This word has unfortunately become associated with America where rampant consumerism is the norm as was just recently witnessed with the post Thanksgiving Day sales otherwise know as ‘black’ Friday. Despite asking several locals why it was called black and receiving vacant stares I came to the conclusion that it could have nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with bank balance. I stand corrected if my interpretation is incorrect. The mobs that descend on the enormous shopping complexes that populate this country come equipped with tents, sleeping bags and enough food and water for the cold wintery night. Their courage has to be admired but their greed must be questioned.
I would like to know where and when this calamity of American culture took birth and what clandestine forces have continued to fuel it with their relentless advertising and promotions, which seem to emanate out of every digital device. There is no escape for the corporations and it is a chilling thought to think that several generations are growing up with these features accepted as the norm. There is without question significant neurochemical reconfiguration occurring in the minds of these young children and only time will tell what the long-term consequences will be.
There is no question that a form of mass brain-washing is under way and so the question for us, society, parents is what should we be doing to counter this robotic and monotic onslaught that takes away the some of the imaginative and cognitive abilities of the developing child. There really is no substitute for reading in which the mind actively engages the words and story becoming one with it. By contrast the unidirectional flow of TV, video games and the like makes almost no demands of the young mind and in fact stymie the imagination and original thought. Consumerism is not good for any aspects of character development but is great for the bottom line of the major corporations, which have essentially bought the US government and disregarded the people. The overall strategy is clear. Keep the masses fed, warm and mildly entertained and they will be soporofied enough to not even think of revolution. The sad irony about this situation in America is that the totalitarian regime the US fought to overthrow with Regan has now simple relocated to the US, and the tragic thing is that the people don’t realize what has been going on under their eyes for the last two decades.
If there a doomsday scenario predicted I am sure consumerism is the catalyst. A catalyst that does not cause pain, no bloodletting like revolution of old, a deceitful revolution. The masses have been hypnotized into a state of belief in which cash has become their god, possessions their manna and grand mansions their nirvana. Any space for spirituality is long extinguished and the general level of intellectual discourse is so battered and bruised that it might need to emigrate elsewhere. Things do not bring happiness. People and experiences do. The interesting observation about people who buy things is that their dopamine high last about 20 minutes forcing them to repeat the same pointless pattern of behavior.
Wealth creation is good, not because it creates wealth, but because the process leading to the wealth was a human journey of growth and experience and that is where the true wealth really lies. Wealth in and of itself is worthless. It becomes worthful when it is used to help others in need because that is the only purpose of creating wealth. Think about it. How much does a man really need to live comfortably? Very little.
Consumerism has created huge problems for the environment with excess gases and land pollution and for what? Greed. The rampant consumerism in the US has goy=t to slow down otherwise the planet will fall apart sooner than predicted. To achieve this goal requires every parent, teacher and governmental official to rally against the indiscriminate advertising on the TV and cable channels. This digital indoctrination is akin to the themes espoused by George Orwell in 1984 and will lead to generations of young people that lack basic human skills such as conversation.
The world has become digitally one and yes there are clear advantages to the progress of technology but as with any great inventions one always has to be aware of the risks and downsides of accepting these invention with naïve blindness. Humans need to really take note of what happens at holidays with the ritual buying of presents and more worringly the expectation from children that they will receive them. American children growing up in white safe suburbs cab safely be sais to have not experienced the harshness of the ghetto and there is a significant concern that they will grow up weak unable to defend against the tougher Indian and Chinese kids who are coming up in their billions and for whom the luxuries of US life are but a dream. These children are determined, tough and extremely smart and have developed an incredible work ethic over the years. It should be noted that although they receive gifts from the family they tend to be few and modest with no expectation from the child.
Maybe just one year the American people should refuse to buy presents explaining to their kids that the best present they can expect in nothing but love.