A CONSUMPTION SOCIETY
We are living in times of great economic uncertainty. Never in human history have we managed to get our world in such disequilibrium as today. Our global resources are depleting, fossil fuels are depleting, we are burning a hole in the ozone layer. We keep growing and consuming more and more every year. This in term increases the damage we do to the earth exponentially. We have created a system that shoves down responsibilities, facilitates an ever in width expanding gap between poor and rich and which pollutes and destroys our planet. Our society runs and relies purely on our deeply rooted faith in our economy, the new and largest religion on the planet, money.
Through the continuous bombardment of commercials and social media in our daily lives, we are constantly triggered to consume more and more. Every year we need a new cell phone, every month we buy new clothes. Trends and fashions force people to renew their outfit on a regular basis. We constantly buy stuff just because we want it, not because we need it. We don’t think about what happens with all the stuff we never used and we also don’t think of where all the stuff comes from. We don’t feel responsible for our actions because the implications aren’t close to our world. It is everybody’s responsibility to take care of the planet which in a way makes it nobody’s and allows us to shamelessly take the common good for granted and only think about ourselves.
CHOOSING FOR OURSELVES
Our whole capitalistic society is therefore based around the idea that everyone has the right to purely think about him or herself and take the rest for granted. We all think it is normal that companies are always trying to gain as much money from us as possible. In business and marketing classes we shamelessly learn to manipulate people into getting them to do what we want. If you ask someone if they like child labour or global warming, almost everyone will tell you they don’t. However we are all learned that it is oke and
even good to choose for ourselves. This is why we can live with ourselves while we are consciously making decisions every day that ruin our planet and other people’s lives.This hypocrisy is seen in many parts of our society. One of our biggest idols, Steve Jobs, is seen as an inspirational role model while we all know his products are made on the backs of young children working long days in dangerous working conditions. We know and always keep repeating that we actually don’t need the newest iphone and we know the destruction it brings to our planet, but we buy it anyway. We know income inequality is getting larger every year while most of large corporations have smart ways to circumvent taxes, but we accept it anyway. We even vote for politicians that give them more tax redemptions. In other words we consciously choose for income inequality. It is because we all have the hope that we one day will be rich ourselves and when this day comes, we don’t want to share our wealth either.
FILLING UP THE EMPTY HOLE
So why is this? Why do we consistently choose wealth and materialism before the common good of all life on earth? It is because our natural feelings of community, belongingness and survival are being used against us. We are constantly divided against each other by means of religion, race, sexual preference and social classes etc. We are thought not to express our emotions and not to be ourselves because our true self is never good enough. This leaves us with a constant feeling of emptiness & loneliness. The lack of real human connectedness makes us constantly feel like we miss something in our lives. We always want more and never feel like it is enough. This is why we are so hypocrite, we are addicted to consumption. Our addiction and fear makes us choose things of which we know are bad for us.
Only with the newest clothes and the newest car we feel that we are good enough and belong to something. We are so distorted from reality that we confuse the adrenaline rush of a new car with feelings of true human connectedness. This adrenaline rush however only stays temporarily and is always followed by a renewed feeling of emptiness. We don’t realize that actually this new car wasn’t what we really needed, what we really need is love and acceptance of our being. However since we are unaware of the real cause of our feelings, we blindlessly run back to the stores and start consuming more to fill up the hole again. And its not just materialistic objects, we fill our hole by buying and consuming, but also by chasing experiences and taking drugs and even gaming and watching tv & series. We use everything we can get our hands on to get rid of that empty feeling.
Commercials are so smart that they are able to connect products to certain feelings. “Open happiness”, from coca cola is an unconscious message of: “Buy cola, then you will be happy”. This consumption in the end doesn’t makes us happy, it probably makes us feel worse. But now in your mind the already addictive sugar boost your brain gets is associated with the feeling of happiness, which makes you crave more and more. This gets us in an endless spiral of consumption. No wonder obesity rates around the world are as high as poverty rates. And what do we need in order to keep consuming? Money, which is why most people around the world spent their whole life and all their energy trying to acquire it, no matter at what cost.
Do you recognise yourself in this? Or do you disagree? Let me know in the comments!