Manufactured Free Will?

Humans are finicky creatures.  We’re finicky because we quickly change our minds about the same idea in different contexts.  For instance, take the idea of the individual, and in particular, the theme of individual responsibility so deeply ingrained in areas such as politics, literature, education, etc.  The view behind individual responsibility follows as such:

1. We’re independent free-thinking beings with full control of all our actions, emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and other elements that compose the mysterious concept that we call the “self.”
2. It follows then that if we don’t do something (lose weight; stop smoking, earn enough money to afford basic needs), it is a reflection of the self; not the person’s social network, communal network, or general society in which the person has been created.

We tell ourselves that constantly and it enables a great many chances to blame the victim.  This is strange, because we know the influence and power of the world outside any individual.  In fact, that’s the entire premise of the modern advertising industry.  I’m not sure there was ever a time in which advertising was benevolent or stuck solely to the adherent to solely inform the public of the product without unnecessary or manipulative information; but that’s certainly not the case today.  But much of the advertising out there goes beyond the pale to send a variety of messages to the individual to convince them to purchase a product, perform an action, or believe a certain “truth.”

Let’s take the infamous Paris Hilton commercial for Carl Jr. Burger chain:



Now, a burger; that mixture of white (read: no nutritional value beyond calories) bread, tasteless lettuce and tomato, and hormone & antibiotic injected beef patty has very little to offer the consumer besides a quick fix of sugars, fats, and salts (the flavors that trigger our inner food junkie) and upwards of ½ of your total caloric intake for a day (that’s not even getting to the requisite French fries and soda to make it a complete “meal”).  The advertisement offers no actual information; besides 2 things.  1.  It’s a sandwich.  2.  Carl Jr. sells them.  However, it takes over 30 seconds to tell that information.  The rest of the time, as you saw, was watching Paris Hilton in an orgiastic romp, gaining immense pleasure from the classy black car, the juicy white suds, and the projecting hose as well as the occasional beef injection from biting into her Carl Jr. hamburger.

Here’s my point:  Most estimate the advertising industry at over $400 billion dollars in the US.  To keep this in perspective, realize that other industries that need this much cash to operate include the illegal drug trade, college and universities, and the water industry; each one is runs around $400 billion.  The vast majority of advertisements that we are exposed to don’t operate on simple informative pamphlet style listing the benefits of the product.  Rather, they rely on numerous elaborate, obvious, and subtle messages communicated through camera angles, celebrities, serene images, distractions, misinformation, misdirection, and many other tactics.  And they do so, because they know it works.  The advertising industry doesn’t spend this much because it doesn’t work.  Nike doesn’t spend millions on Michael Jordan and then Tiger Woods believing that their presence and influence will not return millions more.  Pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising than on actual research.  Again, they do it because they know that people are highly influential.  No matter how much we tell ourselves, we can avoid the messages in one area, we fall prey to them somewhere else.  Some of us can say, “I’m not fooled by ads; I never go to McDonalds” and yet, we overspend and are easily fooled into buying sports equipment off infomercials, or healthcare products to attain a beauty that is unrealistic/unattainable.  We all have these blindspots in which we are swayed and moved by forces beyond the individual.

Humans are also finicky creatures; because the research we do upon ourselves continues to swing like the pendulum back and forth in trying to discover who we (or I—that will make more sense after reading this) are.  That swing is moving back in favor of privileging the large networks in which humans operate the profound effects they have on decisions large and small; emotions, and so much more.

The recent publication of the book Connected by Drs. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, reveals that possibly, the power of the individual is undermined greatly by not just our immediate network, but people 2-3 degrees removed. While the argument presented by the authors is certainly being hotly debated among scientists, others find its merits relevant and appropriate given what we know of human interaction.

Thus our sense of free will is challenged significantly; and the unsettling thing about that is, it could also generate an increase in anti-social behavior according to this article.  Bering discusses some rather deep and conflicting issues around this idea of variables in how we come to decisions that may challenge many.  At the core, is a discussion that posses the question, if it’s proven that “free will” as we currently understand it, does not actually exist, but upon discovering/realizing this, many are encouraged to commit antisocial behavior, should we then inform the public at large of it?  How might that be problematic?  Or the larger question; why is the systematic response, anti-social behavior; what is being triggered by the newly introduced information?

