignantly sad.)

Empire begins with spectacle. We’re in a wrestling ring with jeering fans chanting at the villainous “tycoon” actor-wrestler, John Bradshaw Layfield: “You suck! You suck! You suck!” Layfield is pitted against the “Heartbreak Kid,” the crowd favorite, a working-class hero. “You lost your 401(k). You lost your retirement. … You lost your children’s education fund,” Layfield taunts the Kid and the audience. Then, he offers the Kid a job—working for him! All the Kid has to do is leave the ring. Humiliated, that’s just what the Kid does. And in their identification with their fallen hero, in their vicarious humiliation, the anger and resentment of the audience is stoked against the tycoon. They hunger for vengeance.

“The bouts are stylized rituals,” Hedges writes, “public expressions of pain and a fervent longing for revenge. The lurid and detailed sagas behind each bout, rather than the wrestling matches themselves, are what drive crowds to a frenzy. … And the most potent story tonight, the most potent story across North America, is one of financial ruin … and enslavement of a frightened and abused working class.” This mirroring of the “ emotional wreckage of the fans” is the “appeal of much of popular culture, from Jerry Springer to ‘reality television’ to Oprah Winfrey.” It succeeds “because we ask to be fooled.”

Celebrities become our “vicarious selves” who provide us with release from anonymity and drudgery—“ultimate fulfillment before death.”

Given his background, its no small wonder that Hedges would spend much of his book wrestling with the angel. “Morality is the product of a civilization,” he writes; but, in “a society that has less and less national cohesion, a society that has broken down into warlike and antagonistic tribes where ‘winning is all that matters,’ morality is seen as ‘irrelevant.’”

Ours is a culture of manipulation, one of “inverted totalitaianism.” Hedges borrows the phrase from Sheldon S. Wolin’s Democracy Incorporated. “Inverted totalitarianism,” Hedges writes, “unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the Corporate State. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, and the Constitution while manipulating internal levers. … Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but candidates must raise staggering funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists … who author the legislation. … Corporate media control nearly everything we read, or hear. It imposes a bland uniformity of opinion. It diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. …In classical totalitarian regimes … economics was subordinate to politics.” In America, economics is dominant.

“The fantasy of celebrity culture is not designed simply to entertain. It is designed to keep us from fighting back.” We need not stretch ourselves, I imagine. The hero of The Matrix will stretch for us. So will Plastic Man or Batman or Superman. In our culture of distractions and manipulations, Aldous Huxley “feared that what we love will ruin us.” Citing Neil Postman, he reproduces a dialectic between the authors of 1984 and Brave New World:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

I put it this way: We need not worry that Big Brother is watching us; we need worry about our dual fascinations with watching Big Brother—and with beingwatched! In fact, we’ve become a nation of double voyeurs: we watch people on “reality shows” who are being watched and monitored by the unblinking camera recording their humdrum lives.

We are what we eat and we’ve been eating a lot of baloney. It comes to us in various forms including the petrochemical-sprayed food we eat, the Big Pharma pills we take to keep us drugged, numb and complaisant. We watch our celebs gulping it and pitching it back at us. Our politicians sprinkle it with mustard and daub it with relish.

Conditioning. … Both those geniuses—George and Aldous–were trying to deal with it: the whole spectrum of the Propaganda State grown up around the theories of Edward Bernays—Freud’s nephew. They both understood the necessary concomitants of fear, repetition, tribal identity and group conformity. They gave it different expressions, but they grounded it in the imperative of psychological re-structuring and transformation. Orwell with the gut-wrenching fear of our worst chimeras; Huxley with mind-numbing lullabies to babies, easy, commitment-free sex from puberty onward, and lots of soma.

Hedges’ chapter on the “Illusion of Happiness” addresses the issue of psychological conditioning. It would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic. It has the same tenor of pathos as his chapter on sex, in which one enthusiast waxes eloquent about his $7500 anatomically correct silicone dolls. (He has eight, with removeable heads, and he exults over the simulated veins in the feet and the dorsal venous arch—“really, really cool.”)

