We deserve to feel happy, loved, and esteemed. Everyday we’re bombarded with hundreds of messages through all Medias. Unfortunately according to these messages this is attainable ONLY through making money, and spending it on products. They are all created to suggest that we need stuff, rather than wanting them, and introducing the good life as the goods life.
The economic growth is always linked to the act of consumerism. Around 150 Billion dollars are spent annually to spread messages, and embed them in every conceivable space; from magazines to public bathrooms.Consumerism and commercialism are reaching an even deeper level, to the point of influencing people’s mindsets and lifestyles and revolving them around owning more stuff. They also influence our social relationships.
Materialistic values and pro-social values are like a see-saw; as materialistic values go up, pro social values tend to go down. Studies also show that when people strongly endorse money, image, and status, they’re less likely to engage to ecological beneficial activities. This explains why some people don’t care about reusing or recycling materials. I truly believe that the more we value materialistic aspirations, the lower our happiness and satisfaction. Substance abuse is caused when we value the aims encouraged by consumer society. This is why people are acting in a less empathic, generous and cooperative way.
At the end of the day, if we hope to have a happier, more social just, and a more ecologically sustainable world, then we need to understand what causes people to prioritize materialistic values, is it caused by our insecurities? Apparently we need to develop ways to diminish the power of materialistic values in our personal lives, and society. We also need to promote intrinsic values, from growing as a person, being close to family and friends, and improving the broader world.
The grip that consumerism and commercialism have on us can seem inescapable, and there’re certainly power forces pushing materialistic values on us. But can we break the hold of materialism? Are we giving in a good way? Or are we just creating a smaller cycles of consumerism, covered up in intrinsic values?
I’ll leave you with this TEDx Talk on a personal story of minimalism:
A rich life with less stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgBpyNsS-jU