The Culture of Want

Credit: Public Domain

Gold is Yummy! Credit: Public Domain

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy”.

~Eric Hoffer

We are taught by this culture to want and want it now and no matter what we get, we are never satisfied. Our economy is built on our rampant consumption of everything; this intense overpowering feeling to want it all, to have it all.

And all this having and wanting leads to high expectations that for most of us are never fulfilled. It’s as if our society sets us up for disappointment.

consumerism Gianni-Versace-home-3

“Home” Sweet “Home” Credit Public Domain

There are certain ideals set before us, by media, by government, by our peers and by society in general. We are expected to live up to these impossibly high and unrealistic standards. If we do not we are deemed a failure. I think much of these expectations are top-heavy and backward. Much emphasis is placed on high status careers and wealth.  Wealth that is quickly spent on expensive items as fancy cars, houses that are much too large, expensive and exotic vacations and trendy gadgets. I marvel at the lines people are willing to wait in to pay exorbitantly high prices just to get themselves  the newest “I” somethings. We are expected not only to keep up with the “Joneses” but to outdo the “Joneses” at every twist and turn and then rub their noses in it. People are expected to lead these “full” lives with as many over the top experiences one can muster. We are also expected to remain forever and impossibly young in this culture while the natural process of aging is frowned upon and is seen a detriment.

Shallow untalented celebrities are held up as an ideal to aspire to. The news of their lives are featured as the top stories of the day. We place these people on high pedestals and then watch with relish as they crash and burn all in front of the unblinking eye of the media.

Kim Kardashian

Credit: Public Domain… Kim Kardashian, What is she famous for? Someone please tell me, I really don’t know…

Our young people have no other role models nothing to aspire to except more of this flashy shallowness. The family unit is deteriorating and our common sense of home and well-being is being put through the shredder. It is no wonder that many are depressed and suffer from mental illnesses and addictions.

As a society we are searching for something. A something we know we lack and we pretend we haven’t a clue about what or where it is. We are losing ourselves and what makes us great.

Those ideas and ideals, those which helped us become who we were in a golden age that now seems so distant. Those ideals of family and hard work and patience. Of perseverance, wisdom and respect. The importance of generosity and understanding, kindness and love. These are the ideals we should aspire to. These are the values that are truly valuable.

I don’t have to tell anyone this. We all know this. In the back of our minds, in our hearts and souls, I just think we need to be reminded once in a while…

consumerism1

Credit: Public Domain

…and while I stand on this soapbox, shouting to whoever will hear me…I realise that  I am for the most part, preaching to the converted. We are an enlightened bunch who swim in the deepest end of the pool, we in this community of bloggers…but I bet we know others who may not swim in such deep waters. It is up to us to inspire those who may need a little inspiring and a bit of encouragement now and then. Perhaps lead by example and do some preaching ourselves.

We are a part of a society at large and although we may not participate fully in this consumermania and celebrity obsession we do have an influence over those who do.

It is up to those who are enlightened to help light the way for the rest of us.

Strawberryindigo.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.” 
~Ken Kesey

**Related articles**

Travie McCoy: Billionaire ft. Bruno Mars [OFFICIAL VIDEO] (youtube)

*I admit I actually like this song*

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How to Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses (cashnetusa.com)

Keeping up with the Joneses in Suburbia (suburbo-types.com)

The Crisis of American Consumerism (Huffingtonpost.com)

Celebrity Worship Syndrome (Wikipedia)

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31 thoughts on “The Culture of Want

  1. Wonderful post and reminder…. I was raised on a military installation in the middle of nowhere, and my brother and I – decades later – are still a bit stunned by it all. Mind-shifts are definitely in order, and mass media doesn’t help.

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  2. Hi Nancy — thanks for the reminder. This post ties in very nicely with the series I’m doing on Universal Value. I believe that we have been deliberately steered away from understanding that WE are the value — money is only a representation of value and there is NO amount of money or material goods that can in any way represent a human BEing’s true and innate value. More of us are beginning to integrate this truth and thus, more of us are breaking free of the lures of the illusory world of consumerism. There is a tsunami of awakening to this reality — that each of us has the power to share our value directly with any other BEing or with Life Itself and receive value in return. Blessings and Love, Alia

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    • Hello Alia! So wonderful to see you! You are so very correct when you say “WE are the value” and yes it is encouraging that more of us are beginning to wake up. I beleive we are at the dawn of an amazing change! Thanks so very much for your comments. I will pop over soon to see you and glean some insight from your light! ~Nancy