The silicone pitch in academia is “positive psychology,” or what Professor Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve University calls, “Transformational Positivity.” According to the professor, “Institutions can be a vehicle for bringing more courage into the world, for amplifying love in the world … temperance and justice, and so on.”

And so on it goes. Just think positive. (Remember that Indian guru who beguiled the Beetles? “Just be happy!” ) All we need is “appreciative inquiry” in order to “transform organizations into ‘Positive Institutions’.”

Cooperrider is hardly alone. There are more than a hundred courses on positive psychology on college campuses. The University of Pennsylvania offers a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology, and Claremont Graduate University offers Ph.D. and M.A. concentrations in “The Science of Positive Psychology.” Such degree programs are also available in England, Italy and Mexico. They focus on “cultivating strengths, optimism, gratitude, and a positive perspective.” Think positively and positive things will happen. Sound familiar? Perhaps we should call such programs, “Becoming Oprah.”

Hedges lifts his lens high enough to kindle fire here: “The purpose and goals of the corporation are never questioned. To question them, to engage in criticism of the goals of the collective, is to be obstructive and negative. … If we are not happy, there is something wrong with us. Debate and criticism, especially about the goals and structure of the corporation, are condemned as negative and ‘counterproductive.’” And he’s a good pitbull here:

“Positive psychology is to the corporate state what eugenics was to the Nazis.” It’s a “quack science” that “throws a smokescreen over corporate domination, abuse, and greed.”

So, if you’re looking for treacle, look elsewhere.

My one cavil is with the ending of the book, the last part of the last chapter. Hedges can be polemical and he does repeat himself. The last chapter needs less polemicism and summary arguments. And I can’t help but wonder: What is the other side? Is there any way to avoid catastrophe? Perhaps an interview with one of those heroes whose names pepper this important book would have sharpened the quill: people like Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Father Roy Bourgeois, Kathy Kelly, Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Jim Hensen—what sustains them, keeps them going?

Also missing in action is Marshall McLuhan, whose Understanding Media of some forty years ago established the scientific foundation of critiquing the media—the mesmeric effect of mentally connecting pixiles; the alpha waves generated in a half-waking, half-sleeping state.

Morris Berman and Derrick Jensen have argued that we’re already past the “tipping point.” NASA scientist Jim Hensen says we should have started yesterday to bring down C02 levels or face global cataclysm.
In the last couple of pages, Hedges seems to pull his punches for a gentle caress: “No tyranny in history has crushed the human capacity for love,” he writes. “The mediocrities who mask their feelings of worthlessness and emptiness behind the façade of power and illusion, who seek to make us serve their perverse ideologies, fear most the power of love. … Love will endure, even if it appears darkness has swallowed us all, to triumph over the wreckage that remains.”

I don’t know. I’m not sure. The power of love is cold comfort to the corpses and the wasted lives. Love without wisdom, like freedom without wisdom, has caused as much mischief and grief as the genuinely malignant spirits and ideologies among us. Perhaps the overriding question now is how best to organize collective action against the tyranny of corporatism, the relentless pulsations of conformity. How do we return to a “literate, print-based world, a world of complexity and nuance, a world of ideas”?

One book cannot do it all, of course. Hedges has trained a brilliant light on our confused and murky, rather bizarre culture. In the last couple of pages he leaves us with another powerful idea, probably as good as love. He alludes to Rostand’s Cyrano: “The ability to stand as ‘an ironic point of light,’ that ‘flashes out wherever the just exchange their messages,’ is the ability to sustain a life of meaning.”

http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/08/the-end-of-literacy-and-the-triumph-of-spectacle/

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Comments

  • A Society Of The Microsoft’s, By The Pepsi’s And For The General Motors « If You Tolerate This… on September 14th, 2010

    [...] American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?&… (projectworldawareness.com) [...]

  • Lola Heavey on November 28th, 2010

    Chris Hedges is probably my favourite author. In fact I put this article in my website months ago. (http://churchandstate.org.uk/2010/07/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-distinguish-between-reality-and-illusion/)

    Another must read is Hedges’s article “The Cry of the Oppressed in America is being Successfully Organized by a Fascist Religious Right” at http://www.pubtheo.com/page.asp?PID=1580

  • Samantha on November 28th, 2010

    If religion never existed, people would not be so fucked up now :P We would actually be in a utopia right now. If there is anything to blame for having people NOT distinguish between reality and illusion, it is religion. When people stop buying into the SCAM that is every religion/cult (yes all religions ARE cults), and people stop believing in god/allah/zeus/harry potter (or whatever fictional character people think are real), then we will get back to reality and start actually LIVING our lives!

