American Dream

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I'm not too sure about what the American Dream is... I think it has to do with recognizing and actualizing opportunity. And the fact that anyone can do it.

I think its a really grand idea!

It seems to have sprouted from the suppressive effect of the Feifdoms and Landlords of the English, German and Italian traditions. America offered an escape from the tyranny of these traditions and people went for it.

What's your idea of the American Dream?
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Originally posted by quantumcarl
I'm not too sure about what the American Dream is... I think it has to do with recognizing and actualizing opportunity. And the fact that anyone can do it.

What's your idea of the American Dream?
Thats pretty much it. The main problem with it is that it is such an extrordinary thing that many (most?) people don't believe it is possible and make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.
 
  • #3
I'm going to try to live the American Dream. I think that I have the skills to do it. However, I think that it's not possible for everyone to "live the American Dream", because that usually involves being famous or having well above average wealth..which, both of which, by definition, cannot apply to everyone.
 
  • #4
GENIERE
For some of us, wealth has nothing to do with living the American Dream. In retrospect, the financial worst of times was the best of times(Apologies to Dickens).

Rgeards
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Dissident Dan
However, I think that it's not possible for everyone to "live the American Dream", because that usually involves being famous or having well above average wealth..which, both of which, by definition, cannot apply to everyone.
I don't believe that being famous is part of the American Dream. And if everyone were a millionaire, "average wealth" would be a million dollars.
 
  • #6
BoulderHead
My idea of the American dream consisted of;
Owning your own house, being able to comfortably support a family, and having the opportunity to create your own business, be your own boss, and make lots of money.

Rage Against The Machine, on the other hand, says;
Hypocrisy, Brutality, the Elite... all of which are American Dreams.
 
  • #7
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Originally posted by russ_watters
I don't believe that being famous is part of the American Dream. And if everyone were a millionaire, "average wealth" would be a million dollars.
this is not unbelievable to me.

Each person is worth an infinite amount to each other person... in terms of their potential.

A factory worker can come up with the extreme best way to do something that saves the factory owner millions of dollars. It is in the owner's best interest to foster that relationship with all people. And, of course, a good relationship is recognizable in the presence of equal pay for equal efficiancy and contribution. Rewarding ingenuity only fosters more ingenuity and this can only lead to better products and production.

The woman at home with the kids can become the next Oprah or the next big Jewlery designer... or contract out her tutoring skils as a Sculptor or musician.

This type of condition was never possible under the Old World Kingdoms. People were classified and stamped and sent off to dig the coal or the field or the fresh dung.

In the American Dream a person can get a start as a coal miner or a McDonalds employee... and concentrate on a goal that they are assured of getting if they are persistant. There won't be some dark figure telling them their family belongs to it... that they owe the Landlord another 3 generations of farming to pay their great great great great granddaddies debts.

Todays economy works a little better... it is a science and it is intticately woven with the science of sociology. This is where Democracy works its way in. Tolerance of religion, creed, tradition...........and this tolerance is what the american dream is founded on.......... the tolerance is metamorphized by the american dream where each individual has so much to offer to its Country that the Country, by way of Democratic rule, no longer must "tolerate" these various types of peoples... but will profit, as a whole, by experiencing this variety of ideas and cultures/peoples.

Thanks.
 
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  • #8
N_Quire
The American Dream is a compelling myth. If you want to measure its accuracy, I guess it's fairly accurate if you are talking about the opportunites for improvement from the level at which you are at. But it's not accurate if you try to describe America as a level playing field where everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to become president, the next Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. Then it's more like a handicap race with the most privileged starting well ahead of the pack.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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Originally posted by N_Quire
The American Dream is a compelling myth. If you want to measure its accuracy, I guess it's fairly accurate if you are talking about the opportunites for improvement from the level at which you are at. But it's not accurate if you try to describe America as a level playing field where everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to become president, the next Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. Then it's more like a handicap race with the most privileged starting well ahead of the pack.
If you replaced the word "privileged" with "able," we'd be in near complete agreement. Though "myth" is a little strong of a word too.

Many people seem to think the American Dream should simply be handed out stapled to your US birth certificate. Thats not the way it works. You have to EARN it. Some people are not smart enough, motivated enough, or tenacious enough to earn it. But that doesn't mean it isn't available to them. Certainly some people have more obstacles to overcome than others, but that does NOT mean that there is a level of obstruction that can't be overcome. People have realized the American Dream from the worst possible starting point.
 
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  • #10
kat
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"The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." -James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America
 
  • #11
N_Quire
Russ, I don't think that starting with wealthy, famous or in other way privileged parents has anything to do with the children's ability. The child of such parents has a head start and that head start can even compensate for a lack of ability. Just look at George W Bush.
 
  • #12
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Originally posted by russ_watters
If you replaced the word "privileged" with "able," we'd be in near complete agreement. Though "myth" is a little strong of a word too.

Many people seem to think the American Dream should simply be handed out stapled to your US birth certificate. Thats not the way it works. You have to EARN it. Some people are not smart enough, motivated enough, or tenacious enough to earn it. But that doesn't mean it isn't available to them. Certainly some people have more obstacles to overcome than others, but that does NOT mean that there is a level of obstruction that can't be overcome. People have realized the American Dream from the worst possible starting point.
I agree, the proof is all over the place.

