A renewed American Individualism...
Returning to traditional American self-reliance and individualism is key to everyone surviving this economic downdraft and its related psychological impact.
Although I'm a generally optimistic person who usually figures out a way to make the best of things, under the assumption that in the long term things do work out for the best, I am also a realistic guy. I have trouble ignoring facts that are in front of me and actually get quite annoyed when people live in happy denial of bad circumstances. This is because I prefer to deal with actualities head on, resolve them as best as possible, to authentically move on with day-to-day life.
In general however, I'm not optimistic about the world and our country overall for the foreseeable future, especially 2011, for a variety of reasons. It seems to me that we are going to be forced to deal with a multitude of issues that stem from economic problems that have been forestalled by happy deniers. At the forefront in the US is unemployment, the mortgage crisis, heavy laden debt problems and a currency crisis international in scope. All other difficulties stem from those brass tacks. Additionally I recognize this means that a lot of people will be burdened with arduous and formidable hardships that I'm not impervious to and have myself experienced.
To me a renewed American Individualism is the most pragmatic down-to-earth way, that as singular mortal people, we can cope with what may occur to us or those around us. The larger entities of government, business, social service agencies, can do what they are able but it will necessarily be limited, leaving us as individuals to our own devices. As an immigrant, at its core, to me this is what being an American is all about.
Our minds and our hands are our best assets and not our possessions or bank accounts, although the latter two can help. In order to overcome turbulent and challenging times it takes a resolve to strengthen our minds and not fall prey to weak thinking which leads to bad decisions and poor character judgments. Doing this is not easy, nothing worthwhile is, it takes work and effort.
I believe that we are in an economic depression that can easily lead to a national group mentality depression, if it hasn't already started. As a country, in the Spirit of America, we cannot as individuals allow that to happen. Many of us have suffered from episodic depression and there is a lesson to be learned there, many of the coping skills in overcoming depression are the same ones we will all need to rise above adversity. We cannot let minds go to waste during this epoch and let it become an era known not only as an economic downturn but as a psychological breakdown of the American people.
This means we have to actively protect ourselves from unnecessary negative input and also avoid the poison of small minded thinkers who would have us fall into their web of lies and disaffection. This exists everywhere, from mainstream media to online commenters to political mongers of hate. Our best defense is sorting the wheat from the chaff and averting away from this destructive disinformation. Idle minds and bodies are the factories for discontent and discord for the soul.
A return to the tradition of American self-reliance and individualism is paramount to all of us surviving this economic downdraft and its related psychological impact. It is a practical and realistic way of dealing with the ups and downs of everyday life in unusual times. This does not mean every man for himself but rather that for each person who is able to maintain composure, another hand becomes available to lift someone else up who needs it. If we are always learning, doing something with our hands, keeping our bodies healthy and staying occupied with something useful and meaningful, no matter how large or small it seems, it is a contribution to everyone.