  • Mario on November 28th, 2010

    You should make a group of this on facebook so that we can follow the new things added.

  • Beverly on November 28th, 2010

    Another key contributor to this is the massive amount of psychotropic drugs the population is on. They are pretty much touted as the answer to everything from that pesky smoking to real psychiatric issues. It reminds me of the 50′s and “Mother’s Little Helper”… the rise of valium and librium.

  • Homo syntheticus on November 28th, 2010

    The Iraq war doesn’t seem endless. Why, the Russo-Sino allied Maliki stated that the Status of Forces Agreement declaring that all American military forces must vacate Iraq by December 31, 2011 will be abided by just the other day. Afghanistan is another matter, however.

  • Religion Gone Crazy on November 28th, 2010

    Great website and article. The bases of this article is directly related to our idea that religion itself is one of many root causes of the disintegration of a sane, rational society. Obviously, it has gained a foothold in the USA and it is bringing down the Empire one prayer, sermon, and evangelical “miracle” at a time.

  • Wayne C. on November 29th, 2010

    Right on. As a former atheist, I’ve been preaching this “gospel” my entire life. As one who was born again as a TRUE follower of Christ (and attacker of all religious behavior and ritual just as He taught me) I am inspired to see this dialogue finally leaking into the public consciousness. But to my “fellow” atheists, I hope you’ll pause long enough to save the baby from the bath water. Jesus hates religion more than you. He hates this corrupt 2 party system more than you, and He hates self indulgence and capitalism far worse than any American. He predicted this day with startling accuracy… if you read just the Gospels with fresh eyes, you will find a teacher who can lead the true rebellion. It worked for MLK Jr., it can work for us too. Think about it…. you want to destroy the Christian cults and the media that manipulates them? Then learn what Jesus REALLY taught and DEMANDED and you will have your enemies at the tip of your sword… as you will be speaking the words and doing the deeds that “their” GOD taught you to use AGAINST THEM. How can you lose? But if you continue rejecting the gospel of Christ as if it’s the product of these false religions… these demonic cults that take His name in vain… then you are playing right into their hands. It takes fire to fight fire… it takes the TRUTH about Jesus to tear down the institutions that have been falsely established in His name. Read Just the 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew and you’ll have all the evidence you need to start a revolution where “their” God is on OUR side, tearing down their institutions and idols and ignorance of the poor to justify self-worship. If you really want to defeat an empire, cut off its head and rip out its heart. In this battle, all we need do is correctly affix it’s head on our side of the war, as this is where His mind engages… not in religion… and correctly recognize His heart is already in our camp, for His heart is inclined only to those of use who hate religion and seek justice and mercy for the poor. Give the real Jesus a chance… for Christ’s sake, and for yours and your children’s. He’s no illusion… and I’m living proof.

  • dianne carry on November 29th, 2010

    there is a lot of truth to this – raw unadulterated truth – however if people wake up – if they can do more then click their heels and make a wish – we have a chance.

    nothing is engraved in stone – however – the longer we wait – the longer we take to wake up – the worse the night mare.

    so far NON of this is forced on us – we will reach that time if we refuse to awaken – when we will be forced to do so and it will be messy – much messier then it is now.

    we are drugged – it is a choice – to remain numb to have others define us for their profit and our loss – being a victim is a losing proposition.

