Saturday, September 6, 2008
Why We Hate Us
A paradox that bewilders me: America today. How can we be so affluent, so able to instantly satisfy any need, no real concerns over having enough food or clothing or shelter, and yet be so miserable?
Why We Hate Us addresses this paradox. Here's what I took away from this book:
The biggest problem seems to be that people have no real connections. Almost half of America feels isolated. And our lives are shallow, not deep. A quote from the book:
"With all our riches and freedoms, we have assembled what we thinly call 'lifestyles'---assemblages of recreation, work, consumer goods, freely chosen beliefs, family arrangements, and a great deal of media. Our new arrangements are not providing the nourishment we need, the warm relationships and ready guides. The older, connective tissues of American life are fraying, and the new, artificial ones are weak."
I had to put this book down several times. It was horribly depressing. But it addresses a very important question: Why is it that we live in the most affluent society that has ever existed yet we are not pleased with ourselves? Like most books of this sort, the author spends twenty chapters addressing the problem and one tiny chapter offering solutions.
One of the author's strongest recommendations is to limit media. I agree. I gave up tv three years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.