Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Weird Mental Illness of Consumerism

Rampant consumerism has become the cornerstone of the post-industrial age, and the ever-growing purchasing and consumption of material possessions has become a significant measure of our lives. We consume goods and services as a means to feel good about ourselves,  however, after that brief high that most of us get after acquiring that new car, computer, clothing, etc., the opposite occurs, and we're left feeling more empty than ever.  This desire for, and acquisition of non-essential products is only a temporary "fix", as we try to fill a void that can never be filled with gadgets, "money" and bling, try as we might..

Has our insatiable appetite driven us into “the jaws of the beast?”

The American economy, having reached the point where its technology was capable of satisfying basic needs, now relied on the creation of new consumer demands--on convincing people to buy goods for which they are unaware of any need until the need is forcibly brought to their attention by mass media." -- Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism
As a religion, consumerism is even more powerful than scientism, and its influence holds sway in many circles that are antagonistic or indifferent to science. We might characterize the religion as follows. Its god is economic growth for its own sake; its priests are the public policy makers who provide access to growth; its evangelists are the advertisers who display the products of growth and try to convice us that we cannot be happy without them; its church is the shopping mall. Its primary creeds are “bigger is better” and “more is better” and “faster is better” and “you can have it all.” Its doctrine of creation is that the earth is real estate to be bought and sold in the marketplace. Its doctrine of human existence is that we are skin encapsulated egos cut off from the world by the boundaries of our skin. And its doctrine of salvation is that we are saved – or made whole – not by grace through faith as Christians claim, or by wisdom through letting go as Buddhists claim, but by appearance, affluence, and marketable achievement." -- Dr. Jay McDaniel


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