Consume-our Couch-here

Consumer Culture

Over valuation of wealth under valuation of being is the end result of humanities exploration and eventual exploitation of technology. We care more about wearing our wealth than approachable body language and a friendly smile. Our wants and excessive desires far outweigh common sense and actual needs and necessities. Our lives have become devoted to the search for glamour, beauty, and ‘a good time’ has pushed health, discretion and common sensibility to the farthest depths of our minds. Long gone are the days of respecting your elders or watching and nurturing your children; past the age 5.

No longer do we hear the knock of small hands on the front door by the neighbor boy on the door in the early morning when it snows; asking if you would like your front path and driveway shoveled. Instead he is inside with the heat cranked up, the TV and stereo on, playing Nintendo DS and sending SMS messages on his cell phone.

Strangers rarely chat idly while riding the bus or train; instead we wander through a large portion of our public lives blissfully oblivious of anyone else. Chatting on cell phones, listening to iPods or feigning sleep to avoid conversation with or best case avoid having another person sit next to you altogether. In our gluttony of information we have become petrified of the unknown or unfamiliar; if we cannot Google-it we fear it.

The nature and formalities of friendships and interpersonal drama has evolved extremely rapidly. Whether this is for the best is arguable. The internet has allowed old school friends to stay in touch across all boarders and cultures through e-mail and online applications such as Face Book, Friendster, and My Space have enabled people to share their personal information on an unprecedented scale. The security of this information is, however, arguably poor and incidents of information theft and abuse are incalculable. Cyber stalking, internet predators and SPAM are just some of the terms coined as a result of our foray into easily and widely accessible information.

We are even making friends online, people we have never seen or met in person, are now becoming confidants with little to no validation of their true intents or identities. Finding a soul mate online based on statistical matches has become extremely popular. Outings with local friends, trips abroad, airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals are all planned online. Friends rarely get-together to just to talk about life or ask for advice, this sort of interaction takes places on cell phones, the internet, or text messages. We are all constantly just searching for an external source of entertainment. Movies, parties, school sporting events, the mall, all in the guise of socializing.

The sad state of our interpersonal relationships is fueled by technology but technology is not the cause. Our pursuit for the latest and greatest status symbol, possessions, is enabled by money; which has long been a symbol of status and perceived earned respect.

Is money or wealth a necessary evil? Some perceive money or the pursuit of wealth (basically the combined efforts of a society to gain control of our planets limited resources) because it both promotes and enables war and the division of entire societies into social classes. Cash, possessions, and wealth often determines a families worth and status in a society. It is as if your person; your good deeds your intents and your actions have no consequential value; they are not a determining factor in most of our lives. Free market economies are steadily dominating the world stage; in most cases destroying cultures and lives. Free markets are an extremely valuable motivational source for innovation and creation. Peoples and countries should be allowed to increase their wealth as they wish, however constraints on personal wealth should all be put in place. Not to oppress but to equalize and aid in the distribution of wealth within a society as well as change the determining factors of one’s status within a society. Social status should be determined by wisdom, intelligence, athletic or artistic talents, etc; and not the amount of money in the bank, your car, house, or other possessions. Our wealth as individuals and our actions have a far greater impact on our world than money transferred electronically from consumers to producers with no greater goal than increased stature.

It is argued that without the free world trade and capitalism the existence of corporations offering innovative products and technologies to the world would not be able to exist and thus nor would our current, lavish, lifestyle. CEO’s, engineers, and craftsmen would no longer have any motivation or compulsion to continue doing their jobs. I however, believe different; I believe that even in our complacent, technology induced coma, it would not take long for our world to change.

Along with the devaluation of material over spirit and self, comes a reward of knowledge and experience that benefits all nations. Living in a safe and secure society will entice people to do what they love. I see the beginning of a second renaissance as people performed the jobs, tasks and deeds necessary for life and survival with renewed vigor and passion, in the pursuit of unlimited contentment and happiness. Global corporations would still exist, money and resources would still change hands in a global economy. Domination and control over others through wealth and resources would no longer cast a violent shadow across the globe.

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