How America Lost Its Mind [*]

Today in my mailbox was the latest issue of The Atlantic, a magazine to which I subscribe. I had a few moments to sit and read into it. I read this article, which I would share with you.

While this blog is not exclusively political, our current events is considered by this blog. This article involves our collective and various mythologies, is content for our creative arts and written works, and, in my opinion, reflects underlying changes in our mind sets. This article addresses all this. Of most of this I have been aware, having been witness to this in my life. As I attempt to seek meaning in our current political era, I feel this article is an appropriate place to start.

How America Lost Its Mind

When did America become untethered from reality?

…The great unbalancing and descent into full Fantasyland was the product of two momentous changes. The first was a profound shift in thinking that swelled up in the ’60s; since then, Americans have had a new rule written into their mental operating systems: Do your own thing, find your own reality, it’s all relative.

The second change was the onset of the new era of information. Digital technology empowers real-seeming fictions of the ideological and religious and scientific kinds. Among the web’s 1 billion sites, believers in anything and everything can find thousands of fellow fantasists, with collages of facts and “facts” to support them. Before the internet, crackpots were mostly isolated, and surely had a harder time remaining convinced of their alternate realities. Now their devoutly believed opinions are all over the airwaves and the web, just like actual news. Now all of the fantasies look real.

People see our shocking Trump moment—this post-truth, “alternative facts” moment—as some inexplicable and crazy new American phenomenon. But what’s happening is just the ultimate extrapolation and expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional for its entire history…

This article has been adapted from Kurt Andersen’s book
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire—A 500-Year History,
to be published in September by Random House.

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