Consumerism: the scourge and disease of today

Consumerism must truly be the scourge and disease of modern times

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

reduced “We've all got this weird mental illness called consumerism” declares a new movie called 'Consumed: Inside the belly of the beast'.

And is it not true? We are constantly being told that our happiness depends on what we own and how much we spend and whether we have the newest and latests and best model.

But that is just not the case because for all our consuming we are no better off in terms of happiness and we are a lot worse off in terms of negative physical and psychological impacts. And also in financial terms more often than not.

The sub-prime lending issue is a prime example here in that people believed that they have to own a home rather than rent and even though they hardly could afford to they, nevertheless, followed the addiction and now many of those have lost their homes.

And a great majority falls prey to this illness of wanting more and more and new and new all the time. It is a disease that is killing the Earth.

Studies have shown that lottery winners are no happier than the rest of us, which really does makes you think, doesn't it. You would have thought that all that money would make them happy.

When our minds are in a constant state of want they will never be satisfied and marketing and government sees to that that our mind is constantly in that state.

Marketing and advertising is a big business aimed to subtly convince us that what we want is what we need and advertising is destroying society.

This movie questions how we operate in our age of high mass consumption and how it really isn't all that it is cracked up to be and we must ask ourselves those questions too.

From just the trailer it promises to be a thought provoking narrative of our gluttonous purchasing lifestyle and how it is leading us down the path of destruction, not just for the planet but also for society.

The problem, a little like with “Age of Stupid”, is going to be, no doubt, that the majority of those that go and watch this movie will be members of the choir and the bible study groups. The main congregation will not watch this in the same way as they did not watch “Age of Stupid” and other such thought provoking movies that they need to watch to understand as to what is going on.

We have gotten to a point now where the world, as a whole, though predominately in the developed countries and in places such as India and China, is now consuming as if we had the resources of three planets to extract from. This is quite ludicrous because, as I am sure you have noticed as well, we in fact have just the one lovely Planet to care for. And its resources are limited.

Oil is already well on the way out, as are coal, as are metals and other materials. This will mean that we need to reevaluate our ways and reconsider our demand for always new and better.

Products must be made again to last and to be repairable, and they will have to. That will mean keeping things for as long as possible for goods will also be more expensive.

Buying green has become yet another version of consumerism and I have termed it “greensumption”. This green version of consumerism is equally dangerous as is consumption and consumerism in general.

We must get away from this “I want”, perceived as “I need”, and look at our lives and our needs from an entirely new perspective. Buying a green product instead of a non-green one, if you don't have to buy new, is no less consumption. If you really have to buy something than try, if possible, to buy secondhand, old. That is more green than a new green product, often Made in China.

So take a step back from consuming and I promise you will not regret it and instead of buying think about how you can get by without or how you can repair what you have already got. We will have to do this anyway, I am sure, in the not so distant future. So, we best transition over to it now.

© 2011