We love stuff. Everyone loves to buy things because even when we know we don’t need it – the stuff seems to make us happy. This concept isn’t new. We buy stuff to impress people we don’t really care about to make ourselves seem more important. Society has become a materialistic religion. We make our regular obeisance to the stores weekly if not more often, we have devices in our homes solely for the purpose of speaking our desires and having them show up at our homes days later. We have become a society that prizes things over experiences because we want to show off.
The Cult of Materialism. Is it a form of Glutony and Greed?
The wage gap is growing. Today the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer thanks to the fact that we have less and less disposable income. The rollercoastering economy means people are either unable to spend or scared to spend because there’s a constant worry that the money will disappear. Yet we can’t help ourselves. Many stores actually employ practices designed to make us buy things even when we know we don’t need them. If you’ve ever stood in line at the store and stared at the candy or drinks long enough to buy one you’ve been persuaded. Similarly, when you shop in a store that doesn’t have those things you find yourself confused because your normal buying routine has become interrupted. You’ve been trained to buy.
We Are Empty
The younger generation has been brought up searching. We are empty and unfulfilled – so we search for something to fill that gap. Growing up our parents have told us to chase our dreams, find our raison d’etre. We thirst, we want, and we’re not sure what it is we’re trying to achieve because rarely does anyone seem to achieve that “thing”. By shopping, we temporarily feel fulfilled. We fill our space with stuff because that hole doesn’t go away. When we buy things it lights up that possessive center in the brain so that we feel we have achieved something. Like the hunter gatherer of old we have hunted an item or bargain and proudly brought it home.
Buying things is easy, but the reason we never feel fulfilled and need to buy more is that we’re missing the very reason we’re empty – we’re searching for a purpose.
Purpose is something that is often scoffed at. The older generations remember survival over purpose which is why having a generation whose survival is not an issue and who searches for more is confusing. They simply can’t understand this desire to want more, despite it was them who taught us to want more. By creating this monster within us they have made us want more without defining what more is. So we take the easy route where we can see with our own eyes that we have “more” because physically we are in control of more.
Can we stop being materialistic?
Absolutely. Materialism is a choice. It’s about valuing things over experiences. By changing our priorities and making it a priority to experience life, not to spend money, and to ask ourselves if the item we’re buying will make us truly happy we can choose other things. Look in your house. How much stuff could you get rid of? If you picked up each item and asked if it was important there would be very few things you kept. Declutter, get rid of your crap, and start valuing what’s important in life and you’ll be less inclined to be materialistic. Things don’t make you happy and they’re not making everyone around you happy either.
They will teach you a thing or two about “Letting Go”.
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