The problem with Americans is that they prefer the matrix because it is easy. Man's sensual lazy side overrides the recognition for what brings true happiness — selflessness and sacrifice. When I was young, my dad taught us the value of hard physical manual labor. Of course we did not think it was valuable at the time, but looking back you can see how it was. After building fences or splitting logs all day, or cutting another six-inch piece of bar metal in the band saw hour after hour at my father's machine shop, you realize it is a battle. A mental battle between self-discipline and laziness. One voice saying I hate this, the other saying but money and work is important. Looking back it was not the money or work, but the development of relationships and self-esteem that came from these experiences that was valuable.
I am trying to raise four kids in this techno matrix and the more absorbed they become the more they detest work and sacrifice. You cannot compete with the number of gadgets they have to consume their interest and time. It's like fighting fire ants. After two hours of 175 channel HD satellite TV they make their way over to X-box virtual reality "Saving Private Ryan." About 10 minutes into the game, Ryan is paused as a vibration is felt in the pocket. What do you know, it's Josh texting about the new Metallica guitar hero. Two hours later research begins on Facebook, YouTube, and car audio. Now I am inundated with cravings for Wii with the excuse that we get exercise out of it. Like moving your arm two feet is going to melt 50 pounds of blubber.
I see the problem as over-protection and conditioned laziness. Society coddles and pacifies youth so that a scratch is akin to broken bones. One day I was helping an Eagle Scout do "one pull-up" at the park by holding his feet, which only caused him to let go and fall. He nicked his forehead and acted like the world was coming to an end. I was more concerned about the reaction from his parents.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was correct. We have a generation of passive intellectual girly men who lack the courage and martial virtue to make bold changes. Perhaps the collapsing economy will put us back on track.
Indeed, the purpose of all our evolving neuro-circuitry is to make survival of the species easier. But apparently, even the actions of mother nature can have unintended consequences too. In this case, extinction of the species through overburdening the environment through the technology and resources required to sustain the matrix. It's not just Americans who prefer the matrix. Even indigenous people seem willingly drawn to it, once exposed. Americans just happened to have arrived there first, evolutionarily speaking. Just as the mind is a hologram of the brain, the matrix is a hologram of the evolution of human consciousness.
I'm with you that "man's sensual lazy side overrides the recognition for what brings true happiness — selflessness and sacrifice — although I think the term "lazy" is a Western value judgment. Selflessness and concern for our fellow man, when put into direct action, in my humble opinion, naturally entails hard work. Unfortunately, our efforts are being directed away from that trajectory at every turn by a pathogenic system called global capitalism. Human beings naturally respond to the promise of direct self benefit and unnatural abundance with little effort. Of course it's only a promise, and is only fulfilled for the elites who manage the medium of exchange necessary for complex societies. But it's a very alluring promise most of the world.
My next book is partly about the value of hard physical manual labor. Physical work that directly provides sustenance deepens the practitioner. It allows for contemplation while working. And develops the inner self in dozens of ways that simply performing a single task for a single purpose, money, does not.
Regarding the "techno matrix," I say, "Amen!" I don't think it is possible for our society and people top counteract what we have so deeply created within ourselves. I think an eventual collapse and global dieback will be the foundation for restoration of the human ecology of consciousness and human interrelationship. Still, that does not mean we should not work right now toward laying down the foundational insight for that restoration. Some people are wired and inspired to go forward with the lamp ahead of the rest of society. That doesn't make them superior, just functional at their highest level. Which we are generally inclined to see as spiritual.
Your comment about the Eagle Scout trying to do one pull-up is one more example of learned helplessness. Both on his part, the part of the parents, and as a result, conditioning you to hesitate to take human action is helping a young man forward in life.
Yes, the feminization of Western males is a real thing. The confusion of political gender justice with male essence and vitality. Also, the blurring of sexual identity in a world where all parties are encouraged to be inert ingredients of a global, corporate state, so as to facilitate better management of the masses.
In art and labor,