Sunday, March 25, 2012

Relativity and the community of nations

Speaking totally ex cathedra here, it seems to me that until the U.S. detaches from its mythic narrative interpretation of its destiny we will never have the sort of self reflection necessary to situate ourselves within the community of nations. What I mean is this: because we've integrated ourself within stories about things like The Global War on Terrorism and before it the Cold War, we've studiously avoided actually looking at ourselves, at least since the '70s. Our self meaning is provided by externals, and the interior of life in the U.S. is glossed over by platitudes that have little relation to reality. But this mythos not only detracts from true self awareness, it is also dangerous to the world in that in order for us to really maintain an identity, we have to intervene in the rest of the world, for "freedom", for "justice", in a messianic way, setting things right.

To be truly able to subsistent within our selves, the U.S. would need to relinquish these ideas of grand international destiny and instead get back to the basic concrete reality on the inside of it, and then see what's inside is roughly equivalent to what's inside other countries, although not identical. An appreciation that the U.S. is at once unique, but that, as the saying goes, it's unique just like everyone else, would go a long way to preventing our country from acting like a bull in a China shop with regards to the rest of the world.

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

Yes indeed. I recently complained that the theme of a synchroblog (synchronised blog) was too US centrict, and was roundly attacked for being mysogynist. The problem with American exceptionalism is that so many of the people who are wedded to it are unaware of it.