Not all of the first visitors to the New World were searching for Gold. Some of them searched for God or souls. Many of them were devout and fervid in pursuit of their targets. As Kurt Andersen said in his book FantasyLand, “For the imminent next wave of English would-be Americans, however, propagating a particular set of Christian superstitions, omens and divine judgments were more than just lip-service cover for dreams of easy wealth. For them, the prospect of colonization was all about the export of their supernatural fantasies to the New World.”
Like Martin Luther King Jr. 5 centuries later the newcomers had a dream. As Andersen said,
“America began as a fever dream, a myth, a happy delusion, a fantasy. In fact, it began as multiple fantasies, each embraced around 1600 by people so convinced of their thrilling, wishful fictions that most of them abandoned everything—friends, families, jobs, good sense, England, the known world—to enact their dreams or die trying. A lot of them died trying.
The first English people in the New World imagined themselves as heroic can-do characters in exciting adventures. They were self-fictionalizing extremists who abandoned everything familiar because of their blazing beliefs, their long-shot hopes and dreams, their please-be-true fantasies.”
Is it any wonder that America has been the most hospital place on earth for crazy beliefs? Is it any surprise that the country currently is laced with delusional thinking? This is the home of fantasyland.