Saturday, July 19, 2008

The American Perspective-

I really have no idea how to view the world other than from the grossly independent American perspective. I exist at the end of a line of genetic and social development that culminates in the strange land called America.

In reality, it is the United States of America. Perhaps it is somehow indicative of the American perspective that we have preempted the titles "America" and "American." Canadians are Americans. Mexicans are Americans. Uruguayans are Americans.

But none are Americans like Americans are Americans. I am an American, and really can see myself as nothing else.

One of my readings in recent years touched on what I think may be the root of the intense independence and individuality that is America. Our nation came into being, a transplant of the British Empire. A strong body of educated people formed this country with a structure that grew out of that empire, but embraced from its very beginning an ideal of independence.

Working with established forms of government and economics, that body built the beginnings of a nation. With a sound foundation, that young nation went forth to encompass a great area of land. We had several things others had not had before us. A mature foundation, and room to expand.

Consequently, the free thinkers always had a place to go. The spirit of independence and self-reliance had a frontier. For those with the necessary temperament, this was freedom with a capital F.

The more significant consequence of this freedom to "move on" was the creation of a robust middle class. Even laborers could simply choose to "move on" if the circumstances made life where they were living intolerable. In lands of developing industry where that freedom to "move on" was restricted, a vast pool of cheap labor (and resulting hoards of poor people) came into being.

Not in America. If things were not to your liking, you could "move on." Starving in a city is not much different than starving on a frontier. What was there to lose?

Consequently, many people had a degree of wealth, a strong sense of independence, and considerable freedom.

It has been like this for generations. Though we now have filled much of the land that made the freedom to "move on" possible, the spirit is still strong. We see the rest of the world from this perspective of individuality and freedom. It is an American Perspective.

Because the world grows ever smaller due to changes in the technologies of travel and communication, this perspective faces challenges. Challenges, and inevitable changes.

I really cannot speculate as to how this will work itself out over time. My thoughts go first one way, then the other. The ever increasing population of humans fill the available spaces and tax the available resources. This indicates a trend toward restrictions on individuality and freedom. Yet the existence of a new space, cyberspace, hints at liberation and expansive creativity.

What shall we do? What shall come of all of this?

I don't know. I do know, however, that even these words shall build what is to come. Words that spring from an American Perspective.

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