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The New American Dream By Bradly
Big dreams are fine and the ‘you can be whatever you want to be’ attitude is encouraging. However, these are usually symptoms of “The New American Dream”.
I sarcastically call this The New American Dream because it is truthfully materialism wrapped up in the idea of the American Dream. Now before I go on, there is good dreaming. Wishing to be something because you love what it is and not how much fame or fortune is tied to it. However, many young people do not start with a true love to pursue their big dreams but a materialistic desire. . .
Similar to an alcoholic, materialism is an unending thirst for fulfillment. The alcoholic has to drink to feel “happy”. Yet it never solves his problem. They then need to consume more and do it more frequently. Yet this tends to make problems worse as they spend more money, destroy their body, and generally ruin their home life. Many alcoholics die because of their addiction in finding happiness. Although it may seem extreme, materialism can have many similar affects.
We are a culture that always wants more. Ecclesiastes says “we all work so hard to satisfy our desires but only end up wanting more. Even the wise do not find more satisfaction than fools and a poor man is not content even though he tries to accept his situation in life. I say again, it is better to enjoy what we have than to chase what we lack for that pursuit is futile, like trying to catch the wind.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes makes the point throughout his book that when we pursue something like the “American Dream” as an end unto itself it will always let us down. None of our longterm goals (he even includes wisdom and education in his list) can give us anything that lasts beyond the day we live in. But that is only half the equation for he goes on to demonstrate that the same things (wealth, wisdom, pleasure etc.), when accepted as a gift in the day we live in, can be a source of ongoing joy.
Speaking to wealth he says “when God provides us with money and possessions, and enables us to enjoy them (then he defines what this means) by accepting our lot in life and being happy in our work, this is God’s gift to us. If we accept it, we will seldom look regretfully on our past because God will keep us occupied with joyful hearts.”
Materialism is a great sickness throughout our country. Ecclesiastes is good medicine but unfortunately the book has been lost to the generations that need it the most. Centuries of poor translations and false traditions have made it difficult to hear his message.
(see also “A Bitter Pill)
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