Transforming the American Dream into Imagination of the Earth

War on terror, Middle East resource wars, a crumbling derivative economy –these are all effects of corporate globalization, currently the primary guiding force in U.S. government and the world economy. Corporate influences are becoming ever more destructive to the future of humanity. In this project we will explore how this evolved and how the global social justice movement has arisen in response and heralds an awakening of a global civil consciousness.

Psychology as a discipline must recognize its historic role in the shaping of public acquiescence to corporatization. Only then can it liberate itself from this role and become a vital force for a new impulse for social justice.  A tool for uncovering the hidden causes of corporatization is the idea of the American Dream as historically evolving concept, the manipulation of which has been pivotal in bringing the world to this point of systemic failure.

As the United States took the reign of empire in the post World War II era, psychology a discipline arose with the new American identity of the consumer. Psychology played a pivotal role in redefining Western individualism and helped create what psychoanalyst Phillip Cushman called “the empty self….a pervasive sense of personal emptiness.”

The devolving of the American Dream into the empty self was bolstered by iconic Hollywood imagery and the advent of the personal screen (television and computer) as an illusory identity mirror and Orwellian propaganda machine. Identity of the human as consumer and the corporation as the real person is a primary collective illusion that has destroyed community, weakened human freedom and led to isolation of individuals and nations.

Using liberation psychology and psychoanalytic theory,  we will examine how psychology can dissolve the illusion of isolated western consumerism and awaken to global responsibility; and can create an interdependent identity of new individualism.


One response »

  1. I really like this, N. I think we can work with it and draw in some things, at least my area, on projection, identity and so forth. Marchand’s book, Advertising and the American Dream, available at google books, is useful. Jhally, Leiss, & Klein, anything by Sut Jhally. I like the idea of thinking about the american dream and the american nightmare too ….

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