Home > Uncategorized > “Consumerism and Minimalism” Part 8 in the series “On the Edge”

“Consumerism and Minimalism” Part 8 in the series “On the Edge”

This is Part 8 in the series “One the Edge” …

Preface and Index – for my series “On the Edge of the Abyss”is here
Part 1  - A Paradigm of Control — here
Part 2  – Retail and Consumerism — here
Part 3  – Politics — here
Part 4  – Beliefs — here
Part 5  – Media — here
Part 6  – Control & Propaganda — here
Part 7 – Cultural Division, The Media, Judgement and Projections – here
Part 8 – Consumerism and Minimalism – here
Part 9 – Humanity in 2018 – here

The majority of humanity seem to worship a God called “Money” and its descendant “Consumerism … the consumption of things. This obsession with consumer goods, and iconic brands is putting us to sleep, anaesthetizing our spiritual hunger and awareness.

Valuing externals, such as Money and things creates prisons for us .. because if you value things, possessions, money, securities … we fear losing it … it becomes a focus, we become a prisoner of it.

Many people put material possessions at the center of their lives …. Perhaps they think that somehow all these possessions will meld and gel into a happy satisfying life …. it seems that we invest in material goods not for their own sake, but for their symbolic meaning …. a connection to something … perhaps they create an illusion … that says to us, these things bring us a status in society that has been ….. infused into us .. by society that things will bring an intangible which we have been seeking …. Self-worth, self-respect because of all that we have achieved … an ego boost (the ego is the final creator of all illusions) all because we have the latest or the best that money can buy, this need to consume is brought about by out about by deeply held beliefs and probably an long animal instinct to collect things, today this consuming materialistic culture is nurtured and promoted by advertising and marketing, as it has been for generations. We have by default, because we were born into the culture, absorbed it and most have invested in it … however once we achieve success … this desire to accumulate the latest the next gadget, the latest car, the house in the best location or the next thing becomes our goal … until we do, then after a short time, we are looking for the next thing (that our ego believes that society, peers or advertising) says will make us happy, bring to us respect, all to fill the void within us.

We buy these gadgets, these toys not in for their own sake, but for what we think that they will bring us as a consequence …

The pressure we feel whether overt or not from our peers and contemporaries who appear (on the surface) to have made it, they have the latest and greatest … but we never look beyond the surface to really understand why we do this, why we consume, what does this cost us?

When I was younger, it was the expected a way to fill a void, I didn’t even know something was missing, but over time it did not matter what I bought, the feeling of happiness, contentment was only transitory for very soon after, the desire to possess or consume “something else” raised its head … for me there came a time, when I looked around and thought I have so many things … way too many things …. and then I started to wonder, to rationalise .. “what do I need this for, why did I buy this” …seriously, do I need two dining tables, three TV’s .. do I need a TV at all? … three prestige cars – when in reality all I need is a way to get around ….

A emptiness within spurns craving within us is sosmething which is never sated, for we can never have enough things. (Symbols ) but what does it cost us as individuals, what does it cost our families and eventually what does it cost society … in terms of time to make these purchases … to Transport with the inevitable ecological and environmental damage that it generates … for very rarely any account by the manufacturers of the cost to the environment is in the products … as I have heard economist say to me … they are externals to the costing structure … they do not concern this project.

It costs our family, because it takes us away from them, so we can achieve, we can accumulate, then we arrive at a turning point …. We might ask ourselves who am I doing this for, for my family you might say .. ask them at least when they are young … they most likely would rather have you in their life than an absent parent, who is this person who they rarely see, who may rule their lives, but seemingly has no interest in living it and engaging with them in theirs.

Remember the cost of material possessions is not only in their outright cost, but it is really in the time it took to make or repay the money and also in the lack of freedom that it brings with it … we pay for things with “Time” as we have to pay for all this stuff .. and we won’t be free until we do, so how much of your life are you willing to give, just to possess something.

Yes we do need to buy things to live in this society, and there is little wrong with ethical consumption .. consumption that comes from need, and not just desire .. what I feel is worth understanding is the need for us to compulsory consume … buying stuff because that is expected, not only by others, but by ourselves … because of trends in electronics, trends, fashion … because that is what the expectation for this default template is for the path to happiness.

You might say we are living the dream … but the thing is, it’s not our dream – what it is for us, is a distraction … redirection …. Self-indulgence and consumption, these manifests and changes our human identity from no longer who we actually are or a definition of what one does, our actions, but we are defined by our possessions, but what one owns, things.

Consuming things brings does not happiness lives which have no purpose and no identity other than to consume, things will not bring meaning into our lives, things will not make us feel loved.

For me at the end of the day … this is my life, I made a decision, do I want to live it with my values, or following a surface path to consumerism and possessions …. for me I want to get the most amount of value for the things I purchase, I purchase only what I need, not what I want or the latest of “X” … I make a short list of priorities in justifying almost every purchase … do I need this .. will I use it … is it well made so it will last, (can it be repaired) and hence I can do the least amount harm to the environment and from my perspective the maximum of amount of good for the world … I consume what I need, not what is expected of me by others …. It works for me and it minimises my impact on society and the planet.

I am a traveler … before I left Australia, I sold or gave away everything I owned … I travel now with a suitcase, a laptop, a phone and an eBook reader …. I neither want nor need anything more … extraneous things to me represent clutter, they inhibit my freedom.

One day I will find a place to stay for a while, then I may buy some minimal items to facilitate living, I will grow my own food, which I do now when I can, or I know or have met the people that do (when possible)

Live with intent … live deliberately, we obviously must seek to have enough for our needs …. but we each must find a balance that works for us.

Our current materialistic path is destructive for ourselves, for our friends and family, our souls and ultimately for our culture and the planet.

But consuming things and owning things does not satisfy us and give us what we all desire … a longing for meaning – for me there is one statement I live by “Love people and use things, do not love things and use (or manipulate) people.

Life – when accumulating more things … the focus should be on your family on you and your needs, not on externals.

The platform for media has changed from Mass Media to Social Media … but the message is the same … buy, consume, spend … now with social media and tracking, advertisers can market directly to the consumer …. For their technology enables this invasion by commerce … consumption, sales, money allows anything, so it is thought.

An old saying is that you get to be point, “that we buy things we don’t want, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t personally like” … Why? Acceptance, conformity, Status , ego or fear?

Advertisers sell manufactured food that is a product, made in factory from the cheapest components … food nowadays is more of a product, for it is generally without life, just a composite of chemicals … there is little of nature of life in the products we buy – we are so divorced from the natural world that we regard nature as occasionally a nice place to visit … but we don’t want to live as a part of it ..

What is the ethical arguement that is made to subject children to this barrage of advertising (other than to make money), to sell Junk … via a strategy which sidelines the parents or guardians and sells directly to the kids …. is there a long term advantage to the child (the consumer), other than to teach them life is about consuming, about distraction, where is the meaning in their life?

The impact on these inevitably disposable items is a negative for our bank accounts, for our freedom and for the environment through the cost of transport (Energy and pollution) also through the non-biodegradable waste, like plastics as well as the ever-present pollution that it generates in our society.

In my view, consumption for the sake of it, is irrsponsible for it comes with a cost, to the planet, which so long as we keep denying or delaying it, will be paid by our children, grandchildren and descendants.

Our actions express our priorities as does our lack of action …. … is this the future you want for yourselves, for your children, your family for the future?

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