America is the pinnacle of western society, an ideology founded by the ancient Greeks. I do not mean in any way that America is superior to other nations traditionally considered “western” (as opposed to “eastern society”). What I mean is that as a culture and society, we have completely bought into humanism and materialism. We are obsessed with everything the ancients were: education, entertainment, sports, media, and religion. And in a culture where people are made into icons because of their achievements (or in the case of President Obama winning to Nobel, for intentions), naturally the society begins to turns inwards. It’s all about me, what I’ve accomplished, and how much attention I can bring onto myself. “I wanna be somebody!” people say. I don’t think there’s any doubt that in our culture, “it’s all about me. Me. Me. Me!”
Eastern culture has traditionally been the complete opposite, focusing all about the community. This is of course changing as the west influences the east more and more. But eastern culture, and especially Jewish culture, is focused on the good of the community. This is seen throughout the Bible and is something we tend to forget or overlook.