The USA is an absurdity


Ozodi Osuji

If you study the history of the USA and observe her current social behaviors, what you see are people who unconsciously stab themselves and gin up social conflicts, conflicts that, to you, seem avoidable and you wish they would avoid them by doing what to you seem the appropriate things; but, no, they do what to you seem inappropriate and go through their conflicts and despite those conflicts progress; they progress apparently more than other countries.
The level of creativity in the USA is high; Americans come up with more new technologies than other countries; they muddle on and not collapsing, as it seems to you that they would.
No, America will not soon collapse. It is destined to soldier on doing self-hurtful things and seem to solve them, only to do more self-destructive things, and keep going as she has always done.
Consider the issue of the US political economy. It does not take rocket science to realize that capitalism is the most productive economy in the extant world; capitalism, sadly, means that a few wins and the many lose. Therefore, what ought to be done is take money from winners, via taxes, and use that money to provide social services for the losers. The public ought to pay for education for all children through university and vocational education and ought to provide all citizens with publicly paid health care. Much of the developed economies in Europe have done it but America refuses to do the needful; she keeps producing enormously poor people and poorly educated people. In time, this unfair situation will probably lead to French (1789) and Russian (1918) type revolution where the poor kill the rich. Yet, the country would not use pure reason to correct its social anomalies; it allows grotesque economic inequalities to exist in the land of great wealth.
Consider the issue of race. I believe that everyone in the USA understands the nature of racism and what caused it. As such, everyone understands its cure, but America would not do anything to cure it but, instead, stoke it and have social conflicts and then pass palliative laws that seem to address the conflicts it socially engineered.
The core of racism is white folks neurotic desire to seem superior to black folks. The neurotic person, as Alfred Adler pointed out in his book, The Neurotic Constitution, 1912, feels inferior and uses his mind to desire compensatory superiority. He invents a false, superior self, a deluded self-image, and struggles to become that false, superior self.
At the back of the neurotic’s mind (as it were in his subconscious or unconscious mind) is the desire to be superior to other persons.
The neurotic “acts as if” he is superior but knows that he is not superior. If he believed that he is superior to other people, he would transit from neurosis to psychosis.
In neurosis the desire to be superior is a mere desire not a belief, yet; in psychosis, the belief in one’s superiority is accepted as true hence the madman is no longer operating in the world of reality, and walks the streets eating from garbage can; he mumbles to his self his superior self and commanding superior armies that exist only in his imagination.
White America is neurotic because it wants to believe the impossible: that one human being can be superior to others; it refuses to become sane, which lies in accepting the absolute equality of all people.
Apparently, clinging to neurotic wish for superiority makes white America do what she does that gins up social conflicts and then she tries to solve them and seems to solve them only to have her neurotic underlying belief show up, again, and again.
An extant Instance of US neurosis is the current efforts by republican controlled states to pass laws that suppressed black and brown people’s voting. They will pass those Jim Crow laws (other countries pass laws making voting mandatory, giving all people ID cards, and making voting day a public holiday but racist white Republicans seek devious ways to prevent non-whites from voting and still call their country a democracy).
Black people will oppose them, and the American polity will be inflamed. There will be demonstrations and riots and killings of black people by sadistic white police officers who seem to enjoy kneeling on the necks of black people and asphyxiating them to death and they are tried and acquitted, and the madness continues.
This mad pattern of progressing by unconsciously stimulating conflict makes me want to stop the pattern. I even tried to run away from the USA because I could not stomach its racism; I saw an America where they deliberately hire unqualified white persons instead of qualified black persons, and, as it were, were trying to make black folks angry and fight with them.
In their neurotic minds, only white folks are qualified for jobs when, in fact, what they consider qualification is a joke.
You may run away from the USA but must come back to it and try to live with its historical pattern of injustice, its abuse of black persons and do your best to correct it, but you would not eliminate it.
America progresses by inflicting unnecessary wounds on itself and bandaging those wounds. You cannot change her from this neurotic pattern of behavior regardless of your well-wishing; the country progresses at her own neurotic pattern of growth (I am parodying Karen Horney’s book, Neurotic Pattern of Growth, New York, Norton, 1950).
It is this perpetual self-induced conflict that makes the country great, such as it is. Every country progresses according to its own mad pattern.
China progresses by the rulers being autocratic and killing opposers to the rulers. Russia knows only autocracy. Nigeria progresses by being a land of thieves where to steal is to be made a chief and there is nothing that you can do about that stupidity, just as there is nothing that you can do to US apparent stupidity.
Life is not art; life does not obey our ideals but, instead, churns along according to its underlying chaotic pattern.
One must live with America’s chaos and anarchy; one should not strive to make her sane for, apparently, if you healed the people of their neurosis and delusions, they would no longer be Americans and would not progress.
If Americans are healed and behaved lovingly, they would die? I do not know. I am resigned to living in the hell that is the USA, a place where folks know the right things, love your neighbor as you love you, but do not do it; instead, they do the wrong things, and despite them seem to make progress in the world of science and technology.
Life is absurd, existential philosophers tell us and the USA models that absurdity of life.

March 31, 2021

I woke up from this dream, at 4AM, angry. In the dream I was given two children to take charge of while their parents went out. So, I was alone with these two children. The children were rambunctious and unruly and would not obey me and go sit down. I decided to leave them alone. I sat in the living room’s couch and see them go get a rope and tied it to a hook on the ceiling and swing on the rope; they swing to outside the room from an open window. This was irritating. Some one came to the door and I opened it and a bunch of people entered the living room and proceeded to another room in the house and began talking about their God, reading the bible. I was frustrated. One of the children swung outside through the open window and I ran outside to go get him back; he ran along the road and I went after him; I saw two people coming towards the house and they told me that I did not do a good job taking care of the children and that I am fired from my job. I began trying to explain to them what was going on and they would not listen to me, and I woke up.


Upon waking up from the dream, I was angry. I asked what I did or thought about during yesterday that produced this absurd and irritating dream. I could not come up with one. Eventually, I told me that the dream reflects my relationship with the USA. I see white Americans as unruly children and try to correct their behavior through idealism but could not do so, for America does not like idealistic people. America muddles through despite her apparent irrational behaviors. At 5AM I went and typed the above essay in thirty minutes. I do not know if I have explained the dream; all I know is that the dream made me angry and it seemed absurd; life is absurd, I, as an existentialist philosopher, accept.

Ozodi Osuji
March 31, 2021

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