The Distracting Art of Consumerism

Have you ever stopped to look at all the things you have collected at your house? Do you really need all of them? Would you be able to survive without them? Most of us have more than we need. And yet we keep searching for more.

If you look at commercials without getting emotionally involved with them, you may be able to laugh about them. Sure, some of them are pretty funny, but I’m talking about laughing at their proposal and what they tell you to do in a very smart way. Let’s take cell phone commercials for instance. There is a very funny commercial my kids showed me on the other day, since I don’t usually watch TV. A guy comes into a garage to rob this other guy. He pretends to have a gun by pointing his finger inside the pocket of his jacket, then asks for the guy’s cell phone, which the guy happily agrees to do. When the robber sees it is an old cell phone – not the brand new one that blinks brightly and is able to write nicer messages to one’s friends them themselves – he tries to return it, but the guy doesn’t want it back, since that will be a valid excuse for the phone company to finally allow him to buy a new phone even though his 2-year-agreement plan is not over yet. What happens next is the victim now pretending to be the robber by pointing his finger inside his pocket at the guy, so he makes sure he gets rid of his “old” cell phone. I found it funny, but even funnier is how society thinks nowadays. If you have a phone that works, why would you need the next generation one? Why aren’t people satisfied with what they have? Why do they always need more?

By watching commercials, you are massively told to buy more, to want more all the time. So strong are the suggestions, powered even by subliminal messages, people end up believing they do need more indeed. And that keeps the machines moving – not just the factory ones… And that’s why I ask you, “Have you stopped and looked at all your possessions? Do you really need to buy more stuff?” I mean, if you’re not going to brag about your new acquired up to date piece of technology (bragging is about another issue), why would you need it then? Did it provide you with satisfaction last time you bought it? If you answered yes, how long were you satisfied for? Until the next brand new thing came out?

Behind all this consumerism, there is much more being accomplished. Having so many different “toys” to keep the population busy with or people working to get enough money to spend on the next new toy, one can assure there will be little or no time for people to sit with themselves. Knowing about oneself is essential to live a better life and to make conscious choices all the time. Here is a quote I read on the other day that triggered this post of mine: “The challenge for governments in the future will be to prevent man from effectively discovering his true self, and keeping humanity locked in consumerist materialism.” from Zbigniew Brzezinski.

That’s why I love reminding people who come to my yoga classes of how special it is they dedicate those 60-75 minutes to themselves, without the intervention of cell phones, social networking, emails and text messages. What a gift! As you develop appreciation for time spent with yourself, you soon rediscover how to enjoy being with other people, not machines, and nature. If we pay enough attention, there will be even more interaction going on than if you were living behind a computer. Some of you may think you will miss a lot of drama by staying out of the internet, but take a look at yourself in the mirror. Then, look deep inside: Do you see drama? Yes, drama happens in everyone’s lives; are you able to deal with it? Or do you choose to look at other people’s drama to escape from yours?

There is enough going on inside you and around you, don’t you think? Just make sure you are not distracted and you will be able to sense it. Sit with yourself for a few minutes a day, and get to know this fantastic human being you are! Your body has a lot to tell you. Connect with it. Listen. Pay attention. And while you’re at it, let the phone ring. If it’s important, they will call again soon or leave a message. Don’t worry: As you sit with yourself, the world will still be spinning as it was before.


About thowling

Peace, love and light! Thereza Howling.
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