  • rockingjude on November 29th, 2010

    Actually I would say sociopathic personality disorder in most of the world; especially at the upper levels of power is the root of most of the evil AROUND the WORLD…It is definitely not just an AMERICAN problem…
    By power I mean that those whom really control everything…They are never in the forefront or the news… Capitalism works fine when left alone… i.e.: No bailouts either one makes it or breaks it…Looking through history this pattern of management versus labor has been going on since the beginning of time, as has the issue of “cheap labor”… Cheap labor drives all else…That and the use of religion to start wars… Look above and beyond into the wider scope of The Powers To Beat…A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM….”TPTB” are bringing America to it’s knees…

    ~jude

    For a great look into history…besides this website which has almost 2000 articles archived is a fav of mine http://www.enterprisecorruption.com/

  • [...] of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, by Chris Hedgeshttp://www.amazon.com/Empire-Ill…More: http://projectworldawareness.com…Insert a dynamic date here  Allen Taylor, Call me The Eternal Observer 3 votes by Marc [...]

  • Dei Johnson on December 1st, 2010

    Wow. You had me at the first paragraph. VERY well said! What I’ve been saying, and what many of us can sense is all written right here. At least those of us who actually “think”. Frighteningly true.

  • rockingjude on December 1st, 2010

    Another great article which delves deeper into the root of evil is HERE: http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/11/political-ponerology-psychopathic-elite-evil/

    I object to the one-sided slant…that being said~read on
    ~jude

  • Lucifer on December 1st, 2010

    Its ALL an illusion. “Almost everything you have ever been told is a blatant Lie”
    William Cooper
    September Clues – http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6407548186293238834#
    http://s50.radikal.ru/i129/1005/4e/5b88bc34f89e.jpg
    http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/3121/twindronepm7.png
    http://excoboard.com/forums/16186/user/121352/183196.jpg

  • Lucifer on December 1st, 2010

    and in defense of so called Christianity, the Judaic religion that our fighting men are dying for nothing, over in the Middle East, is THE most war like religion; with the extermination of Palestinians. Zionists have become the perfect Nazis. But Nooo, you cant write about that . . . Jesus was correct when he called them , “Liars Murderers and Thieves” Jews and Zionists have become the biggest crime syndicate of all time, but you cant write about it because their existence depends on the complete utter ignorance and “implied guilt” of the goyim that they prey on. But you can sit here and slam Christians all day long.
    The history books were written by the victors; the pharisee scribes. THATS why everything is an illusion. All our wars for at least the last century have been predicated on Lies.

  • rockingjude on December 1st, 2010

    Lucifer… http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/11/the-original-sin/

    ~jude

  • wikileaks: the diplomacy dump. - Page 2 - Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community on December 2nd, 2010

    [...] be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?&… __________________ a gramophone its corrugated trumpet silver handle spinning dog. such [...]

  • Interview: James Howard Kunstler — Transition Voice on December 2nd, 2010

    [...] In Kunstler’s view, it’s “because we are a politically puerile nation composed of people who understand little, routinely vote against their own real interests, and believe in things that are inconsistent with reality.” [...]

  • [...] American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion? – It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Michael Jackson, from his phony marriages to the portraits of himself dressed as royalty to his insatiable hunger for new toys to his questionable relationships with young boys, had all these qualities. And this is also the ethic promoted by corporations. It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, mistaken for individualism, are the same as democratic equality. It is the nationwide celebration of image over substance, of illusion over truth. And it is why investment bankers blink in confusion when questioned about the morality of the billions in profits they made by selling worthless toxic assets to investors.” [...]

  • [...] The article continues here. [...]

  • Victoria on December 9th, 2010

    Great article & I agree with pretty much everything that’s said here. When we awaken from giving our power to all of these illusions, we have the opportunity to connect with our authentic self. It’s hiding under all of that narcissism and our lives are the message we’re looking for. I made the transition to a simpler, more authentic life myself many years ago. I wouldn’t change it for anything…it feels too good.
    We DO have to take responsibility for our decisions before we can hope for a better world. I believe this is not only possible…it will happen if events continue on their present path. It’s time to stop disassociating from the results of our actions…and make peace with ourselves & our lives, and how we affect the”whole”. This problem lives in unconsciousness, and can be healed by bringing awareness to what needs to be done aka… We are NOT our “stuff”.

    “Man is no longer able to master the world which he himself brought about: it is becoming stronger than he is, it is winning free of him, it confronts him in an almost elemental independence, and he no longer knows the word which could subdue and render harmless the golem he has created … Man faced the terrible fact that he was the father of demons whose master he could not become.”

