The process of success, once idealized in the American dream, has been divorced from its goal: It is empty, and has instead become an amorphous idea of being a somebody.
Richard Brautigan wrote, “Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords,” and at Stanford, we often forget the latter. We use coffee to keep us awake, to work, to be productive, and by doing so, our “matter of coffee” is solely utilitarian.
Over and over again, I listen to recent graduates telling me they wish they had taken their time with a “leave of absence” to pursue a passion, try out life in a new city or simply to work from home and take a breather. They advise me to enjoy my time, but the truth of the matter is that the time does not necessarily have to be spent here.
In viewing the entirety of the homeless as being beyond a minimum threshold of society, we place them below “us” and they are thus easy to help. But make no mistake, helping has the same result as blaming the individual: They are silent, and we are content.
On my drive back to school, following a circuitous route traced by an often mysterious family friend, I had the fortune to come across many landscapes and landmarks that form, in my mind at the least, integral constituents of Americana: the Grand Canyon, vast expanses of deserts split by soft-shouldered roads simmering in the heat,…
So something is apparently going on in those woods. Not witches, no voodoo, not even debauched teenagers, but just neckties loosening, hands shaking, cigars smoking, and the system following suit with their subsequent hangovers.
Ideologies are not dead, and the twin ideologies of materialism and consumption are thriving in even the remotest corners of Russia.