There's this guy who's been whacked with a brain hemmorage and heart failure... for whatever reasons... who is easily making 30 - 40 grand a year driving around in his little custom wheelchair........ He's sold space on the thing to all the local bussinesses for advertising. Each space brings him 300 bucks a year... he's got room for about 50 ads. This guy is having fun, meeting people and raking in the cash... and he's not ripping anyone off.

He's simply living the dream

The Canadian Dream, however, is slightly different. I think it involves images of Don Cherry in a plaid, pleated miniskirt on a can of beer... and a frozen muckluck for lunch. Don't ask.
 
  • #13
N_Quire
The American Dream is.... you can appear on a show called Fear Factor, eat some cockroaches and worms and win $100,000 or you can go to a good graduate school, do a masters and phd in physics and then join the unemployment line.
 
  • #14
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Originally posted by N_Quire
The American Dream is.... you can appear on a show called Fear Factor, eat some cockroaches and worms and win $100,000 or you can go to a good graduate school, do a masters and phd in physics and then join the unemployment line.
Why would anyone join the unemployment line (whatever that is)?

No telling for taste... or imagination (or lack thereof), I guess.
 
  • #15
Zero
Some people would lie to you(and themselves), and claim that ability and hard work are all it takes to get teh 'American dream.' They are[//i] wrong, though, because so much of attainuing sucess depends on factors out of our hands. To claim otherwise is short-sighted, and frankly false. Who your parents are, what economic class you are born into, etc, play a HUGE role in your adult acheivements.

The people who believe otherwise are just wrong.
 
  • #16
I would also add to that list: the intelligence that you are born with, along with other factors that are out of your control (at least, partially) that are still part of you, stuff as physical abilities and attributes.
 
  • #17
BoulderHead
This American Dream, is it for each individual to decide, or is it for another to tell him about?
 
  • #18
GENIERE
Most wealthy Americans can truthfully say they had a very poor great grand parent.

Each of us aspires to fulfill our own dream.

Regards
 
  • #19
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Originally posted by GENIERE
Most wealthy Americans can truthfully say they had a very poor great grand parent.

Each of us aspires to fulfill our own dream.

Regards
Yes, this is a natural tendancy that is less prohibited in America than it is in some other countries. Cuba, on the other hand is still working on the theory that handing out food vouchers and artificially limiting incomes if people like it or not is a good, evolutionary social policy. Kind of like a worrisome nannie.
 
  • #20
Zero
Originally posted by GENIERE
Most wealthy Americans can truthfully say they had a very poor great grand parent.

Each of us aspires to fulfill our own dream.

Regards
What I find is ironic is that those great grandparents would credit things like opportunities and luck as much as their own hard work...while their great grandchildren, who never worked for anything, would claim that people are poor simply because they aren't trying hard enough.
 
  • #21
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Originally posted by Zero
What I find is ironic is that those great grandparents would credit things like opportunities and luck as much as their own hard work...while their great grandchildren, who never worked for anything, would claim that people are poor simply because they aren't trying hard enough.
Some people like being poor... that's the opportunity they've seen and that they've gone for.

Robert DeNero was a security guard at Penn Station or another. Not a big wage... Obviously his idea was not to remain in that wage category or that profession. He dreamed... he made good on his dreams......... that's the American Dream... something like 20 million per picture!

My compatriot Brian Adams used to serve burgers at a restaurant that my wife almost had my first kid in....... not his dream... there in poverty.... there in the grease pit.

Today, Brian has met the Queen, Paul McCartney, EVERYBODY in the music buz... and has many gold records. That is the manifestation of his dreams... and he did this by seizing the opportunities available to him.... that are available to everyone.

Look at Stephan Hawkings. Most people would have stayed in their hospital room and given up... (taking that opportunity over all others)... Now look at the guy!!!... he's even chasing his secretary around... (not that I know... simple gossip)!!!
 
  • #22
755
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American Dream:

does this imply that America is asleep? A "sleeping giant"?

It could. But, originally, the term was coined by some pretty experienced and bright people. If I had the time I'd find out who exactly coined the phrase and developed the concept. If any of you by the glory of the dawning of the coming of the light dudes or dudettes know off hand who started this snowball, the american dream, please illuminate this thread with your info. Thank you very much!
 
  • #23
kat
26
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Originally posted by quantumcarl
American Dream:

does this imply that America is asleep? A "sleeping giant"?

It could. But, originally, the term was coined by some pretty experienced and bright people. If I had the time I'd find out who exactly coined the phrase and developed the concept. If any of you by the glory of the dawning of the coming of the light dudes or dudettes know off hand who started this snowball, the american dream, please illuminate this thread with your info. Thank you very much!
Uhh..I thought I already had!:wink:
Originally posted by kat
"The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." -James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America
 
  • #24
755
0
Originally posted by kat
Uhh..I thought I already had!:wink:
Yes, I wondered if that quote was from the originator or
an expansion on the existing idea.

Do you know which it is?
Is the statement 200 years old or more?

Obviously not since it mentions motor cars.

Did the American Dream start at the same time as Ford?
 
  • #25
kat
26
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Originally posted by quantumcarl
Yes, I wondered if that quote was from the originator or
an expansion on the existing idea.

Do you know which it is?
Is the statement 200 years old or more?

Obviously not since it mentions motor cars.

Did the American Dream start at the same time as Ford?
The term was first coined in Adams novel, The Epic of America. The book was published in the early 193o's during the worst of the depression. I believe Adams expressed that the "American Dream" had always existed, that in fact it was the ideal that our country was built upon. I think Ford's automobile production started a few decades before that.
 
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