Not sure about you, but I was really taken aback by the onslaught of emails and advertising related to Black Friday weekend sales. And now there’s adverts a plenty telling us what we must buy for the Christmas celebrations. This has prompted me to think more and more about the merits or consumerism. We’re all highly affected by advertising (everyone knows this and that’s why companies pour so much money into it), but do we really need all the things that we’re told we should buy? Will this make us happy? Can the world survive the human consumer? Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look and enter a new world of anti-consumerism.
If we really stop and think about it, there’s actually very little that we truly need. A lot of people will say that food is very important, but do we really need that certain breakfast cereal with exotic nuts from the other side of the world, packaged in plastic and in a box with pretty pictures and writing? No. Some simple, basic foods would nourish us just nicely, but we feel some sort of strange pleasure from buying that trendy package and having it in our cupboard.
The world cannot survive the way us humans consume voraciously. This was clearly explained in The Story of Stuff, which is a great short video that I highly recommend. I’ve written before about the concept of actually not needing much, like in A world where having less is cool and The Real Cost of Cheap Stuff
From “having” to sharing
One really big mental shift that could greatly help our society, is to realise that it is better to share things rather than trying to own them, or “have” them. The world has plenty of stuff (in fact, and that’s where ALL the stuff comes from) and if we just shared it with each other, there would be plenty for all. Just think about how much stuff you have at home that you don’t actually use, and then that there are companies still making that same stuff and advertising it to try and get more people to buy it (maybe that’s why you have it in the first place). If we could simply share more, there would be less stress on the planet and our society.
Let’s get things right for once. The world is pushing consumerism non-stop. It’s such a strain and it will destroy the planet if things go on like they are. Let’s use less stuff (see use10percentless.com), let’s eat less (see Healthy Eating – another perspective), let’s share more and be kinder, and let’s be happy without all the things we think we just have to have.
The real secret of life is to become aware that we don’t need anything to complete ourselves. We are 100% complete just as we are. And it’s that 100% completeness that is the source of real joy.
A good dose of anti-consumerism is what we need to snuff out the raging wild-fire of consumerism. Not only will we be happier, we’ll save money (for more important uses), be less troubled and find more contentment and peace, which is what we’re really looking for.