America is the Mecca of the religion I call Western Capitalist Hedonism. In this religion, consumption and enjoyment are the ultimate good. From the moment we are born we are taught that the “good life” comes from maximizing the amount of pleasure and enjoyment that we can attain. This is in opposition to eastern spiritualty or really any form of spirituality where generally, deriving joy or meaning from the physical world is seen as base and should be avoided. I don’t think that American society explicitly advocates for Western Capitalist Hedonism; however, unless corrected by religion or philosophy, I would argue that it is the default dogma that many Americans live their lives by.
Is Western Capitalist Hedonism a problem? I would argue that it probably is. First of all, America’s culture of consumption is environmentally unsustainable. Additionally, I’d argue that it makes addiction almost inevitable. Why is this the case? The connection between Hedonism and addiction is well established. What is less well established is the connection between capitalism and hedonism. American culture nurtures a unique, extreme form of capitalism that I believe has the added element of hedonism. This is topic is something I plan to continue thinking about. It all might be the ramblings of someone spiritual who has long been disillusioned by the values of the society within which he lives.