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Modern American Culture and Indvisua

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The 20th centaury is considered to be a money culture. Materialism, a devotion to making money and to having a good time are all products of a money making culture. All of technology is controlled by an interest in private profit (Dewey, p15). Sigmund Freud and John Dewy both see this day in age as a time devoted to the "scientific revolution" and profit from this drastic advance in mankind. Civilization, as we know it today, is largely to blame for the misery of the common people. The American people no longer have a sense of individualism. Luxuries have become a necessity instead of a vice and materialism has become a way of life. The characteristics of the modern world surround the importance of the attainment of material possessions and the conformity of its citizens. It also coincides with the destructive nature of mankind.

According to Dewey, society is divided into two classes: the working class and the intellectual class. The modern age consists of a "spirit of progress which consists of a manifest of change in fashions, invention of new machines, and the power of overproduction" (Dewey, p6). Now, these are all things we take for granted as society has developed into the "religion of prosperity" (Dewey, p6). Worth has become a measurement of how well one is capable of holding one's own and get ahead. It is a tough and competitive market which has been established in our American culture and in order to be successful a person must be willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. It is a matter of the becoming "economically fit," so to speak; it is in this method of survival which becomes the struggle for existence.

What makes me laugh though is the concept I personally hold very true to be a valid part of what makes us human, of something that we all share in common, is the drive to attain happiness and avoid suffering. Yet, the American culture thrives upon gaining any sort of personal advantage driven by an ambition to succeed at any human cost. Ironically, owning a "selfish creed" is frowned upon. People "seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, ... There are few men from whom their contemporaries do not withhold admiration, although their greatness rests on attributes and achievements which are completely foreign to the aims and ideals of the multitude" (Freud, p10). This brings up the first of a few contradictions.

The general feeling of people who are a part of such a society are considerably "bewildered, uneasy, restless, and constantly seeking something new and different only to come across the same thing" (Dewey, p8). People are notably marked as suffering from their insecurities causing them great unrest, impatience and irritation. People expand in their "feverish love of anything as long as it is a change which is distracting, " (Dewey, p28) and so long as this is happening the results (impatience, unsettlement, nervous discontent

and this desire for excitement) are not native elements of human nature.

These feelings stem from the rapid industrialization that took people unaware causing those feelings of being "mentally and morally unprepared" (Dewey, p8). Therefore, instead of the development of individuals in this evolution, there is a "preservation of the whole ideal of individualism to conform to the practices this culture" (Dewey, p9). Conformity is what is to blame for the lack of individualism in America Aims and standards become confused beyond recognition. The tragedy of this sort of individual is due to the "fact that while individuals are now caught up into a vast complex of associations, there is no harmonious and



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