It’s equally problematic when we are dealing the violations of the individual.  When someone threatens another person (in particularly, physical violence), it’s hard to not to just completely accept the “no free will” or “social network’ theories.  After all, if aggression and violence is ingrained in the sexes, then we should expect violence to continue and it’s doubtful anyone really wants that.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
So how does one define or consider “free” in such a context?  How are do we consider the many “freedoms” the US has to offer?  Equally challenging, how do we think about slavery (and in this case, I’m referring to the general idea of slavery; not the specific slavery that is normally associated with U.S. history but is not the sole representation of slavery in history)?

How do we consider these ideas as they apply to cultural, ethnic, and racial differences?

Does this in a way “set free” the villains of history such as Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, etc?  Why or why not?  In what ways, might this debate influence the way we “tell” history?

In what ways does this influence our different knowledge systems and fields of knowledge?  Does this mean we should look at literature differently (including the literature that stays in the canon as well as the literature that doesn’t)?

What do the articles suggest with regards to some of these questions and your own potential fields of knowledge?



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Comments

  1. Normally, the public only discusses the great advances and overall progress the human race has made. However, it is quite evident that we have all retrogressed in several aspects. Why we excel in certain areas and neglect others, I don't think I or anyone else will truly comprehend. The word "free" and the act of being "free" consists of many different things, and the interpretation one receives also heavily depends on the context the word is being used. It is safe to say that nowadays people (sadly, not everyone) has the ability to say, dress, and express him or herself to a certain degree. On the other hand, people no longer belong to just themselves. The human race belongs to the great Gods of media that have no shame or conscious. The 8 mediums of media (newspapers, magazines, TV, film industry, radio, recording industry, advertisement and public relations) have completely brain-washed the human race.
    Throughout history, by one means or another humans have consciously and subconsciously given up their rights to either other individuals or things. I believe the center core of this phenomenon is the fear of not fitting in, or the overwhelming desire to be associated with something much greater than ourselves. As a result of these world-wide insecurities and fears people such as Adolf Hitler and Rafael Trujillo were able to dominate masses for so long.

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  2. I completely agree with the facts in this article. We live in a very superficial world now a days. I experienced a lot of this during high school. My town was a wealthier town. To some if you weren't wearing Ralph Lauren or Lacoste and had a pair of Ugg boots on then you weren't really "cool" I guess. My school was pretty separated. Everyone has their group and its the same group of people at every party. It helped if you were an athlete because my school was very strong athletically so if you did well you would have your name in the paper and since it was a small town everyone would know you. Countless times I would have a teacher or another student say "oh nice round you had there yesterday" and of course I would be a confused until I read the newspaper or looked online. I believe that our whole society now is based on looks. Based on that Paris Hilton commercial, you can see why. Personally watching Paris Hilton wash a car does not make me want to eat a burger. Never mind the fact that the burger in the video probably weighs as much as she does. Yet that commercial probably brought in millions more in sales for Carl's. And this brings me to my point as well. I think that most people need something dramatic to happen in their lives to stop thinking about status and how they look. In my town their was a young girl who moved in and eventually took her own life due to bullying. It was an awful situation that eventually made its way across the nation and onto network television. I was only at school for a few more months after the incident but you could already tell that people stopped caring about what others looked like or whatever was cool. This brings up the free will part. Obviously it was not this young girls choice to come to our town and get bullied. Why was it her that went through it and not someone else? This is why the whole free will thing is just a never ending debate. Too many things come into place. God, differences in religion, birthplace, and your families economic differences depend on what will happen in life. You could have two very very similar kids. One from a rich suburban neighborhood and one from more of an inner city area. Statistically I would say that the kid who was better off from birth would be more successful because he would have greater opportunities. One may be able to afford a good college while the other can't. I've heard it many times from my parents, "life just isn't fair". If I had a dollar for every time I heard that I would be rich. To me its all a chance. Hitler could of been in my shoes for all we know it was just chance that he was produced from his parents and not mine. I could go on and on about this but it is a never ending debate and will most likely never end. Free will is all just chance to me. Whatever happens happens and is most likely for a good reason.

