The classic work Democracy In the usa by Alex de Tocqueville has been the basis for scholarly search as well as conflict, disturbance, fighting, turmoil within that same community. Through a simple examination of this text, several of Tocqueville’s fights helped to define many of the constructs that made America what it was as well as people with led to what has become today. Of those unfortunate themes and ideas provided by Tocqueville, his ideas on individualism minted the loudest chord with me at night.
Tocqueville describes America as a society of joiners because of the fact that it is country almost entirely composed of immigrants. This kind of, in addition to the goal and assure of “equality of conditions that Unites states touted because an unofficial theme, helped bring citizens via many classes together in closer proximity and regards. Although this kind of sounds like a good thing, Tocqueville argued that with this blending together of sociable classes and increased chance people will isolate themselves, “bond of human estime is expanded and loosened (p.
483). Because people received wealth and left behind the daily find it difficult to survive a large number of sought out education and as a result with this enlightenment produced the “habit of often considering themselves in isolation (p. 484).
This individuality is likened to selfishness by Tocqueville but he can careful to indicate that he does not assume that it is the same. He performs this by conveying selfishness as “a ardent and overstated love of self that causes man to relate everything to himself alone, and individualism because “a reflective and peaceable sentiment that disposes every single citizen to… withdraw to a single side with his family and friends (p. 482). The way in which individualism caused people to separate via society with only their friends and family triggered a problem, because, by doing so a public conscience can not be founded. Individualism brings about a slow down of democratic culture and the results in this sort of “fabric of your time is torn at every instant and the track of generations is effaced (p. 483). If individuals are not very careful equality of conditions may, over time, help to make “each man forget his ancestors… and threatens finally to confine him wholly inside the solitude of his own heart (p. 484).
Tocqueville goes on to state, “all the passions that equality provides birth to or favors, there is one particular… that it makes its presence felt the hearts of all males at the same time: his passion of well-being (p. 422). Unfortunately this kind of passion usually manifests itself as a great uncontrollable prefer to acquire prosperity and material things. “The taste pertaining to material enjoyments, must be considered as the first supply of this key restiveness exposed in the actions of Americans associated with the inconstancy of which they offer daily examples (p. 512). Although this kind of materialistic pursuit of wealth may appear to be accurate freedom for a few, Tocqueville states that it is in reality the outward exhibition of the middle section class American’s overwhelming anxiety about death. “He who has restricted his heart solely to the search for items of this world, Tocqueville observes, “is always in a rush…. In addition to the merchandise that he possesses, at each instant this individual imagines a thousand others that death will prevent him via enjoying if perhaps he will not hasten (p. 512). Equality of circumstances awakens the inner feeling of desire and pleasure in all persons, but uncontrolled theses feelings can lead to an all consuming infatuation with their own fatality that ignites and slows passion leading to “unceasing trepidation powerful a person to “change his designs and his place at every moment (p. 512).
Tocqueville then simply goes on to describe an America where the individualism described previously mentioned leads to a desire for materialistic wealth that “disposes men to believe that every is only matter (p. 519). He talks about how this can cause an American world that emphasizes development of “the goods in the body (p. 521) and disregards the introduction of the mind and care of the soul. Tocqueville qualifies these statements by making the claim that there is zero other nation that is “less occupied with philosophy compared to the United States (p. 403). It is both profound and interesting that Tocqueville saw this taking place in his time as it offers certainly extended and cultivated since then. The epidemic of men and women, like the Kardashians, becoming celebs for carrying out nothing properly illustrates what he explains as “minds so disposed, every fresh method leading to wealth by a short path… every discovery that facilitates pleasures and augments them seems to be the most spectacular effort of human intelligence (p. 436).
These findings lead to another important point of Tocqueville’s, the lack of understanding and allowance to get the “profound, slow work (p. 435) of ones own mind. During his travels Tocqueville found few-people that would take the time to develop a authentic passion and desire for introspection and consideration. It is because on this that America eventually offered birth to philosophy as well as the practice of pragmatism only serves to illustrate what Tocqueville described as America’s “unparalleled energy toward application (p. 437). This “unparalleled energy is what generated the practice of organized obsolescence and why costly ever increasing a part of day to day existence in America. With all the rapid improvement of technology it is not unusual for a laptop or other device to become obsolete within just weeks. Even though the device was different, Tocqueville observed this phenomenon the moment speaking with a sailor, “art of navigation makes this sort of rapid progress daily that the most beautiful send would shortly become almost useless in the event its lifestyle were extented beyond some years (p. 428). Speedy advancement, in addition to the population’s wish for the “latest and greatest forced craftsmen “to generate many imperfect things extremely rapidly (p. 441) in order to satisfy demand. Even dialect in America improved and began to mirror this “industrial taste(p. 435)
While using ever increasing emphasis that was placed on progress and software it is not surprising that the purity of the disciplines were affected as well. Tocqueville described the way art and artists in the united states could not break free the desire to become relevant if he talked about how the work switched from depicting “sentiments and ideas to “emotions and sensations (p. 442). The embodiment on this, according to Tocqueville, is best illustrated by simply America’s passion with cinema, which he regarded as “most natural to democratic peoples (p. 467). He procedes say “Most of those who have attend the acting on the stage do not seek joys of the mind, but lively emotions of the heart. They do not expect to find a piece of literary works but a spectacle (p. 467 / 468). This can be the direct outcome to and result of the “practical, contested, and monotonous (p. 448) lives that have been created due to the emphasis that was positioned on the materialistic growth we discussed previous. Through television set and film, this kind of spectacle, which Tocqueville criticized and ascribed to democratic communities, has reached a level of cultural significance and lewdness that this individual could have under no circumstances predicted.
Tocqueville believed a strong and flourishing democratic society could cultivate, in the spirit of its people, a mind of the fragile balance between the finite sum of material merchandise this world has to offer and the mind-boggling affect associated with an “exalted and almost fierce spiritualism (p. 510). Throughout the examination of Tocqueville’s terms it became very clear that biggest threat to America is definitely not foreign enemies or maybe the government, the very best threat to America will be it’s individuals. Only through understanding and the abandonment with the selfish practice of individuality will America survive.
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