Wednesday, 10 November 2010
The deadly virus of consumerism
My partner and I have a joint income of under £10,000 a year. That would be a considerable amount to say an average African, but here for some odd reason we are classed as living 'below the poverty line, even though we have all we need and don’t want to take holidays abroad or buy the latest Hi- Tec television/Blu sky/kindle. We don’t want to eat out in restaurants and certainly don’t want or need any more clothes. We have enough to feed and clothe ourselves, and have a roof over our head. What more does anyone really need?
Those with an excess of money are just fools to themselves, and are living in absolute delusion. They either think or are conditioned into thinking that they must have the latest consumerist fix. Pravda bags at £500 a time, Rolex watches, cars, suits, coats! I don’t know whether to laugh at their sheer stupidity or look upon them with sadness and compassion for becoming trapped in the delusion of desire. Watch as they work harder and harder to pay for things they really don’t need, or have a surplus of already. Just observe anyone who has a lot of money, beyond the outer appearance of sunglasses tanned body and chauffeur driven car, you will see the mass of doubt, dissatisfaction and fear encrusted on their faces.
Look at the that other group of wealthy individual’s those the media label ‘celebrities.’ Under their veneer of well-groomed style, do you think many of them are content, really content? Look at their thin stick like, emaciated bodies, those people are walking wounded both, physically and psychologically and in a more caring society would be given support and guidance. But here and now, they are rolled out as role models for thousands of young and not so young impressionable and equally deluded people.
I've come across several ‘Happiness and Wealth,’ reports in the media these past few months, the intelligentsia, have been given much food for thought. Yet, whilst the liberal wing of the media are at last beginning to grasp the notion that wealth can never bring real contentment, they only understand it from an intellectual perspective. They can’t really grasp the reality of it. They are only able to grasp something once it is spelled out to them in reports and analysis.
Of course, once anyone becomes entrapped in the whole charade of ‘a certain standard of living. It’s extremely difficult and painful to extricate oneself from its grip, when everyone you know lives the same way; it’s very hard to go against the flow. When friends and work colleagues are buying into the latest fashions, and gadgets, the latest home improvements and entertainments, it takes a brave person to stand up and say enough is enough. For this mass delusion is contagious, and hard to break especially when its victims are feed a daily dose of the nonsense every time they turn on a TV or open a paper. A tremendous amount of pressure is exerted upon us to become ‘normal’ and to join the consumerist ‘dream.’ Watch any game show to see what I mean. The Lottery sells itself with the slogan, ‘you too can live the dream’
It’s time to break free of this nonsense
It’s time for those of us who are classed as poor, to come out and be proud to be so, to dispel the stigma that having little money, equates to a life of misery and a lack of ambition. Those of us who are 'poor,' can show others, that there is all to be gained by living a life where one happily forsakes the trimmings of consumerism.
It’s time to reclaim the right to be poor and proud. To show that being poor doesn't have to mean a life spent in a constant struggle of ambition to ‘better oneself,’ where one may eventually clamber out of a so called 'well of despair and toil', up, into the a 'desirable land of wealth.' Notice that wealth is nearly always equated with happiness and contentment!
There is no need to become sanctimonious, to develop an ‘holier than thou,’ attitude to poverty either. To many spiritual seekers, being poor is seen as a necessary aid on the road to god. Indeed many religious orders actively encourage a life of poverty, in the pursuit of holiness. What I think is missing here, though, to realise that money per say is not the problem. Whether you are a millionaire or a pauper is beside the point, it is how attached you are to money'
It is entirely possible, if one is careful and expedient, to live a life of contentment, and well-being, and real happiness, whilst being relatively poor. If you wish to extricate yourself, from the trap of materialism! It means first of all you have to re-evaluate your priorities, and to wake up to the fact, that a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes, the latest technological gadgets, or eating junk foods, does nothing to further ones situation, and can be happily left behind!
If the writers of those happiness reports and books really want to understand that contentment is available here and now, and not just an intellectual proposition. They only have to spend ten minutes in the company of any truly liberated being.