    ~Martin Buber
    (1878-1965)

  • Jeffrey Salinger on December 20th, 2010

    It’s the damn currency that is the problem, not our values. Money as debt has failed us. It is only a matter of time until we demand time based currency and out of this debt-slavery.

    Fantastic article, by the way.

  • American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… | Because Politics Suck on December 20th, 2010

    [...] [...]

  • Jackie on December 20th, 2010

    And those of us who are not on psychotropic drugs, don’t believe in the myths, have never watched reality TV, care about those less fortunate, do not watch/listen to talk show hosts or Fox news, and have been growing more and more terrified of what America as descended into in our wide awake, totally aware state, what about us? We are used to using our intelligence to solve problems, and suddenly it is turned against us. Liberal has become an epithet.

  • rockingjude on December 20th, 2010

    I wouldn’t consider myself liberal, however like you don’t do any of the above…unlike you, probably, I died in an accident, came back very incapacitated with THI/TBI/broken neck…having to relearn life all over again and being sent back with certain “gifts”…One being that I can feel and look into the future…I sense things that haven’t happened…can read a room…and post articles that nobody finds till months after I’ve posted them…I, by the way, do not author these although I will offer commentary…rather I scour the net along with others to try and form a picture for those aware enough to see it…I so appreciate the comments here and thank you all for participating…We have entered into a time that few are totally aware of its’ singular importance in the outcome of not only mankind’s destiny but that of our planet’s also…I hope and pray every day that we as a people awaken to the truth of the manipulation and harm being done to us…

    ~jude

  • Anonymous on December 21st, 2010

    [...] [...]

  • rockingjude on December 21st, 2010

    Some nice points made from that board…although I think it is all going to happen much sooner than we all think…

    http://tinyurl.com/26wlfj8
    just an idea..needs ironing out..lots…jmo

    ~jude

  • [...] World Awareness http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-di… Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… [...]

  • [...] originally discovered the book in the Project World Awareness blog. Here is a more official link: [...]

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by rockingjude. rockingjude said: American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… http://j.mp/eWr1ga [...]

  • [...] that we should drop all possessions, but it’s time we consider where that culture has got us. It’s practically killed the United States. The US has become so consumption driven that it’s outsourced almost all manufacturing to [...]

  • Jello Biafra on January 16th, 2011

    Zionism and Jews are in controll of everything the banks, wars etc. In response to a comment this page would innevitably attract. Classic schizophrenic psychosis, you believe you are being controlled and there is an elaborate conspiracy and instead of secret messages from the television or radio instead you would say the conspirators (Jews) control the media and everything is a lie and in this way takes the form of a message. If it wast the Jews it would be the Illuminati, Freemasons or Lizard Men.

  • Max on March 18th, 2011

    OK. So … now what.
    I agree my culture is SICK and nonsustainable.
    What’s next?
    Run to the Hills? Sailboat?
    Emigrate? How/Where?

    What are y’all’s plans and epiphanies?

  • American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… | Project World Awareness « Tenacious on March 20th, 2011

    [...] [...]

  • rockingjude on March 21st, 2011

    Stand and fight~

    ~jude #pwa

  • American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… « samadhisoft.com on May 16th, 2011

    [...] More… use the icons below to set links to articles you [...]

  • [...] [...]

  • [...] that if our government ever grows so corrupt, so anti-democratic in its approach (though some, like Christopher Hedges, already argue this is a reality), they will have effectively created a hidden internet through [...]

  • [...] that if our government ever grows so corrupt, so anti-democratic in its approach (though some, like Christopher Hedges, already argue this is a reality), they will have effectively created a hidden internet through [...]

  • [...] World Awareness http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-di… Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… [...]

  • [...] [...]

  • American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… | Tuffie.com on December 16th, 2011

    [...] [...]

  • Jen Davis on December 17th, 2011

    Say it louder!!! xo

  • Makali on December 17th, 2011

    This article is pretty much on the money. The reality (actually non-reality) TV shoes are just one of many signs that support the author’s assertions.

