North America 37
North America 37 to post add picture of the shore?
Thoughts on Leaving the USA
In the British Diplomatic Service there was a tradition of giving a confidential report about the country that you were stationed in. I think it was called a valedictory.
Once when I was staying with people in Germany, someone asked me what I thought of them. He happened to be a talented Boat Builder, but he meant the culture.
So I'm going to attempt to answer that question, even though no American has asked me. But they didn't start two World Wars, and build the best cars and bake the best bread.
I suppose you could start there, no other nation has the confidence of Americans, or live in such a diverse and stunning land. But one of the signs of a successful industrial nation is good railways, and the neglect that is happing here is tragic. And I'm afraid a lot of people couldn't care less. It's worth reflecting on the tendency to appear insincere, according to Existentialism, to be authentic is one of the key qualities to live by.
The obsession with private land notices is disturbing, in North European countries it is allowed to camp so many meters from a dwelling overnight. And in Britain there is a network of footpaths and bridle ways , where nobody would mind you putting up a tent discreetly. In one of the American Anthems there is a line "the land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" as for the Free maybe there is a Fee to pay and it certainly helps to be Brave at least to counteract the prevailing sense of fear that I pick up.
I'm afraid a sense of trust between the Government Agencies and many people seems to be getting lost. When I was growing up I admired the ninetieth century American thinkers , Thoreau, Whitman, Emerson, not to mention Eleanor Roosavelt, Upton Sinclair, and I F Stone who had a vision of their country that seems to be not only lost but that critical understanding is seen as hostile rather than positive. I suppose us Brits don't have such a positive drive for the future, we don't progress with such blind haste as seems to happen here.
The quest to consume is astonishing, even the self help movement don't seem to reflect on where it's going. just " moves on" to the next fashion, without picking up the pieces.( the use of Mindfulness with everything, without the moral elements) So what's behind this seemingly unsustainable optimism, according to Thenka , it's a sense of shame. What do you think?
In the Western World generally religion is on the ropes, but America seems to be getting more fatalistic.
And even though your the leading GM nation, the proliferation of everything Organic seems confusing to me.
According to Carl Jung , charismatic leaders carry an equally dark shadow. So chaps like Blair, Clinton, Bush and Obama are by their very nature, going to disappoint.
Another phenomenon I've noticed is when people get to old age they loose that unbounded optimism, a world weariness takes over and a hard sourness in speech seems to proliferate. With a final fling of consumerism an enormous RV is acquired and a snazzy jeep is towed around behind as the search for the Dream reaches the end.
Or the other alternative is to acquire an equally enormous motor cycle or three wheeler, snazzy leathers and play being young again, and mix with the affluent young. This is also prevalent in Europe.
The current embrace of cycling is not new of course. Apparently in the twenties they built a wooden cycle trail from downtown LA to Pasadena. But will it get people out of their cars? and exercise more, rather than driving to the gym, the UK has the same problem.
The lack of a historical understanding is another thing that bothers me. FDR vice Henry Wallace, was removed from the ticket and Truman was put in his place. Oliver Stone has made a documentary series " the untold history of the U.S. " watch on Vimeo , but many people I talk to have never heard of him. If he had become President the country may have taken a very different direction, you certainly would have had a proper health care system.
So what is the future for this country that at one time had the highest standard of living in the world. Can its people downsize as the worlds resources diminish, competition from Asia gets stronger and the debt gets ever larger. When I first arrived here In the 60s I was greeted as a ' breath of fresh air' I made good friendships, though eventually my love affair which started when I was thirteen, started to run its course. This trip has reminded me of why I was so infatuated and also the limits of my commitment.
If I was to make a general statement about how I experience the American character it would be that it isn't curious enough, doesn't ask enough questions, has a tendency to conform within its various groups. Often lacks a critical edge. Some of the people that I've gotten close to on this trip have confided to me , that they wouldn't say that to their own friends. It seems to come from a sense of fear, lack of trust , maybe an over competitiveness and a need to be liked or popular.This maybe more true of the men than the women.
It's always worth keeping in mind that guys like Charlie from Dallas are going to be the future leaders, he was even interested in politics, so don't get too downhearted.
To probably misquote a famous saying: an unexamined life, is not worth living.
Don't misunderstand me, as for cycling the States is up there with Northern Europe, provided you don't try to cover more than 30/40 miles per day with a loaded bike and have rest days every 4/5 days. Remember posted mileage say 45 means a 6 hour ride at 7/8 mph average. And the drivers are just a little more friendly and respectful, but in the UK there's a war on! Many drivers display passive aggression, they pass very close, and hoot. The kids wind down the window and scream expletives. Only in NZ are the youth more mean. And as far as OZ is concerned, better dress up like Ned Kelly, armoured, as the trucks will wipe you out quicker than opening up a Fosters.
Just a nod towards those committed people who run a bus service to connect rural towns. Watching wheelchairs be carefully handled, and my bike safely riding on the purpose built frame. Bus drivers of America I salute you, and the friendly conversation that the travellers exchange with each other is in itself uplifting. No there's nothing much that a good nights sleep could not fix most of your problems. I Love You America.
But I think I have said enough, I would like any constructive comments, not those rude statements that seem so common on the Internet.
The American People Deserve Better . PLG Tony