    -Jake

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  3. The aritcle is right that we are easily influenced. A commercial with Paris Hilton is going to attract many customers. Regular people are obsessed with celebrities. Until recently, everyone loved gatorade and Nike because Tiger Woods was a part of it. The Nike golf wear was bought solely because of Woods.
    We all have the right to be free, but at times it's hard to resist the products in advertising.
    Many people blame themselves, but society has a big part of success and failure. There are so many ads to lose weight. There is so much pressure from society. People should be able to live there lives without being bothered about personal life choices.
    When the author says that its like slavery, I totally agree with that statement. People are like slaves to advertising products. People are forced to buy even if the product aren't that great. I found it suprising that companies spend more to advertise a product, then to research it.
    America does offer complete freedom, but companies try to take away that freedom. Advertising should have new rules. Most times not all the facts are advertised. So basically the ads are almost lieing because there leaving out important details, and adding a celebrity instead.

    -Mike

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  4. When it comes to expressing free will, big companies of expensive or popular products will do anything for promotion. The more buyers, the better it looks for the company. Celebrities easily influence people to buy products that they represent. For example, Tiger Woods was supporting Nike golf wear, which boosted Nike sales a lot. Although Paris Hilton really has nothing to do with burgers or the fancy black car, the sales of Carl’s burgers most likely went up due to the fact that she is a celebrity. A lot of ads and the media have to do with looks and the people promoting them. Referring to slavery, the actors and celebrities in commercials promoting the seller’s products may be considered slaves to company. In different cultures, people obviously practice different beliefs and religions and may find some publicity disturbing if it is a more sexual advertisement. Back during Hitler’s ruling, the Jews had absolutely no “free will” and were under the rule of Hitler. If they did not do what they were told, then they were killed. “Free will” is often advantage of in society today. Although everyone has the right to say what they want or do what they want, people tend to take it out of context which could cause issues with others.

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  5. I strongly agree with Brittney with regards to the questions asked. I believe that when it comes to expressing free will, the big companies really will do anything to drive up their sales. I agree with Brittney when she says "free will is an advantage is society today."this is true. there was no free will back in the day sometimes and now there is an abundance of free will for all Americans at least.The world we live in is all about money and financial success whether we want to believe it or not. Free will is definitely an advantage is society today. This is what drives and attracts the customers to buy the products on a daily basis. It is ones free will that drives them to buy these products, Tiger Woods and Nike golf is huge, and so is Lebron James and his basketball brand with Nike as well. It doesn't really matter if the person promoting it actually has a relation to the product, it all depends on the actor/actress's celebrity status. For example, Lebron, Tiger, and Paris Hilton are known on a global level and customers are attracted to these various products just because famous people are promoting them. We all use are free will on a daily basis and most of the time we don't even think before we buy. We just look as the person promoting the product and if this particular person is popular among u we will simply buy the product. It is that simple.

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  6. I completely agree with this article that humans are easily influenced. We have the freedom to think and believe what we want, but society inadvertently puts ideas and beliefs in our heads. Society uses magazines, billboards, commercials and celebrity spokesmen to advertise products and ideas to the general public. If a celebrity is seen wearing a specific brand of clothing or promotes a belief; people will not only want to buy the brand of clothing, but also change their beliefs. Humans have the freedom to think and do as they please, but celebrities and society tend to have a greater influence. Companies try to take away the freedom humans have by marketing products and portraying beliefs through celebrities. Advertisers’ majority of the time are lying to us by leaving out important fact or altering information to make us buy and believe different things. The best part is we all know this but are still influenced by what we see on television, read in magazines, or hear on the radio. In a way I believe this article sets free the villains of history such as Adolf Hitler, because people were following their “celebrities” of the time. Hitler and other villains put different ideas into the heads of humans of their time; therefore, humans were influenced by these villains. At the same time, I don’t believe this article sets free the villains of history because people should still know the difference between right and wrong.

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  7. Wow, advertising, the mass media the greatest way to control the "Un- Washed Masses". I saw what my fellow class members wrote, and I enjoyed reading their comments. Mine on the other hand are not so nice.
    I remember a time when advertising did things that made you want to buy that new car or smoke that brand or drink that wine, and they made you feel good about it. What happen to entertainment remember that was meant to relax us, to ease our minds after a long hard fu@#$% day at work! I'll tell you what happened we were sold out by corporate America.
    I don't care about " Who screwed the pooch" or what Auto Dealership is having a sale. The worst part is somewhere someone saw an add and is ordering a pill to help him get a bigger Swagelhammer so his wife will love him again. How about the guy who saw Paris in that Rubber/Plastic/Leather jock strap, and now has to wear eye glasses!!
    We see somthing on T.V or in an ad in the paper or on the radio and off we go to buy it or rent it or whatever we do. I do the same stupid shit but Paris Hilton could not sell me air if she was naked and I was suffocating!

