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 Copyright © November 2002

American Lopsidedness:

What's Going On Here in America?

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.)

to the book

I was moved last month by all the accounts of the observances and recall of the tragedies of 9/ll.  Moved and disturbed on a number of levels.  I'm not sure if this newsletter will be as popular as the rest have been, but there is something that must be said, an issue raised that may not sit well with some....

I was moved last month by all the accounts of the observances and recall of the tragedies of 9/ll.  Moved and disturbed on a number of levels.  I'm not sure if this newsletter will be as popular as the rest have been, but there is something that must be said, an issue raised that may not sit well with some....

It is true that  9/11 has come and gone with much sadness, reflection, and grief.  The ceremonies and speeches were grand indeed.  Fine words were voiced, sincere tears were again shed, and reverence given for those fallen, especially for the heroes that risked their lives to save others.  Like everybody else, I felt again the enormity of what has transpired in this nation of ours over the last year.  Nothing can nor should be said diminishing the awfulness of the actions taken by the terrorists, nor by the courage shown of those that helped in the fated rescues attempts, or the grief of the surviving families and friends, or those that still stand ready every hour of the day to protect this "nation under God."  Said Dickens of an earlier time, "It was the worst of times and the best of times...," as our nation dug deep into their pockets and generously gave billions of dollars to aid the families that were financially and emotionally stricken, and found a new reason for national pride, becoming unafraid again of mentioning God's Name again in public and private. 

Copyright © 2002 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction,  without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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Rather, what should be examined is whether we could have all responded in a more civilized and honorable manner, without the egocentricities and headiness that usually tags along and detracts from the importance of events, and that somehow always seems to get its foot in the door discoloring everything around it.  The question is simply, could we have been more reserved in our outcry, more determined to maintain the stiff upper lip, more dignified and humanely concerned about the atrocities yet unafraid of our own futures, bravely facing what will be with a resolve that our God has not left us alone?

And then we were recently shocked with the insidious extremist Muslim's sniper's murders in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  Again, the media swarmed in upon this story with the same determination to get every ounce due them, or so they imagined, and rationalizing all the way as they did it.  Panic was wide spread, and even though the chances were next to none that any one person would be the next victim, being more statistically probably to be killed in a car accident, those living in the target areas where besides themselves.  For safety sake, schools were closed, which then of course sent all the kids to the malls (safety sake?), daily outside activities were abruptly changed or stopped altogether, and in all, life was thoroughly disrupted, and people become overly consumed with the problem at hand. 

Amongst all the chaos, some prominent news teams (FOX in particular) even dared to query the idea that this all seemed to be yet another overreaction of America, and prompted the question "What's wrong with America to react this way?"  It's a good and gutsy introspective question, as it correctly asks to examine the terrain of our affairs without being politically squeamish about its correctness.   Yet, please understand, that in asking the question, nobody has in mind the notion to diminish the loss of the lives and the families impacted by these terrorist actions, or in any way to neglect the respect due to those heroes that gave their lives in the protection of others.  That would never do.... 

Rather, what should be examined is whether we could have all responded in a more civilized and honorable manner, without the egocentricities and headiness that usually tags along and detracts from the importance of events, and that somehow always seems to get its foot in the door discoloring everything around it.  The question is simply, could we have been more reserved in our outcry, more determined to maintain the stiff upper lip, more dignified and humanely concerned about the atrocities yet unafraid of our own futures, bravely facing what will be with a resolve that our God has not left us alone?  I for one, think we could have been....

I'm sure we all can relate to an event in our own pasts where we witnessed some weak-minded people wanting more of the spotlight on themselves than their stories deserved, grandstanding whenever possible.  Little kids wrongly educated and left to themselves do it all the time as their unrestrained and undisciplined egos betray themselves early on, inappropriately pushing others out of the way so as to shamelessly make room for themselves.  In a sense, these would be competing with the story line itself, hoping to gain some form of publicity, popularity, importance, financial support, public access, sympathy, etc, that would aggrandize themselves in light of a current situation, making them socially more than who they were, or were possibly prepared to be. 

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For one thing, you see, it's too bad that we don't feel similarly about other events, even more horrific in nature and numbers that we seem to turn a blind eye towards.  Our grief seems very selective, if not peculiarly selective to the dramaturgical.  We seem little attracted to the everyday sort of things, the humdrum or the common, but rather we are attracted to the sensational, the grotesque, the extraordinary, to which we may easily and egocentrically identify....