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  3. Good one! It takes a change of mind-set, but anyone can do it. For me, it started with the financial squeeze after my husband and I separated. I began to ask myself, “Do I really need that?” Most of the time, the answer was, “No.” Pretty soon, I didn’t even need to ask, and I’d find myself much happier without. Most of the “stuff” just leads to clutter, anyway. The satisfaction of sufficiency can conquer the guilt of overindulgence. Now, I only go shopping with a list, and if something’s tempting, I usually think, “I don’t need that.” Occasionally, it’s, “That might be nice,” and I’ll buy it. About half the time I do, I regret it and half the time I don’t. If we don’t indulge in an occasional unexpected pleasure, we can begin to feel deprived. But looking at the trees and sky – the flowers and animals – in the outside world provides most of my unexpected pleasures.

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  4. I really like your first quote! What a truth that is!!! Tis is a great post, highlighting the root of so many of the problems we face in our country today. I try to keep myself out of the mainstream “news” that only triggers people’s spending/getting addiction. But I have to stay on guard against being seduced by wants disguising themselves as needs. Having a fixed income helps me be mindful about that. I wish every junior high, high school and college student could read this post, and be fore-warned about what the dominant culture is doing to try to get them on the wanting/spending treadmill. The values you mention is where happiness lies. It is not in a mall.

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  5. You are quite right. All the major economies of the world require consumption which is antonymic of economy. Our decision might simply be to live life as we know we should, but do so fiercely and without apology so that those within our sphere are given a practical example to gauge their own behavior. A great post. Thank you!
    James.

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  6. Yup this is so true and so sad. And while I know all of that, I still find myself comparing my life, house, clothes to others. It does not help that we live in an affluent area and we are much more middle class than those around us. Cody and Carter have noticed that our house is smaller than those of their friends and I am sure they will notice more as they get older. I only hope that I can overcome that reaction to compare so that they will learn that it is not what you have but who you are with and what you make of it.

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  7. As a society we are searching for something. A something we know we lack and we ‘PRETEND’ we haven’t a clue about what or where it is. We are losing ourselves and what makes us great. – You have great insight into hypocritical unconscious human psyche, N.

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    • Hey Gunta, Thanks for the tip on the site, I went there for a quick peruse and have marked it in my favorites so I can return…looks interesting alright…..just my cup of tea…..camera equiptment huh?…..HMMMM, I’m guilty of over shopping for clothes, so there, I admit it….now you know. ;)

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  8. Preach on, Sister. I love this post. I love the quotations that bookend the post. I love your passion and wisdom. I guess what I’m saying is, “I’ll buy that.” haha. {{hugs}}} Kozo

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    • Hey Kozo, I was worried how this post would be received, I’ve been somewhat preachy lately…hopefully it won’t last and I can go back to being funny, but it can’t be forced. I think I care too much sometimes… Thanks for stopping by my friend, {{{HUGS BACK}}}

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  9. I admit to wanting lots of things, but I agree that so many people associate possessions with happiness or status. I love that last quote – where DO you find them… a secret source? ;-) Brilliant!

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    • Hi Cathy. I’m guilty myself of over consumption, I have a weakness for clothing…which I act on from time to time….about the quotes, I have two quote books and I use the site, brainy quotes but where I get the most interesting ones that haven’t been used to death are at the Goodreads site….you have to sign up with them but there are quotes a plenty. ;)

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  10. Reblogged this on Cosmic Loti and commented:
    Attachment to an object exagerrates its good qualities beyond reason, considers it desirable enough to possess it, and loses the plot over it.
    We fall for it time and again, Don’t we?!

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      • Oh you! Guilt doesn’t help us move on, it keeps us stuck in the past. Must say tho, I regret my excessive wardrobe too. Synchronicity rocks tho! Was wondering where to take the charity sacks when an envelope for these guys arrives, ‘donate for the disabled n disadvantaged.’ Sorted :) http://youtu.be/uQcmp5GkzFA

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  11. Too true. I am trying to be realistic while house hunting, but it does come up…square footage, garage, what do I need vs. want?
    As to celebrity worship it is frustrating. I know Kim Kardashian’s name…but why? Why should I? She is famous for some famiky publicity and a reality tv show with her rich family, but why would or should we care what they do? Last heard they were not out curing cancer or even saving whales.
    Spot on strawberryindigo, and thanks for the perspective. Great timing:)

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    • Hey Niaaeryn, Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your insight. Too bad people out there doing worthy actions of merit aren’t celebrated. THAT would be fantastic and it would encourage others and the world would be a better place for sure.

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