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  8. After reading this blog, I was fully interested about society as a whole. It is crazy how advertising has such a great impact on what we decide to spend our money on. To elaborate, I found it hilarious that the Carl Jr. Burger chain commercial consisted almost entirely of Paris Hilton rather than the chain itself. Rather than showing the consumer more about their product and food chain information, Paris Hilton was utilized to catch the eye of the viewer in an attempt to make people invest in their food. It is amazing to consider the fact that most advertisements we see are not informative and do not have much relevance to the product itself. More often times then not, advertisements use popular images and celebrities to gain more viewers and customers. I found it interesting in the blog when it was stated that Pharmaceutical companies spend more to advertise than they spend on actual research. This is in fact quite tactical because these advertisers know that people can often become addicted to watching infomercials and see appealing advertisements that make them desire to buy the product. Businesses thrive off of our society’s non-existent sense of will power when it comes to advertisements. In conclusion, I fully agree with this blog as it states that humans are finicky creatures. We fall short of our individual responsibilities when we give in to the modern advertising industry.

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  9. This article, in my opinion, is spot on. Humans are extremely influenced by what they see and what they hear. Sure, free will may exist, and we do have many rights along with that term. But, even so, all the big companies are using our free will against us and twisting it into what they want us to think. Because of various things they release and the commercials they put out there, people may instantly be drawn to their product. Like the article says, the fact that Nike has such people like Michael Jordon behind their franchise definitely helps their sales. It's really rather sad how our minds can be so easily mushed into thinking that something is better or will help you more then a certain product just because of something we see in an advertisement. That commercial for the Carl Jr. sandwich sort of made me cringe in realization. Because of that commercial, which contained a very small amount of the actual product, is going to cause a mass influx of sales because Paris Hilton was parading around half naked
    while wet, washing a car. If the commercial had just consisted of say, some people in the restaurant discussing the burger, chances are nothing drastic would really happen. How easily we are influenced by what we see all around us is a sad fact, but it's true, and needs to be addressed.

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  10. As time progresses we see more and more sex in the media; in the movies we watch, the songs we listen to, advertisements in magazines, and especially now in commercials. Seeing Paris Hilton rolling around on a luxurious car with the huge cheeseburger she would most likely never be caught with in real life makes the viewer think that if the cheeseburger is good enough for a celebrity such as Paris Hilton it will definitely be good enough for them, so they go out and buy that product. For example; lately there have been many ads involving Peyton Manning. When people see a commercial with a well-known athlete such as himself, they will think it must help his performance, so if they use the product they will also be happy and become as successful as him. Unfortunately, this is very untrue.
    The media tends to find the viewers weak spots and uses it to their advantage, for example targeting viewers based on demographics such as race, age, gender, religion, etc. They will put more commercials targeted towards teens on MTV versus on a channel such as HGTV or Disney. Commercials and movies have been taking it too far by selling sex a little too aggressively and making some viewers uncomfortable. I personally think seeing a woman covered in suds holding a cheeseburger, half naked on a car is a bit degrading. The media is making women seem more and more like they're only out there to be looked at rather than as people who can do much better than be in such commercials. I think the media needs to change the way they do things.

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  11. I find the entire advertisement industry in itself appalling. This article definitely opened my eyes to the idea of free will and the individual by using examples such as advertisement. It is such an interesting concept because any person you would walk up to on the street, if you asked them, would tell you that they were individual people with individual ideas and minds and were free to believe and think what they wish. That is what most people believe I think because it is what most people want to believe. Technically, yes we do live in a free country and are able to have our own opinions. It is just so difficult to actually maintain those opinions when faced with the group or the public. For example, and this goes for a lot of people, say you list a specific clothing label or type of music but it "goes out of style" or isn't "cool" anymore. Will you continue to wear those clothes or listen to that music knowing you'll be ridiculed? Probably not. People are superficial and realistically, the most unimportant, shallow things are what a lot of people find to really be important. That is what our culture is all about now. As far as that commercial with Paris Hilton, it is completely ridiculous to have a commercial advertising a product with the product barely in it. That is because Carl's knew that it didn't matter if they talked about the actual burger, if Paris Hilton was eating it, especially looking hot eating it, it would boost their sales. That is how people are, as pathetic as it is. It all goes back to the American culture. That is how our society is in our country. Athletes, singers and actors get paid millions of dollars just to entertain people. It's an absurd thought, but that is our country. Obviously it varies culture to culture because in many countries, peer pressure and being "cool" and superficial things like that do not matter. I don't think ethnic or racial differences have anything to do with it, it just comes down to where you grew up and the society that shaped you.

