My American Nightmare
Many people today talk of their American Dreams…how much they want to fulfill a
fantasy of houses, wives, cars, and jobs that pay well. To me, becoming the same
as everyone else…fulfilling the dream of a life that I don’t want is in truth not
a dream, but a horrible nightmare which my education has tried to direct me
towards, and that I have fought at every turn.
Anyone can live the life of another person. It’s quite simple to just copy
others desires and dreams, to seek that which they seek. To this extent, many
Americans base their lives on things like pop culture. We bring up these “model”
Americans that everyone should strive to be, usually in the form of singers and
movie stars. To live this life is a lie in two ways, because we strive for a type
of living that most of us cannot hope to attain, and because we forget about
ourselves, our individuality, and our potential as humans to become something
great. As we realize that the first dream is hopeless, we then realize a new
false dream, we strive to gain money and social position through a “good job”.
Most of these jobs involve meaningless and menial tasks which we are to repeat
over and over again, although many of today’s careers mask this repetition by
making things like “projects” and “assignments” with different purposes. While we
may gain money, most Americans hate their jobs, and to this extent lead miserable
lives, gaining escape through sexuality and drugs, much in the same way described
by Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti 115-117). It is this sort of drudgery that is my
nightmare. Waking up every day to relive the same day, the same moments, the same
sensation, and then retire to repeat the process. To live this life is to live
the life of the wage slave.
The process of creating the perfect wage slave begins in elementary school,
where we are taught to follow directions and perform simple tasks. The idea being
the tasks is not what is accomplish by completing them, but to simply make us
expect, or even want, to complete them. Free thought in this environment is
strongly discouraged, as shown in “Social Class” by Anyon, when a girl in the
working class school attempts to suggest a faster way to finish a problem in math.
She is scorned and told that she is wrong for trying to do things differently
(Anyon 178). It isn’t just “working class” schools that suffer from this anymore.
Practically all elementary schools, save private schools, are designed around the
idea of creating easily manipulated minds. A parallel that occurs at the same
point in time is the idea of religious schooling, where students are force-fed
beliefs and faith. Organized religion makes people easy to control, and easy to
influence. All of this prepares the students to be shaped later, and to later be
given the illusion of free will.
This illusion appears later, in the environment of the high school system.
The most remarkable part of...