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The Powerful American Myths And Why Americans Cannot See Through Them

How did humanity – homo sapiens – get to this place in history, and why most Americans and westerners cannot see it or accept it? My answer to both of these questions goes back at least as far as the Genesis story of “creation,” which by the way, the current Pontiff in Rome has said not to take literally. But ok, the idea that god created everything in six days and then rested to appreciate it all on the seventh day has influenced all of western philosophy, theology and science. The idea that god created humans to be like himself, and put them over and in charge of everything else in creation is the fundamental and seminal belief that humans are above nature, an animal more important and exceptional than others. Homo sapiens!

26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild,[d] large and small.” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. 29 I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; 30 but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food”—and it was done. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day.

This myth is powerful, as are all myths. Even the portrayal of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden strongly suggests that the first couple were white. It is somewhat debatable just where the Garden of Eden was. It seems to be that it was either in Ethiopia or the Middle East, but for sure, the first couple wasn’t white! The belief that has led “westerners” to believe they are exceptional, more intelligent, and more important than anything else in creation and therefore gives them “dominion” over it is the fundamental belief that explains where humanity and “creation” are today…on the very brink of extinction. To be clear, the planet will survive a sixth mass extinction as it has the previous five!

As far as Americans are concerned, it clearly explains the belief in an exceptional people, white supremacy, blessed by god, and to be an example to the world of rightful living. They believed it to be their destiny, given to them by god.

Christopher Columbus did not “discover” America which had been inhabited for thousands of years by the “Original People.” The truth is, Columbus committed genocide and began the slave trade in the Americas and all of this was blessed by the Pope in Rome in the Doctrine of Discovery which also justified slavery. For these reasons, many cities and millions of Americans are demanding the Columbus holiday be changed to “Original Peoples Day.”

The passengers of the Arbella who left England in 1630 with their new charter had a great vision. They were to be an example for the rest of the world in rightful living. Future governor JOHN WINTHROP stated their purpose quite clearly: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” This religious belief added to the myth of “exceptionalism,” and “white supremacy” that have remained core beliefs in the American narrative. Even the myth of the first Thanksgiving distorts the fact that these first settlers killed, raped and stole the land and resources of the Original People.

The “doctrine” of Manifest Destiny was first applied to westward expansion and eventually to the entire world and in the process genocide of the “Original People” ensued with the relocation of the survivors to reservations. America and it’s western allies continue to behave as if the entire world and its resources were given to them by god to enjoy and to subdue. America has been at war for land, resources, and domination from the very beginning. I’ve documented this in  my films, The Ghosts of Jeju, The United States of War, Thirty Seconds to Midnight, and Okinawa: They Came With Bayonets and Bulldozers. The American and western economy, Capitalism, was a natural outgrowth of the belief that the earth was theirs with all of its resources and that “hard work” would lead to wealth and god’s approval when in fact, America was built on genocide, slavery, the stealing of land and resources and the commodification of human labor.

Americans cannot see through these myths and that is why, I believe, most continue to live their lives unable to see the trail of death and destruction “America” has left on the entire planet and all of its peoples. We are exceptional, superior in every way, and because we are blessed by god, nothing bad can befall us. So, we pay false patriotism to the flag and the troops and glorify our scientific and military achievements that have left us in moral and spiritual decay, fighting among ourselves over every conceivable issue, and unable to see that our exceptionalism has brought humans and all life to the brink of extinction in the very near future. It is also why our belief that science and technology will save us from certain destruction that keeps most of us from having a sense of urgency about our very finality as individuals.

Another myth that keeps Americans on the treadmill of ever increasing debt and the loss of freedoms is The American Dream. As George Carlin famously said, “to believe it you have to be asleep.” The Dream of one day making it, becoming all you can be. Americans obviously are not bothered that in reality the America they want to believe in is morally and spiritually dead. This doesn’t bother them as long as they can “make it.” How else can one explain why so many millions are not rising up against governments that do not represent them; are not rising up against the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the .001%; how else can one explain the indifference towards others, especially the poor? The American Dream has instilled a me-first attitude in the minds of millions. It’s OK to spend billions and trillions on weapons and wars while our infrastructure is collapsing before our eyes, our educational system rots and the social safety net is torn asunder. It’s ok that the most lethal military in the world has killed millions of innocent people since 1945 IN OUR NAME.

I am not the first to state that the entire American narrative is a myth, but I am one of a very few who believe that American and western Capitalism are the root cause of the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem, which is happening at an unprecedented and alarming rate. Abrupt climate change/global warming is upon us and hardly anyone is talking about it. On the contrary, Americans are fed a daily dose of “news” that divides us and points to the moral and spiritual decay of the nation. I believe most Americans realize that things are really bad here and around the world. They are beginning to realize the government does not represent them and that money “talks.” Unfortunately, the myths keep the vast majority in denial and unable to do anything to save themselves and the rest of humanity.

Abrupt, global climate change/global warming is upon us and nary a word is uttered in the media, from the corrupt politicians, and in the American conversation. I have posted here about the imminent ecological chaos that is upon us.

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Copyright © 2018 Regis Tremblay.