But now this psychological problem affects our entire nation, not just some of our children, for this kind of conduct now appears to being rationalized and practiced by all of us, young and old.  In this light, America has become a haven for wholesale selfish neediness, and stands always ready to justify that neediness at every turn.  Embarrassingly, it abounds and flourishes here.  We've even developed various Special Interests Groups to help in the standardization, politicization, and legitimization of any neediness that you may have.  And everyone seems to have their special right to their special rendition of what ever it is... Our politics luxuriate in it, our businesses thrive because of it.  In our neediness, we can pretty near justify anything that we do or say.  And all without a hint of shame.... for we myopically convince ourselves that we are truly deserving. 

We are consumed with the importance of our own lives far too much, grabbing at anything that offers us more happiness and pleasure, thinking that it is our inalienable right to have it.  But, of course, it is not.  We have become a mindlessly selfish people, having learned to become over-infatuated with the results from our own hands, believing that we have caused all our own increases, that we have done it all, earned it all, made it all.  We don't just "love" life anymore, we "lust" after it, and that's a real deciding difference, for it makes us selfish and exceptionally egocentric, and sadly, unassailable....

But the nation that was awakened by tragedy seems now confounded as to what to do next.  With all the terrorist events of our recent past, it seemed that America was again involved in overly dramatizing events, ever hungry for the next bit of gossip or faire that it could talk into yet another frenzy, creating even more appalling egocentric hysteria, feeding directly into the nation's appetite for neediness, and shamelessly beating the mantra for "me...me...me...".  Perhaps that's being too harsh, but I don't think so....  In light of everything else that is happening around us, it's hard to explain it otherwise. 

For one thing, you see, it's too bad that we don't feel similarly about other events, even more horrific in nature and numbers that we seem to turn a blind eye towards.  Our grief seems very selective, if not peculiarly selective to the dramaturgical.  We seem little attracted to the everyday sort of things, the humdrum or the common, but rather we are attracted to the sensational, the grotesque, the extraordinary, to which we may easily and egocentrically identify, while we leave the wonders of everyday events by the wayside, never imagining that within the path of wild flowers along the road's edge, the true mysteries of life can be found and understood.  We are beguiled by our own egos, rearranging if not rewriting the events of our lives to suit our own self-centered ends, and not the Heavens, looking for our own pleasing interpretations rather than the truths that are evident.

 These dynamics are played out saliently in many hard rock concert, wherein the audience peculiarly and desperately wants to be a part of the action on stage---the audience comes not in appreciation of the musicians and the performance given, but in wanting its own unrestrained ego demands fulfilled first, and does so by causing the disturbances and noise that they do, wanting the power and glory for themselves.  Similarly, the national tragedies that have surrounded us as of late have been tainted with these same obvious self-serving psychologies.  Again, this is not to take anything away from the realities of those tragedies occurring on 9/11 and the heart rending accounts that took place, but to remind us that worst tragedies are happening everyday around us, which for the most part, remain unheralded by the media, Hollywood, and our politicians alike.  

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I don't mean to be crass, but we seem to able to kill more of our people by pure incompetence feigning to do well than all the evil terrorists have so far been able to muster despite their "best" amassed evil efforts.  Perhaps that should be our message to the terrorists---"Why bother killing Americans, because we do it inadvertently so much better ourselves!"

For instance, recently the U.S. Government (GAO) released figures indicated that 93,000 people a year are unnecessarily killed by the giving of the wrong prescription of medications in hospitals through various "prescriptive slip-ups."  That's 93,000 people every year die needlessly because of medical incompetence, and the figure is growing!  I may be wrong, but that's more people than the terrorists have killed in our country and every other country in the world over the last decade, perhaps the past half century!  Yet, there is no out cry, no Congressional commission, no further enquiry over the matter.  Why?

93,000 people were killed....  93,000 died that needn't have died!  I know that these deaths were deemed "accidental," and they weren't "directly" willful, but the numbers are alarming that so many accidents are continually allowed, so much heart ache and trauma needlessly experienced that could be avoided, and bureaucracies responsible go blindly on and on without check, everyone responsible covering their tail---is that not "willful?"  And what about all those families impacted! 

I don't mean to be crass, but we seem to able to kill more of our people by pure incompetence feigning to do well than all the evil terrorists have so far been able to muster despite their "best" amassed evil efforts.  Perhaps that should be our message to the terrorists---"Why bother killing Americans, because we do it inadvertently so much better ourselves!"  Isn't there something wrong with this picture?  And yet, we don't seem to be alarmed about it for one minute! 

Of course there are dozens of other atrocities that occur in our country were our people die every day, that too, go without the proper regard.  Perhaps because it happens so regularly, most of us have grown insensitive to these facts.  For example,  Over 50,000 people die in alcohol related car accidents every year, yet we really haven't made our roads any safer---people still drink and drive.  There are of course more statistics that can be accounted for here, more atrocities that occur around the world, and yet we go on with little if any interest. 

