“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” said the founding fathers of the United States. For the past 241 years Americans have pondered on these words, and many would say that this phrase has become the cradle of the American Dream. However, it is difficult to give an accurate description of the American Dream for it is not something that can simply be quantified and measured.
In the article ‘Americanitis: The disease of Living Too Fast, Julie Beck presents how the infamous nervous condition of Neurasthenia has shaped the way modern Americans think about health and happiness. I highly suggest reading the article as it gives very interesting insight on George Beard and Weir Mitchell’s thoughts on the causes of Neurasthenia and how they believed it must be addressed. One of they key points made in the essay is how modern society and modern living has manufactured a sense social pressure to succeed. This illusion of aspiration has manifested itself in the American Dream, and has consumed many in an endless pursuit of happiness.
PS. I just wanted to share this short anecdote on Neurasthenia; I didn’t really intend to discuss Gilman.