This weekend, I visited a few friends that I have maintained contact with since high school. One of them happens to be one of my closest friends, he was an average American and yet the conversation we had this weekend was probably the first deep and honest conversation we have ever truly had.
We had gone our separate ways since high school: I chose to go to university and he chose to enter the work force. I do not regret my life choices, but I could tell that my friend regretted some of his choices. The reason I bring this up is because I think of my friend as a great example of the average American man. Ready to work and make money in order to enjoy a hedonistic life filled with women and drugs. However, after our conversation, I believed there had been a drastic change in this young man who I’ve known a good portion of my life.
Old Habits of the Average American
When I spoke with my friend, he described his life as being forced into a mold created by someone else that left no room for compromise. Grow up, consume, work, consume, marry, consume, have kids, consume, die. This template of life is followed so closely by so many people that it is hardly ever questioned, and yet my friend finally began to question the same things that I had questioned my entire life. Why do we have to conform to the patterns of society? Why must we consume? Why are we even here?
As we walked from the beach into the city of San Diego, we started to understand that what he wanted above all was to rebuild himself. What he saw in the mirror was not what he wanted. He saw someone getting older and older with nothing to show for it. He had focused so much of his life on the pursuit of sex, drugs and money, that he began to realize that he wasn’t satisfied. He never had taken the time to sit down and analyze himself in order to truly understand who he was and what he wanted to become. It didn’t help that he was surrounded by Last Men whose only aim in life was to get all the trophies on NBA 2K17 (a basketball game for video game consoles). We both agreed that we would keep in touch and begin to push each other to ever greater heights.
The Future of the Average American
The reason I bring this little anecdote up is because I think America as a whole needs to have this conversation. A full character evaluation must be done on the American psyche. Not only that, the average American character needs to be dismantled and rebuilt using the finest pieces available. America, like my friend, has deluded itself for many years, thinking that it was getting better while, in reality, it was degenerating. It couldn’t see it was degenerating because everyone else was degenerating too. Everything seems fine and dandy until someone better, smarter and brighter comes along.
America needs a reboot. Regardless of what Trump says, bringing jobs back to to the States will not revitalize the souls of the American people. People need shining examples from intelligent yet willful individuals committed to bettering the community. The community gets better as each individual gets better at realizing their potential as a true individual and member of the community. The Revolutionary Spirit of America must be reborn so that its people can restructure their own characters. We must move away from mindless materialism where consuming is the end goal and move towards bringing about a Second Enlightenment. This Second Enlightenment must finally overthrow the mistakes of the past, the mental blockages that hide our true nature and potential.
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America was meant to be a shining beacon to the world. Since the time of Thomas Jefferson, this nation lost its soul and has degenerated into a shadow. It’s time for that shadow to be faced and dispelled by the Light of Reason. America must get rid of the current ways of doing things: of consuming, of voting for weak and greedy politicians, of giving away responsibility. It should be obvious that America won’t become great again unless it adopts values that lead to greatness. America must be taken over by philosopher kings of the ilk Plato spoke of in his Republic so that it may be converted into the first meritocratic republican nation in the world. The only way forward is to put the smartest people in charge to direct everyone else in the direction of greatness.
This won’t be easy, though, because people ultimately don’t like change even if they don’t like the status quo of society and their personal life. The average American is a stubborn creature. My friend is ready for change, but not everyone is. However, only 10% of the population is needed for a movement to succeed. This means that the smartest, the most insightful, the ones willing to make those needed changes must band together and force the stagnant ones to be free in order to begin creating the first empire of Reason. The Empire of the Mind must rise or we will all fall under the weight of the darkness of mass stupidity. My friend and I will be working for that empire. Will you?
Cole Krisell writing for the Apollo Institute of Reason AIR Review©