Of course, I realize that one must go on with their lives, and that death is a part of life which must be accepted.  But I don't think America has ever really learned to accept death as a factual reality, seeing how little any of us are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually prepared for it, and how we are so willingly engaged in obessionally squeezing out the least bit of life we can in everything that we do.  It's almost glutinous, and often over the line.  I know that wanting to live is a healthy perspective, but at times I think we Americans are, by and large, overly obsessed with the quantity of life and not its quality.  Again, there seems to be no checking of our own selfish neediness and self-interest.  No balance.  Of course, the suppression of the Name of God and His teachings in our schools and government only makes these matters worse.  Perhaps that is why our hospitals are so full.... 

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Our so called generous help in the past was likely more due to the fact of what we could say we did at the time of the "emergency," not truly being interested in helping victims families so scared by life's mishaps.  It was a way for ourselves to be in the limelight, wasn't it?   Here's a thought....  I doubt if those families recently affected by the snipers bullets will ever see the kind of money those in the two towers will.  See how fickle we are? 

Also, even more frustrating is the fact there is a subtle form of terrorism ongoing in our country that few appear wanting to be aware of.  It's not the kind that flies airplanes into building or kills the innocent in a mall with a suicide/homicide bomb.  It's much more insidious.  It's the kind that lines the pockets of politicians and special interest groups, big corporations, and lobbyists.  Many simply call it "graft." 

But this is not just simple graft.  Not when millions of people are then made to suffer from bad and prejudicial law-making.  Not when the letter of the law and "past precedence" rules our court system and the political judges that sit on them, where a mere sampling of "facts" have more weight than the truth, and where mercy and understanding are rarely found---money and the lawyer you can afford often being the determining factor as to who goes free and who doesn't, and where "loser-pays" are lawyers' fears and anathema.  Not when millions of our people's pensions funds are robbed and looted through director fraud and insider trading.  Not when our elderly can't afford the prescription medication they need, or are forced to choose between food or drugs or heat.  Not when millions are without the benefits of health care, because the costs are beyond their reach.  Not when our veterans can't get the decent and competent medical help they require from a nation that has already forgotten their previous sacrifices.  Not when the government itself and those that it employs to serve us all, take better care of their own regarding health care and retirement benefits, than any of us that pay their salaries and everything else they have to the grave.

In my way of thinking, these are subtle acts of terrorism for those respectively inflicted, because they feel the terror and fear of being forgotten, are tortured by the impossibilities of overcoming bureaucratic incompetence, unreasonableness, and coldness, and of not knowing what to do, of being without power and any hope of resolving any difficulty expeditiously, of being intimidated by a system that is insensitive to their humanity, and reduces their self-esteem and personal freedom, tearing away at their gut day in and day out without relief, justice, or compensation, but continually taxes them to death so their own can be taken care of first, ironically ensuring that the bureaucracies that have continually held them prisoner may live yet another day to torture them over and over again.

Again, as we grow to become an ever more selfish and egocentrically self-interested people, we seem not to care about our neighbor, only about ourselves and our own need-sets.  And if we ever do care about our neighbor, it is for the sake of convenience and social-expedience sake, often overly generous at first blush, becoming then more withholding and selfish over time.  And there's the rub.  Our so called generous help in the past was likely more due to the fact of what we could say we did at the time of the "emergency," not truly being interested in helping victims families so scared by life's mishaps.  It was a way for ourselves to be in the limelight, wasn't it?   Here's a thought....  I doubt if those families recently affected by the snipers bullets will ever see the kind of money those in the two towers will.  See how fickle we are?  Not very attractive is it.  And in the long view of things, not very fair, not very just, not very smart, either.  For as we judge, so will we be judged with the same unbalanced one-sidedness that we seem so comfortable in.  When our number is called, will we look for His balanced judgment and mercy, or should we expect that same measure which we gave to our neighbors?  

So this election year, amongst other things, I pray that we are careful how we cast our votes.  Do our homework on the people that will soon represent us.  Help rid us of a those that would use the government to line their own pockets and exalt their own egos and further their own and other's unmitigated and selfish neediness.  Use our powers of freedom diligently and wisely, and above all else, prayerfully.  Put a check on our own neediness...  In fact, say a prayer in the voting booth asking for help to guide your actions---Happily, I believe a silent prayer is not yet outlawed in voting booths....

 

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in private clinical practice and medical research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. An expert in a number of fields including Forensic/Criminal Psychology, Child and Family/Relationship Psychology, and Neuropsychology.  He has also served as an expert scientific advisor, product innovator and formulator, and professional consultant to the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

Why don’t you take a moment and become part of the discussion. Share with me your perspective, questions, and comments; tell me what you think of all this by emailing me at: DrYoung@WindsoftheSoul.com.


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