However some cages are nicer than others (just go to a second and third rate Zoo and you’ll soon see why this matters). Of course we humans (at least most of us) don’t live behind visible bars. No, we live behind invisible ones. Yet although invisible they are no less strong. Culture, language, laws, and economic system are the main “bars”…try to cross or change any of them and you’ll soon feel the growing frustrations of your head, heart, and hands.
Many a foreign commentator has often focused on the American system as one of unbridled egoism disguised as a lust for the maximization of human liberty (exploitation?). Even if this is true, any tangible social consequences of such an attitude have to be examined. One of the more unfortunate consequences of such a society/economic system has been the disintegration of the human personality and with it a rise in correlated acts of sadism.
“It is no wonder that under such circumstances of actual “unfreedom” millions lash out privately in small, mean acts of sadism while releasing their justified aggressions…”
I should make clear that the kind of ‘sadism’ that I’m referring to is a societal phenomenon. Some of its not so invisible reality has been captured by cultural artifacts such as books and films. From the “Scarlet Letter”, the “Last of the Mohicans”, and even “Moby Dick” to more recent cultural influences such as “Film Noir”, Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, and popular T.V. shows such as “South Park” and “The Simpsons” – the sadistic element is evident and inescapable.
Yet culture must be a somewhat accurate reflection or a heightening of what is perceived for it to be accepted by more than a few as possibly true. In this case, American artists have accurately reflected a social system that is horribly distorted in so many ways, a caricature of its promise as elaborated by the Founding Fathers, that all that seems to be left are isolated individuals glorifying within an empty cornucopia of formal freedoms while being physically restricted in every way possible by a con stellation of an ever growing, ever more distant federal government and economic interests that pay lip service to any and all ideologies just enough to ensure that the economic exploitation of as many people as possible will continue unabated.
It is no wonder that under such circumstances of actual “unfreedom”, millions lash out privately in small, mean acts of sadism while releasing their justified aggressions in a dangerously condensing cloud of confused, ever more angry laughter.
The secret whisper of the American Mind is a simple one: “My life hurts, so you hurt. So there. Tough.” Yes very.