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Old 06-16-2013, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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My wife is from india and right after she learned how to drive I wanted to say "now all you need is the american dream and you'll be american". Except obliviously the american dream is not owning a big house with a big yard and being a house wife anymore. So I thought about it... what is it now that the media pushes on us to strive for that most who have the dream never get... Is the american dream to now have sex with as many people as possible?
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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The American Dream is to pay off the things on your credit card you purchased 5 years ago!
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Fort Washington, MD
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The American dream is what you personally make of it. The culturally understood meaning has traditionally meant the following attainments, however:

(1) A well-paying career.
(2) A family with +/- 2 children
(3) A home, typically a suburban single-family house
(4) 1-3 personally owned vehicles
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
96,959 posts, read 94,857,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molukai View Post
The American dream is what you personally make of it. The culturally understood meaning has traditionally meant the following attainments, however:

(1) A well-paying career.
(2) A family with +/- 2 children
(3) A home, typically a suburban single-family house
(4) 1-3 personally owned vehicles
Which President was it who promised as part of his campaign, "A chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage"? FDR? Back then, having meat, even if only chicken, every day was a luxury. The idea that every family would own a car seemed like a dream.

Funny how much we come to take for granted. And yet...so many are still unhappy.
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
4,033 posts, read 3,512,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molukai View Post
The American dream is what you personally make of it. The culturally understood meaning has traditionally meant the following attainments, however:

(1) A well-paying career.
(2) A family with +/- 2 children
(3) A home, typically a suburban single-family house
(4) 1-3 personally owned vehicles
This sounds like leave it to beaver and the brady bunch. I don't think that is how it is anymore. I think this is the dream for those who aren't chasing the american dream at this point.

I don't think anyone feels like they are pressured to have a family at all, probably more of the opposite.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
17,231 posts, read 11,462,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
This sounds like leave it to beaver and the brady bunch. I don't think that is how it is anymore. I think this is the dream for those who aren't chasing the american dream at this point.

I don't think anyone feels like they are pressured to have a family at all, probably more of the opposite.
More generically the American dream has always been that you can have whatever you need to be fulfilled. For most people in the mid to late 20th century that probably meant a stable job more or less of your choosing, a home and car of your own, and a happy family (generally defined as a wife and 2-ish kids), and general freedom from worry and want. That we have become more diverse (e.g., a "significant other" who may even be of the same gender, as many kids as you want including zero, whatever kind of home you want even if it's a yurt in the desert rather than a McMansion in the 'burbs, etc.,) doesn't really change the substance of it. It only gives people more choices. Including, arguably, some dumb ones.

I think it comes down to the U.S. being seen as the "land of opportunity" meaning whatever opportunities and choices you would be denied in many other places. To an extent I think this a little out of date. There are civilized countries that are quite peaceful, have high employment, better healthcare, better retirement, longer vacations, a more balanced work ethic than the US. I could happily live in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other places besides the US; that I'm here is just an accident of birth.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Well ya we're more diverse so it's harder to pinpoint what the "american" dream is because it's supposed to be something "all" americans should have. Just seems to me it used to be a family and a house, now it's managing to maintain a single's life.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:55 PM
 
Location: SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
Is the american dream to now have sex with as many people as possible?
I think so...
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:40 PM
 
Location: moved
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The American dream is an assertion that society is fundamentally just, and that the individual is fundamentally sovereign. It promises to reward hard-work with success, and sloth with censure. Since everyone regards himself as dedicated to a robust work ethic, according to the American dream, everyone should therefore emerge affluent, healthy, well-regarded and secure. This may not necessarily imply the traditional nuclear family with father, mother, 2.3 children and a dog (the dog is presumably a whole-number individual and not a fraction). But it most certainly implies not having to live alone for anyone who wishes companionship, and above all not dying alone.

In its latest incarnation, the American dream promises accumulation of sufficient wealth that one could live off of the proceeds of one's capital, therefore not having to work, and working only for self-expression or from altruistic desire to contribute to society. The exact amount of the implied money depends of course on one's personal appetite and on the prevailing rate of return. But the general proposition is to exit from the "working class", emerging in a kind of over-class where labor is no longer the main ingredient for material sustenance.

Beyond narrowly pecuniary and material things, the American dream stipulates that happiness is not some phantom or impossible ideal, but something that can be attained in the here and now. Further, the unhappy man is unhappy because he is foolish or lazy. Rectifying these iniquities, genuine happiness is sure to follow.

The American dream explicitly rejects fatalism and any assertion that bad things could be visited onto good people, or that success comes from mere luck, or that assiduous effort may nevertheless be greeted with failure. The dream asserts that both the credit and the criticism go to the individual, and further, that initial advantages such as good genes or supportive parentage are comparatively unimportant.

So what do we make of the American dream? It is remarkably beautiful and uplifting, but also naive, even sophomoric. The real world is cruel, callous and indifferent.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:50 PM
 
3,857 posts, read 3,834,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
My wife is from india and right after she learned how to drive I wanted to say "now all you need is the american dream and you'll be american". Except obliviously the american dream is not owning a big house with a big yard and being a house wife anymore. So I thought about it... what is it now that the media pushes on us to strive for that most who have the dream never get... Is the american dream to now have sex with as many people as possible?
You are very correct in calling it what the media pushes on us. I think it has turned into (for the vast majority of programmed consumers):

"I want what I want when I want it. "

In other words, the dream seems to be 'bliss on tap' to appeal to sensate pleasures with very little desire to depth of being and understanding. Rather a 'need' for something to give one pleasure and status. It seems a large percent are programmed to desire each next 'thing' being sold as a trend (to be sexy, to be 'hip and trendy', etc...)

There seems to be a disdain for delayed gratification in an age when one can digitally search for whatever one wants even if it is a pseudo fix (from Porn to Gaming which enable people to create alternate worlds where they can be 'Creator / King' etc). Some good reads to understand what is happening.

Distracted, Maggie Jackson
The Shallows, What The Internet is Doing to Our Brain, Nicholas Carr
The Filter Bubble: How The New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think, Eli Pariser


I do think the so called 'American Dream' phrase you reference did correspond in general to the house with picket fence in suburbs, couple children, few cars, all the modern conveniences of the age etc... pretty much espoused and promoted heavily once the TV age and the dominant advertising molded the mindset of many through social conditioning.

Since the late 80s 90s it seems the family part has been under a social conditioning switch toward single hood, with multiple sex partners along with idealizing urban city living. Since the advent of reality shows it seems the push is amplified for everyone to get their Andy Warhol 'Ten Minutes of Fame'.

The underlying current seems a deliberate attempt to destroy the individual thought and inner reflection in absence of constant stimulants (whatever form they may be).

I think Eric Hoffer said it best with this quote:

"When watching men of power in action it must be always kept in mind that, whether they know it or not, their main purpose is the elimination or neutralization of the independent individual; the independent voter, consumer, worker, owner, thinker - and that every device they employ aims at turning men into a manipulable "animated instrument" which is Aristotle's definition of a slave."

Another favorite: "unless you read different points of view, your mind will eventually close, and you'll become a prisoner to a certain point of view that you'll never question."
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