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  12. I completely agree with this article. People are very easily influenced, especially by advertising. I never really paid attention or picked up on how influential advertisements are before I read this article. I agree that people are more likely to buy things if they see their favorite celebrities or somebody “attractive” selling or advertising it. As much as somebody will deny it and tell you they buy something because they want to, they are definitely influenced by these advertisements and the people on them. When they see celebrities advertising something, they assume that it is cool or popular. In reality, these celebrities probably do not even use the product. They are only there to make it look good, and contribute to the fact that most of today’s world is very superficial. Appearance is everything. I highly doubt that Paris Hilton goes out every day and eats those burgers or has even ever tried one. I also found it very interesting that advertising companies spend just as much money as colleges, universities, the water industry, and the illegal drug trade -- especially since the advertisements tell you absolutely nothing about the product, the only thing it does is make it look good by putting things in commercials such as Paris Hilton washing a car. What does washing a car have anything to do with buying a burger? I really do not understand how watching somebody who people consider to be attractive washing a car makes people want to go out and buy a burger. Also, I think Brittney made a very good point about celebrities being “slaves” to the companies.

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  13. I completely agree with the article Manufactured Free Will? In the U.S. almost everyone is influenced into buying certain things, acting certain ways, and dressing in particular ways by what we see on TV and what we are told is the right or cool thing. The advertising industry is well aware of how easy influencing people is and often misleads people into spending money on things they do not need. A recent example of this is the commercial for the Reebok Easy Tone sneakers, on every commercial they show teeny tiny women with what Americans view as “ the perfect body” prancing around in the worlds shortest shorts in order to convince people that those shoes alone will magically give everyone who buys them that same body. The commercial purposely feeds into the fact that many women are self conscious about their bodies and are willing to spend a lot of money on magic butt toning sneakers in the hopes that they will look just like the women in the commercial, in order to make millions upon millions of dollars. People in today’s society are extremely influential, and with that being said I am sure that throughout history many things have happened, and people have done things due to people being influenced as well.

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  14. Along with most others who responded to this article, I also agree with what it is saying. People today are so influenced by so many different things it’s outrageous. People only care about name brands and the way things look. Not only are they obsessed with material items but they are also obsessed with the way they and everyone around them looks. If someone is not wearing the newest and coolest clothes it’s almost socially unacceptable. People who dress or act differently are shunned by the “cool” people who make most people follow the norm to be accepted by their peers. People will pay for the logo on just about anything and will not buy knock off versions of the same thing which are probably just as good.
    The video of Paris Hilton eating a burger to promote a fast food restaurant is a perfect example of how influenced people have become over things. If it takes a celebrity to do something to make it O.K. for everyone else, then why do people need the freedom that some are given to make their own choices and be the person they want to be. I can almost assure people that Paris Hilton is not a regular customer at Carl Jr. Burger. She probably has never eaten there before in her life, however, now that people see her eating their burgers they also want them. People need to realize that these celebrities and brands do not matter. What matters is being who you want to be and doing what you want to do in order to live a happy life. The bottom line is people need to realize how influenced they are by materialistic things and that it needs to change.

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  15. After reading this whole blog post, I was agree with most of the above posts and as others said I myself thought this was an interesting topic. I agree with most that yes if a celebrity is in a commercial or advertisement. Even if one (a celebrity or famous person) in part of the commercial even if they have nothing to do with the advertisement, they can just be shown in it to further sell the product. It is extremely funny to me that if Paris Hilton is in this commercial for Carl’s Burger, yet nothing to do with her because i would like I would find her eating a burger but if you think about it as a whole how many more people, went just because she was in the commercial or influenced from her. It is all about the celebrity selling the product which changes from the company selling the product. The question that most don’t think of is how could this portraying of celebrities be stopped? And I am not sure there is a way if celebrities like doing things like this. I see commercial for yogurt saying eating it will help with your digestion and this girl in the commercial was extremely tiny and fit. Bottom line is the person who is in the commercial is the person who is selling the product not the company.
    According to www.dictonary.com free will is defined by the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

