December 28, 2015

Consumerism: War On Everything

Consumerism is a war on everything, and we are being compelled to be its soldiers.

Citizen's money is transformed into consumer bullets, bulldozers and bombs, wreaking havoc far and wide. And we aren't even happier for all of that. Lazier, for sure, but happier? Not so much.

Advertising is the most insidious propaganda ever produced. It has formed our world view, our purpose for living. “I shop, therefore I am. If some is good, more is better.” It is causing us to volunteer our lives to the pursuit of more everything, and damn the consequences.

Overconsumption is an act of violence. It harms others, the planet, and the person doing the consuming. It is not a positive act for children or other living things, which is why its explosive powers must be defused and the lies and corrosive myths of consumerism laid bare.

The truth is that harbouring unlimited desires and living large is not in our genetic make up. For most of the human timeline we have lived simply in small nomadic groups. Excessive possessions for most of human history were nothing more than a hindrance, and they still are today.

We have only recently been drafted into Operation Live To Consume. Citizens have been carefully trained to be consumers, consuming far past the point of need. Perhaps that is the good news.

We still have deep desires in our genetic make up to live that planet-friendly simple lifestyle that worked for us over tens of thousands of years, and still does among the few today that continue these ways.

The ultimate planet-supporting thing to do is to be a conscientious objector, refuse to fight on the consumer battlefield, and commit to a life of nonviolence.

We can all rejoin the original mission - Operation Consume To Live. It is a mission of enough, of peace and contentment. Of sanity and solidarity.


  1. Today I was traumatized! My daughter got lots of money for Christmas and I finally worked up enough courage to take her to town. Everything looks so cheap and tawdry, and it's either so cheap I am horrified or so expensive I am horrified at the cheapness of it being sold for mega money. I despair.

    1. If you aren't horrified you aren't paying attention. Or have too much money. Or both.

    2. Anonymous4/26/2016

      @Frugal in the Valley

      Awww, poor you.
      Some people don't have shoes, or food, or clean water, or clothing, or shelter from the cold or rain, or beds to sleep in, or other basic necessities of life.

      But I can see how you'd be "traumatized" not getting the value you expect for your precious money.

      Do you and your daughter have any/all of the above? Maybe she should use her precious money to actually help someone else....rather than thinking about more excessive crap to buy.

    3. Anonymous, I can understand the sentiment of your comment, but we can all help each other without an attitude that may be off-putting and counter-productive.

      The world could use a whole lot more gentleness and understanding. We are all in this together, and it will take all of us to play nice together to make the changes that need to be changed.

      I encourage you to post here, with a name, and try to tap into your love for the world that you obviously have.

  2. I forgot to add my daughter actually came to the same conclusion except for a good for her little teenage self.

    1. It is vital to help our kids see that a life based on consumerism is a dead end pursuit. Your teenager may be one of those that will turn this thing on its head and decide not to struggle to work at jobs they don't like just to acquire things they don't need. Your daughter is on her way. Hope is good this time of year. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. You have that right about "crap" being a hindrance. I still on my de-crapping project anticipating a relocation. I'm capitalizing on the upcoming move to downsize my load. Again. It's taken me a long time because I don't have full time to dedicate to the project. I understand "hindrance" very well.

    Frugal in the Valley, I sympathize with you on going to town in search of something to buy. I get overstimulated, overwhelmed and somewhat traumatized in big stores especially. It's just too much stuff. Too many decisions, even if it is deciding, "No, I'm not buying that." It wears me out. I remember distinctly being in IKEA a couple of years ago for the first time. (I had to make the trip with the woman I work for.) After a few hours of looking at a huge amount of cheap really cute stuff, I retreated to a window where I stared out as tears rolled down my face. It's just too much.

    The happiest part of the picture is that sun over the snow capped mountains. I want to be up there away from consumerism.

    Great post Gregg.

    1. The sun over the mountains in the picture represents hope for me, that a better future is possible, and is on its way. This thing could tip at any moment as it grows more fragile with every day.

      When that happens, we have to be ready with new ideas. And a lot of hard work. We can do it.

      Linda and I hope that you have an awesome and adventurous New Year. So much possibility. Tabula rasa.

  4. Hi Gregg,

    I have recently consumed, and oh it was lovely! Let me explain. On Christmas Eve, my plastic colander which I've had for thirty years completely broke. It was lovely to purchase a beautiful European enamel one, which will probably last me until I die.

    My one and only button down casual shirt - worn constantly when not at work for the last 4 years - started to get spontaneous holes. Then the armpit ripped - and I repaired it! Then it was clear it would not make one more trip through the washing machine. Lovely to get a new one.

    Finally, I replaced my 16 year old bath robe after living without one for a while to see if I really needed one. I decided it is a garment I need as it's often cold in the mornings where I live. In a wonderful stroke of luck, I managed to get an organic cotton robe, made fairly, at half price with free postage - wonderful.

    So, for me, infrequent purchasing done with awareness can be enjoyable. But what a relief I now don't need anything for a long time!


    PS warmest wishes to you and Linda for a fantastic year in 2016.

    1. When eating a banana, really eat the banana. And when doing the infrequent shopping trip, do it as well as you can with full awareness and enjoyment. I like shopping for bananas.

      Happy New Year to you and yours. Good to hear from you before 2015 fades off into the distance.


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