Graphic: Evolution of the American Dream?

I’m fairly sure I’ve got the two early steps down.  Trying to formulate the third (now).  Feel right?

evolution of american dream.001

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Discussion — 22 Responses

  • Javier November 15, 2013 on 4:51 am

    Great, but you need to define Honestly.

    • Javier Javier November 15, 2013 on 4:52 am

      What is Honesty in the 21st century?

      • Javier Javier November 15, 2013 on 5:32 pm

        It could be:
        innovate hard and network honestly
        or create innovatively and network honestly

      • Penses Javier November 16, 2013 on 7:49 pm

        My answer?: “Same thing Honesty was in the 1st century.”

        Webster’s take:

        : the quality of being fair and truthful
        : fairness and straightforwardness of conduct
        : adherence to the facts
        : sincerity

        • V! Penses November 19, 2013 on 12:37 am

          What’s cool about that definition is that an individuals have a much easier time inhering to those principals than corporations do.

          • John Robb V! November 19, 2013 on 3:56 pm

            Correct. JR

        • John Robb Penses November 19, 2013 on 4:15 pm

          Or = treat people the way you expect to be treated. Or = how you would treat an old and dear friend.

      • V! Javier November 19, 2013 on 12:58 am

        Actually, honesty on the internet is pretty easy. E-bay is a perfect example of peer-based honesty.

        You’ll never meet the perfectly honest man and if you did you’d punch him in two minutes!

        Everything with moving parts is subject to failure. Social systems of conduct are fairly complex, thereby more subject to failure.

        Hierarchical (vertical) systems are more subject to failure than a networked (distributed)system.

      • John Robb Javier November 19, 2013 on 3:53 pm

        Honesty? Treating people the way you would like to be treated (assuming that you don’t suffer from deep pathologies).

        Also, remember, we’re about to enter a world where your actions re: every other individual will be on display for ever. So, what you don from now on, should be something you are happy with.

  • David de Ugarte November 15, 2013 on 11:23 am

    As simple as beautiful!!

    • John Robb David de Ugarte November 19, 2013 on 3:47 pm


  • Matthew November 15, 2013 on 1:59 pm

    Does it have to be a positive outcome?

    – “Work hard and have your wealth extracted”.
    – “Work hard to teach your network to cheat”

    • John Robb Matthew November 19, 2013 on 3:55 pm

      It has to be positive outcome. JR

  • Adriel Hampton November 16, 2013 on 3:42 am

    I like it.

    • John Robb Adriel Hampton November 19, 2013 on 4:26 pm


  • Penses November 16, 2013 on 7:53 pm

    Feels right to me, at least as a start. Seems like a pretty powerful summary and observation.

  • David L Kline November 18, 2013 on 7:37 pm

    Perhaps “simply” might be clearer and more to the point than “honestly.”

    • John Robb David L Kline November 19, 2013 on 4:01 pm

      Honestly may be problematic. Here’s a practical consideration: We’re on the verge of seeing reputation systems develop that follow us around for a lifetime. A good reputation, provides you the greatest potential upside in a system like that?

      • BenK John Robb November 21, 2013 on 10:39 am

        It has been said that there are no second acts; but at the same time, nobody believes that Tom Sawyer would have his childhood pranks held against him for life by the community. Forgiveness and healing must be a part of any liveable American Dream.

        • John Robb BenK November 22, 2013 on 11:44 am

          BenK It should be, it’s going to be harder when everyone can look it up online. JR

  • BenK November 21, 2013 on 10:37 am

    The problem with deep questions is that they require deep answers.

    I’ve re-read some of the source material on the American Dream – Adams was the source of popularization and analysis, and he focused on double negative of ‘unencumbered’ more than on the positive aspects of the dream. His view of the American Dream had something to do with clearing obstacles – in his notion, hereditary class and caste, to accomplishment and betterment.

    Your own Edenic formulation is more powerful and probably more accurate – epic, even. However, it contains seeds of difficulty because in some certain sense, the entire American society lives a similar dream in which people have been attempting to attain/regain a Paradise. There are many interpretations of that Paradise and many attempts end in such tragedy (often in seeming proportion to their promise, probably for causal reason) that this is a readily recognized narrative arc.

    So let’s for a moment presume that most Americans (possibly unlike people of some other cultures) have been raised with the belief that each of them can contribute somehow to a ‘new heaven and new earth’ – some sort of Paradise – which recaptures and yet builds upon the origins of Eden. Some see the greatest potential in health care, or information technology, or government regulation, social reform. They have different images of the end state – great independance, great harmonious interdependance – with some commonalities (material satisfaction, a lack of violence).

    Perhaps you, and others, have noticed an erosion in the typical American confidence in progress or potential progress toward any such goal, overall. Another possibility is that some people are seeing people abandon their own version of the vision. I’m not sure. This needs to be sorted out.

    Then, perhaps, new visions, hopeful and seemingly attainable visions, can be constructed and advanced.

    • John Robb BenK November 22, 2013 on 11:51 am


      Thanks for the words of wisdom. There might be a way to make an Edenic ascent more tangible/attainable. IF we focus it exclusively on building a household that is provide bounty and beauty in a tangible way, it might be the platform we need to attain more lofty societal goals. Another way to slice it is that if people aren’t economically independent (few are today) it is impossible for them to make sound decisions — the type of decisions we need to move forward.