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By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   5 comments
Message Vi Ransel


No matter how much we amass
we go immediately in hot pursuit
not of happiness, but
... more ...
which we believe is happiness,
just to stand still,
balanced on the knife edge
of failure/success,
financial security,
fame and power,
the "hedonic treadmill"
of the American Dream System,
is based on the promise,
not the delivery.
If we were to achieve
we would no longer need
to play the game.
Do the math.
Since the 1950s, Americans
have twice as many cars
houses twice as large
eat out three times more
their divorces doubled
suicides tripled
violent crimes quadrupled
a million a year drop out of high school
diabetes, obesity and depression
are epidemic while we are free
to pursue our whims and while
we are inundated with stuff
most Americans feel
they don't have enough.
And since this makes them feel
things are scarce, wall themselves
off, especially
from the have-nots.
As materialism and misery
have multiplied, happiness
has plummeted.  We spend
our lives making and selling
things including ourselves,
pulling away from "we"
because there's no short term gain,
like lab rats pushing a lever
for another hit of cocaine
to acquire things we do not need
and neglecting those we do.
Happiness is the absence
of striving
for it.
people have their minds fixed, not
on the pursuit of happiness,
but a pursuit followed not as a means
to an end, but an end
in itself.
Happiness is a byproduct.
By not seeking, we find it.
It is a road,
a destination.

The American Dream promises
that regardless of circumstances
of birth and within the law,
anyone can pursue his version
of happiness which has been reduced
to the pursuit of money.
Three of four college students hijacked
by capitalism, insist it's "essential"
to become "very well off financially."
To feel fully alive you must find
and follow that "little voice"
which says
"This is who I really am."
Capitalism's fetish for individualism
is actually a fixation on alienation.
From the first moment we're plopped
in front of corporate-sponsored
children's TV now available 24/7
with a booster shot when we enter school,
our square pegs are carved down
to fit capitalism's round,
cookie cutter holes, caricatures
of actual individuals encouraged
to develop our marketability
rather than our individuality,
sell our "selves" for a corporate identity
uniform in its conformity
supported by a multiplicity of meaningless choices
marketed as a means to individuality
as we each sit home alone
with our TVs -

capitalism's perfect couple

an alienated individual,
divided and conquered, alone
with the most perfect delivery system
for propaganda's hollow promises
ever invented.
Authentic individualism
making one's own decisions
- happiness -
is anathema
Sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall - "The secret
of life is to have something you devote your entire life to,
something you bring everything to, every minute of the day
for your whole life.  And the most important thing is -
it must be something you cannot possibly do.



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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).
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