I recently got The Image by Daniel L. Boorsin from my mailing service. It was so busy during the holiday season it only had time to move packages from its terminal in Miami to its office in Cartago. The rest of my mail will have to wait until later. I took the book home and put in on the table with many other books. This morning, I picked it up to glance at the first page. It was this:
In this book I describe the world of our making; how we have used our wealth, our literacy, and our progress, to create a thicket of unreality which stands before us and the facts of life. I recount historical forces which have given us the unprecedented opportunity do deceive ourselves and befog our experience.
Of course, American has provided the landscape and has given us the opportunity for this feat of national self-hypnosis. But each of us individually provides the market and the demand for the illusions which flood our experience.
We want and believe these illusions because we suffer from extravagant expectations. We expect too much of the world. Our expectations are extravagant in the precise dictionary sense of the word - "going beyond the limits of reason or moderation". They are excessive.
The making of the illusions which flood our experience has become the business of America, some of its most honest and most necessary and most respectable business. I am thinking not only of advertising and public relations and political rhetoric, but of all the activities which purport to inform and comfort and improve and educate and elevate us: the work of our best journalists, our most enterprising book publishers, our most energetic manufacturers and merchandisers, our most successful entertainers, our best guides for foreign travel, and our most influential leaders in foreign relations. Our every effort to satisfy our extravagant expectations simply makes them more extravagant and makes our more attractive. The story of the making of our illusions - "the news behind the news" - has become the most appealing news of the world.
We tyrannize and frustrate ourselves by expecting more than the world can give us or than what we can make of the world. We demand that everyone that talks to us, or writes for us, or takes pictures for us, or makes merchandise for us, should live in our world of extravagant expectations. We expect this even of the people of foreign countries. We have become so used to our illusions we mistake them for reality. And we demand that there be always more of them, bigger and better and more vivid. They are the world of our making: the world of the image.