Sunday, March 13, 2016

Empire of Illusion - Chris Hedges

We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

Above is the Amazon introduction to a book by Pulitzer-Prize winning American journalist and author Chris Hedges.  His 2009 book, Empire of Illusion, is a warning and wake-up call to Americans. Here seven years after it's publication we see more clearly much of what Mr. Hedges revealed about our government, society and cultural beliefs. It's a book that I hope to share more about once I've delved more into it.  But I urge all American citizens out there, especially the younger generation, to pull up any interview online with Chris Hedges talking about either this book or some of the other issues he's tackled in books.  The man has a way of pulling back the mask of economics, politics, racism, etc... and exposing what lies beneath the surface; and what's hidden underneath is not always pretty.

Hedges has spent nearly 20 years as a foreign correspondent in war torn areas around the globe. He's seen firsthand the devastation of war. You can't help but listen and like what drives this man to stand up and shout out against the wrongs of governments, corporations and war. He's educating the masses as best he can to the dire future facing our country and perhaps civilization as a whole. His strong family/community values are unalterable and his principles seem tested and true. 

Truths about ourselves almost always taste bittersweet when coming from an outside critic. But with all the "illusions" that we as a country have adopted as our way of life, better we welcome the view from a man who's spent many years outside of our country learning about peoples and cultures we've been deceived to believe are evil, than continue drinking the kool-aide of a cracked and crooked, corporate controlled media.

Have we become a society in denial about who we as a country truly are? Is our capitalistic empire crumbling beneath our feet and we're too busy watching the latest "America's Got Talent" or "America's Top Model" episode to care? Pick up a book, listen to a podcast, stream a video or if fortunate to be in the right place at the right time attend a lecture where Chris Hedges is sharing views on where we as a nation have been, where we currently are and warnings to where we might end up if we continue on this empirical path of illusion. Let's end the spectacle and let literacy triumph.

Article on effects of Digital Distractions: Why can't we read anymore?. by Hugh McGuire

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