Thursday, September 23, 2010

Consumers


I hear we live in a consumer economy. The term is used in media constantly. It is a given. By defining human beings as consumers, some human beings exploit human greed and materialism for great profit. This is not new.

Stepping away from the addictive process of consuming every new thing is part of an awakening. The brainwashers of advertising use peer pressure and fear of isolation to peddle electronic devices, cars, clothing, alcohol and soft drinks. They used to peddle cigarettes in the same way, before the product was revealed to be more toxic than being the odd man out.

Watching television with commercials has always felt like manipulation to me. I could not enjoy the content of a drama or comedy without the nagging feeling that my brain was being programmed to do things against my better interests. I stopped watching commercial TV about twenty-five years ago.

I come back to the Japanese Buddhist mantra , "Person environment one." If you are submerged visually in commercial advertising all day, your mind and your environment are no longer your own. You are inhaling messages, overt and covert, which shape your ideals and your interests. The goal of the originators of these messages is simple. They wish to own you.

You are what you eat. In a similar way, you are what you watch and consume. Taking time away from the messages of media and the process of consuming or planning to consume is essential to finding your center. Meditation is a useful tool for this. Yoga is another. Other forms of focused activity, geared to releasing the mind from cluttered thought, are useful tools to break the pattern of wanting and buying and wanting more.

As I have said before, wanting more when you are full is a symptom of disease. The lords of the consumer economy never want you to stop wanting. This is a struggle for your health and mental well being in a world driven by money and profit. The choices are difficult and require great balance and persistence.

1 comment:

Tzipi W said...

Finally-----something that speaks to my soul.