Watching America is a site with translated news items from abroad concering America.
Particularly liked this:
In his closing speech at the second meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress, Xi Jinping described the dream of his people:
“To achieve a comprehensively well-off society, to build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious modern socialist country, and to attain the Chinese dream of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation is to achieve prosperity, revitalize the nation and bring about the happiness of the people.”
Seven Traits Distinguishing the Chinese Dream from the American Dream
The Chinese dream is of national prosperity, while the American dream is of personal prosperity.
The goal of the Chinese dream is the revitalization of the nation, while the goal of the American dream is personal success.
The Chinese people must realize the Chinese dream themselves, but the American dream can be obtained by exploiting the talents and resources of other nations.
The Chinese dream is group harmony and happiness, while the American dream is personal freedom and happiness.
The Chinese dream has a deep sense of history, while the American dream has only practical experience.
The Chinese dream relies on the efforts and abilities of all, while the American dream depends on encouraging individuality.
The Chinese dream is for the glory of the nation, while the American dream is for personal glory.
Individualism, like anything else, can be taken too far. It is my belief that we Americans have in fact gone to extremes in this regard. We celebrate the unique and individual and are mostly ignorant or unconcerned with the communal. Humans are social animals, but we have designed a culture where much of our socializing is skin-deep; shared sports enthusiasms, a zillion Facebook [pseudo] friends, etc. The problem IMO is that the things we share are the trivia of life rather than the basics. There’s a big difference in the sense of community resulting from constructing a house from scratch with a handful of people or from attending a football game with a handful of people; between helping an 80-year-old plant/weed/harvest her garden and texting snarky comments about old-lady-drivers. Down deep, we know this, and try – usually with poor results – to acquire a sense of community. We gather about a sports, entertainment or political figures but the personal connection is missing. Instead of learning about the past and developing a personal link to our ancestors, we get our DNA typed and are satisfied [but not really] with a scientific document that strips the meat from our collective bones. We’re lucky to consider our children, much less seven generations into the future.
There was a time in America when the community was more important than the individual. There was generally room for individualism within those communities, but there were admittedly limitations and it was altogether proper to work toward eliminating those restrictions, basically through education. Unfortunately, we seem to have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. It’s no longer a case of being a fully-realized individual within a community – it’s a case of being a partially-realized individual without a community. The reason for that failure is simple – as a social animal, we cannot fully realize ourselves outside a community of our fellow humans.
Ben Franklin was reputed to have said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
He was referring to the Declaration of Indpendence and the revolution, but the sentiment applies equally well to the currrent challenges the American people are facing. We’re not going to fix our problems via individualism, unless your definition of ‘fix’ is to become a hermit, in which case you forfeit the communal part of yourself.