America may be in decline but Americans are not. That's the point of this "Decline of America" series of posts -- to observe the falseness of crowds for the purpose of clarifying the truth -- that each person must find their own way in life. This is not saying that it is wise to passively look on as something you love slowly decays. It is saying that attending to your own needs and acting authentically will not only help you find meaning and purpose in life but it may also improve the lives of others; and thus you may aid in delaying or reversing the decline of the crowd, the nation, the age.
For example, the value systems and actions of institutions, such as government and large media outlets, do not necessarily represent the citizens of a nation. The whole may represent the sum but it does describe any of its parts. The cover is not the book, the map is not the territory, the word is not the thing, and so on.
These observations are not deterministic, ideological, or scientific views, nor are they anti-American or anti-political in any way. In fact, I see myself as more American and politically knowledgeable than most people who call themselves patriotic.
Dissent is among the greatest of patriotic acts. However many people thinking themselves patriotic in their dissent are actually being divisive and corrosive; they are not advancing a cause, they are declining a nation.
Ironically, those who wish to compromise -- to unite -- are often seen as outcasts. Therefore those who think themselves as dissenters are actually dividers and the compromisers are the outcast unifiers, the true dissenters, the true patriots.
"There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands." ~ PlatoThere is no coincidence that the greatest leaders America has ever seen were its founders, including Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and George Washington. Great leaders since their time have been few and far between. The word politician does not come to mind when speaking of these human beings. However, words like philosopher, leader and patriot are more accurate descriptions. Today's politicians are not philosopher-types like these men; they are illusionists.
As the appetite for illusion grows, the demand for illusionists grows. To get elected today, politicians must have a great marketing campaign, which costs money. Therefore money and illusion combine for political success and a politician needs large amounts of both to win elections.
There is no doubt that great men and women exist today that could lead nations just as America's founding fathers did. However the falseness required to win elections does not appeal to them. Instead these people find ways to be themselves and thus lead others in less glamorous roles. They do not care to be in the proverbial spotlight but find perfect contentment in being their own light.
"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~ Howard Thurman
The greatness of any country, or the greatness of anything for that matter, is not best defined by outer appearances. Substance is not in the whole but in the parts. Do you believe, for example, a foreign person's opinion of your country would accurately reflect you? Then why do you judge the people of another country by the actions of their governments or religions? Perception may provide access to truth but it is not the same as truth. Therefore defining something by its surface appearance is the equivalent of a lie and it darkens the light of the world.
To brighten the light of the world, it is up to the individual to first be their own light. In this regard the sum of parts is greater than the whole. Only the light in yourself can see the light of others; only the recognition of illusion is its end.
The best that you can do for yourself and for the world is one and the same: Wake up to reality and be your own light; discover your authenticity and your purpose will reveal itself.