Is The Rest Of The World 'Crazy Like Us'?by ETHAN WATTERS
Author Ethan Watters thinks that America is "homogenizing the way the world goes mad." In Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, he describes how American definitions and treatments of mental illness have spread to other cultures around the world. "[McDonald's] golden arches do not represent our most troubling impact on other cultures," Watters writes. "Rather, it is how we are flattening the landscape of the human psyche itself. We are engaged in the grand project of Americanizing the world's understanding of the human mind." Watters talks with NPR's Rebecca Roberts about the cultural diversity of mental illness — and how that diversity is quickly disappearing. To travel internationally is to become increasingly unnerved by the way American culture pervades the world. We cringe at the new indoor Mlimani shopping mall Dares Salaam, Tanzania. We shake our heads at the sight of a Mcdonald's on Tiananmen Square or a Nike factory in Malaysia. The visual landscape of the world has become depressingly familiar. For Americans the old joke has become bizarrely true: wherever we go, there we are. We have the uneasy feeling that our influence over the rest of the world is coming at a great cost: loss of the world's diversity and complexity. For all our self-incrimination, however, we have yet to face our most disturbing effect on the rest of the world. Our golden arches do not represent our most troubling impact on other cultures; rather, it is how we are flattening the landscape of the human psyche itself. We are engaged in the grand project of Americanizing the world's understanding of the human mind. This might seem like an impossible claim to back up, as such a change would be happening inside the conscious and unconscious thoughts of more than six billion people. But there are telltale signs that have recently become unmistakable. Particularly telling are the changing manifestations of...
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