    Look at the illegal actions of the congress and the office of the president over the past 40 years or so. Look at how there are no longer any real ethics involved, at how the idea of “conflict of interest” no longer exists and how the race for money is the sole consideration for any candidate to run for office. It is the pursuit of money for its own sake that is behind most of it.

    Remove the money from the politics and enforce the law at all levels, giving no exceptions to any elected officials, and maybe, just maybe the USA will have a chance to survive. At it stands now, we have only a limited time remaining as a nation. History has shown and proven that many times over and we in the USA are no exception.

    As the old saying goes; “What goes around, comes around” and as it comes around it comes back 1000 fold. We all will be squashed under it like so many insignificant insects.

  • [...] At least CEOs do something useful. But they aren’t our pets, like celebrities or CEOs who make iPods are. In fact, CEOs are boring and removed from our daily experience. The mob that forms the vast intersection of our public has no interest in such functional, drag, utilitarian and yet necessary roles. It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. – “American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and ill… [...]

  • WHY ARE AMERICANS SO NUCKING FUTS? on December 19th, 2011

    [...] Our crumbling empire is driving us crazy. (HT: Advocatus Diaboli) Published: December 19, 2011 Leave a Comment Name: Required [...]

  • Today 12/19/11 musings « Cierra on December 19th, 2011

    [...] http://www.projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-canno… [...]

  • Raven on December 19th, 2011

    Wow…such negativity. Is there no one here with something positive to say? Guess I’ll be the only one….mother earth is a beautiful place to live. Stop focusing on the negative things in life and begin working within your own small sphere to bring peace, positivity and cooperation with one another. Start with yourself…be the change you want to see….and then extend it out to family and friends. It’ll spread, and is spreading.

  • 2012 is Love and War | Jonathan Dickinson on December 21st, 2011

    [...] A recent article by Chris Hedges, denounces the American psychosis most poignantly manifested in a culture which finds its end in celebrity. Centuries ago young men would dream about pursuing freedom by exploring the endlessness of the open ocean. Now that daydream fantasy has projected itself into the competitive capitalist marketplace of fame, which exalts and crucified the human ego and personality. Those who benefit from celebrity culture feed of the fears and insecurities of the rest of the world, many of whom have been falsely duped into the impression that fame is a morality with value in and of itself. [...]

  • [...] By Chris Hedges. Hat tip to LJP. [...]

  • Dan Shays on December 27th, 2011

    The criminality of the ruling class, i.e. government, is what makes all of this possible.

  • Dan Shays on December 27th, 2011

    “t is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt.”

    Sounds a lot like 0bama.

  • Dan Shays on December 27th, 2011

    I am able to bring myself to agree with the premise of this article, despite the author’s obvious bias toward and letting off the hook of 0bama and his party as culpable in this disaster!

  • [...] -CONTINUED- Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a Comment Leave a Comment so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI [...]

  • Charles Jannuzi on December 31st, 2011

    Right, so Bush-Cheney should be tried for war crimes because of torture but not for causing the death of hundreds of thousands. Talk about pulling your punches. But he does sound better than that world is flat idiot, Friedman.

  • Lightningman on January 2nd, 2012

    Provocative view and largely correct: corporate power is like letting dinosaurs romp across our world. They are programmed to get bigger, control more, and suck life from little living things… like you. (They exist merely to make money for owners, and don’t face personal old age and death, just death by being absorbed by a stronger dinosaur.) And the root toxic corporation is the banks of issue, namely the chief conspired* one, the US privately run Fedral Reserve.

    A “bank” has a tremendous power (granted by states, by politicians long ago bought) to take an amount of money (its owner’s seed fund plus money it can borrow from depositors) and lend out much more money (at interest of course) via fractional reserve banking. Given this huge advantage over real persons (and non-bank coporations), they dominate what ypes of loans will be made – increasingly to ones that CONFORM to their models, and plans for malls, etc. They much prefer franchine and branch operations to novice ideas. They will crush unconformists, especially if open enemies of Rothschilds who began the scam. On the Us bank scam see “The Creature from Jekyll Island” A Second Loook at the Federal Reserve” by G Edward Griffin, by American Media (a press office tht got anthraxed a few years ago when that fear was in vogue.)

