No one expected hurricane Laura to become so catastrophic, just as no one expected the California fires to become so devastating, or that Covid-19 would still be spreading and killing come September. No one also thought that the American economy, which was doing so well, would be stopped in its tracks by the virus, that the job market, which was probably the best ever, would drop to the worst ever in a matter of weeks, or that society would be torn apart by outbursts of racial tensions. No one imagined all these, yet they happened, and are happening still. America is being hit left and right, up and down, and the land of unlimited possibilities seems to have become fate’s punching bag.
The United States is evidently a unique country. It did not grow out of a certain tribe or a clan but formed over time as immigrants from faraway lands migrated, often from dubious circumstances, and landed in a wild no man’s land where they could make the rules. And make the rules they did. No one was to touch another’s property, or even enter it without permission. If you walked in without permission, you could be shot for trespassing and the law would be on the side of the shooter.
But privacy went far beyond property. The settlers in the newly conquered continent determined that no one may tell anyone what to do, think, or say as long as they do not hurt their fellow person. Religion—a formidable inhibitor in Europe, from which the majority of the first settlers came—was declared as one’s personal business and therefore lost its punitive power. Everyone was free to pursue one’s dream of fame and fortune, and that was indeed the dream for which most Americans lived. In many ways, it still is.
For a long time, that dream succeeded. Pursuing it, America became the world’s single superpower; its military might, economic clout, and cultural influence pervaded every corner of the world. Everyone, from America’s best friends to its worst enemies, wanted, and perhaps still want to realize the American Dream. And that dream is mainly about money and wealth. Bit by bit, America became the leader of the free world, where people were slaves only to the injunctions of their egos.
But that could only last so far. At some point, the ego exceeded its limits and began to collapse from within. The society that was built based on the ego could not withstand its increasingly self-centered demands and started to implode. When people began to give up on realizing their dreams, they sought ways to ease their painful disillusionment. Thus, America became a nation of fugitives escaping their own emptiness. Obesity, substance abuse, homicide, suicide, extremism, and any form escapism became more likely to take root there than anywhere else in the world. Simply, people needed to get away from their hopelessness.
Nature, too, of which America was so proud, and rightly so, seems to have joined the “trend” of bashing America and has been hammering the country on all sides. In its own way, it has said to its settlers, “Enough!”
Times are changing. The ego is losing steam and has lost its chokehold on the planet. Nature is kicking back, and humanity, the ego’s personal thug, is hurting. But America, where the ego wrote the constitution, hurts the most.
In the times to come, mutual consideration will be mandatory, responsibility for one another will be a given, and ego-based cultures will collapse. We are living through a civilizational shift. It is a revolution of a kind we’ve never seen. It is not a revolution in technology, governance, economics, or in all the above combined. It is a revolution in human nature. Humanity has entered a transformational stage from which it will emerge as a whole new creation: caring, considerate, and united as one.
Those who will bury their pride will come out on top. Those who will stand by their egos will fall along with it.
America became great thanks to brave people who dared the odds. But it will remain great only if it dares to tame its own bravado.