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  16. Wow! Isn’t it ridiculous how much advertisements play a role in our daily life? Even just watching an hour of your favorite television show blasts you with an almost uncountable amount of advertisements. Even if you just drive to work, or to school daily billboards show pictures of gorgeous people using products or eating food that we don’t even need! Manufacturers are very smart in using celebrities. Do you really think Drew Barrymore uses a box of hair dye that you can buy at your local Walgreens? No, of course not. She has a personal hair stylist and colorists who probably do her hair weekly, she doesn’t buy a $10 box of hair color. That’s exactly how advertisements trick the population. For instance let’s discuss a 13 year old boy who plays basketball. He idolizes Michael Jordan and wants to be just like him. When he’s watching basketball on television he sees his favorite player wearing the newest pair of Nike sneakers followed by 5 commercials of Michael shooting point after point into the basket. This teenager will now be convinced that he will be better at basketball if and only if he wears these $200 pair of sneakers. Was it that simple? Michael Jordan didn’t need to utter a word to make this advertisement successful. I don’t think that this happens only in American culture. There are dozens of other countries with a McDonald’s right on main street. Subliminal advertisement is obviously successful in industries that have been around for decades. If these methods of advertisement work, then for these companies there seems to be no reason to stop.

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  17. "America for spacious sky, for amber waves of grain." Arguably one of the most well known national anthems followed closely by "OH Canada", but do we as Americans fully comprehend what it means? Does any American truly understand what it means to be an Free?

    What do other cultures see when they think of America? Fat, lazy, corrupt, greedy rock stars that do nothing with their time except spend others money and only think about the world and their role in it when a natural disaster strikes. What about the everyday working man? Why does no one ever think of them when they think of America? It is the view of the world that the most influe ntial of our celebrities represent all of us. That is not the case. The people who truly represent us are our day store clerks. Our men and women in uniform. Those of us who work and serve our country to make it so the future of our society, the children, can continue to be free. What is America but a land of people that wish to be free? That is where we started and that is the dream that keeps us alive today.
    "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." a song sung by many elementary schoolers for memorial day. They do not understand the power of their words and the effort given to make that life possible for them. America was based on a dream, a dream to be free. Our declaration of independence states that all men shall be given the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are the building blocks of being an American. All Americans will be given the right to live the way they seem fit, with whoever they deem appropriate, which is where the world sees our melting pot of society exceed. Where our process of rags to richest fits best. As well as life all men are given the liberty to do whatever they deem necessary. It is in our code of laws that if a man has an issue and the government fails to do the job that a man can take jurisdiction into their own hands.
    Which brings us to the pursuit of happiness. What do most people see in Americans? The ones they see are the ones that have taken their own happiness and made something out of it. There are many ways to pursuit happiness. Some men pursue the need to steal, kill, lie, and rape to make them happy. In their own way, this is the pursuit of happiness. No matter how cruel and unusual it may sound. For others the happiness they search for could be a modest low income job trying to pay for a family that relies on every penny to help put food on the table. Every man has a different pursuit to their own happiness.
    Americans are viewed in many different lights. The meaning of being American depends on not how the world sees you, but how you see the world. If you take a worldly view then you may think being an American means being a lazy, fat rich person with no thoughts of the global world. Or it could mean doing whatever you can to get by and being happy to help you neighbor. Being an American is about following the American dream. Doing what you want, in every way you physically can. Enhancing the idea of freedom and taking advantage of every possible freedom.

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  18. (In regards to Michael O)
    In one sense, I understand why you are upset over this, but being so dramatic about it. I completely agree that commercials have gotten a little ridiculous from today and a few years ago. They have become less about the product, and more about what catches peoples attention. The way to avoid falling for these things is to keep your mind focused on the value of the product and recognize when something irrelevant and stupid, like Paris Hilton washing a car for a burger commercial, appears on a commercial.
    Commercials of older days used to explain the product and why their product is better than their competitors. Today's commercials show things that look good that people wish they could have and try to make the idea that "if you have this product, you will get these cool things too" will make sense. Commercials do what they can to sell as much as possible, disregarding the values they used to have back in the day.
    Regardless of how stupid commercials have become, we will all have to deal with them. TV has been told to make people become more stupid, and these commercials seem to be making that statement seem true, so as intelligent people, we need to avoid believing that these commercials are true to hopefully make the TV statement not as true as it is.

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