    Here are some solutions to push for. (Paid politicians will ignore you, naturally.)

    End the “bank” system. Take them all over, and end all interest payments. Fro that point on, money “interest” is your interest in doing somthing, not what rate you’ll get paid. Turn all bank deposts into printed cash, and pay all folks their money in banks (including term depoists, bonds). So the money supply has not increased; thus no inflation spike. But from now on you yourself loan money, not via a bank. Your judgemnet on what needs to be done is over that of bankers. From then on a “bank” merely holds or trandfers money (for fees), but it does not lend money. This would disempower bankers and money itself.

    Also abolish the central banks like Fed Res. End interest to it. (About 44% of Us fed budget income goes to pay interest. End this horrible drain! Abolish income tax… well, after also highly taxing imports from cheap labor places like CHINA.

    A protective tarrif would means we’d need to start making our own things again! It would be profitabl for locals to do so! Then. form a work groups with others you know and start units to do some productive industrial thing. Work in small groups (under 50) who know each other. Call a work-group a SEGMENT, owned by the workers starting it. Using their own money and assets. No “coporation” is neded that grows to dinosaurs. (Dissovle large industries into parts, each divided until you get ot SEGMENT sized units.) Then you have no CEO with incentive to screw folks to show hug profits so he can make huge bonuses. There would be no stock market to cruise up/down on every rumor!

    And demand a liquidation of large coporations, especially market traded ones, in which their only goal is to suck out profits and screw workers & customers, by having a too abundant labor supply (AIDED BY ILLEGAL ALIENS, remove them!) and a monopolistic control of some industry or sales outlets.

    By eliminating banks and traded corporations or large ones with “global” goals of conquest, you eliminate the ABILITY of many top $ miscreants to function!

    But mere economic LOCALIZATION is not enough, we must really learn the laws God gave us, and DO THEM. (They empower the called ones!) That is another topic. We must repudiate manmade law (and its phoney money/debt) and form separating communities (trading with each other), out of “babylon.”
    Revelation 18 describes this order with exciting instructions. But this stuff is almost totally ignored by commercial churching (govt licensed and limited!)

    I saw a stepwise plan to begin marking foods conforming to God’s Laws [free of false “jewsand their “kosher” racket) and then expand to other activities and more intensively follw Godlaw, for example laws on money/interest. It is at

    http://www.crhistmarkview.webs.com

    So I disagree with some writers here who blame “religion” for stupid unreality, except for “religion” that is commercialized Christianity – the major form! – and other lies, like democracy and dollarism and corporativism… all “religions.”

    Even without going into Scripture and prohecy orders, the simple fact is we must destroy false money/banking systems (with a Rothschild Jew core of banksters running the $ and media show), repudiate manmade laws (secular state), and liquidate sharklike “corporations” to swim freer. It can be imposed if we get one vision and angry enough to force it. (The 2011 “Occupy” folks lack clarity. Soon “left” manipulators for banks/corporations will dominate “Occupy.” They are adept talkers and always infiltrate potentially disruptive groups.)

  • Davis on January 2nd, 2012

    This is for Samantha–it is not religion that is the problem–it is the perversion of religion that is a problem. When a person or people take control of a religion and manipulate it to gain a following and work for their own selfish needs,that’s when the Hell on earth and problems begin.That’s the danger of religion. You want a nation without religion? Then you’ll get cruel heartless regimes like the ones in the old Soviet Union and the current and past regimes of China, with their total disregard for human life.

  • American Psychosis on January 3rd, 2012

    [...] [...]

  • rockingjude on January 9th, 2012

    Very nicely written Lightningman~

  • [...] World Awareness http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-di… Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… [...]

  • [...] World Awareness http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-di… Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… [...]

  • [...] The United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or John Edwards, enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class: here. [...]

  • [...] http://projectworldawareness.com/2010/09/american-psychosis-what-happens-to-a-society-that-cannot-di… American Psychosis: What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

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  • [...] American Psychosis: What Happens to a Society that Cannot Distinguish Between Reality and Illusion? [...]

  • [...] Charlie Rose, Project World Awareness, Collective Evolution, The New [...]

  • […] The United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or John Edwards, enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class:here. […]

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