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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On consumerism, pop culture and the hollow self-identity

It is in no doubt that the world we live in today are more free, open, and diverse. But, under this twisted form of freedom in a pseudo-democratic state, are we really free? North America is the premier place in which an average Joe or Jane is always surrounded by mass media, notion of consumerism, and the everlasting, but poison, pop culture. One should then ask, what extend do these have on us, as human beings?

Do we feel more liberated through shopping and buying meaningless produce and products? Do we, as the people in a Western society, feel more comfortable by indulging in pop culture? No, we do not. We are simply following the models and guidelines written by corporate conglomerates and its high executives, with the sole purpose of meeting their bottom line. We are simply transferring the burden and human rights abuse to the unlucky people of the Third World countries, where a worker has to work an average of 40 plus hours to earn a minimum hourly wage of merely few cents just to satisfy the insatiable needs of you and me. Now, what is the justification in that? Are we morally responsible? Have we lose our conscience by indulging in expensive clothes, electronic gadgets, TV sets, and game consoles? Are we retaining our self-identity through soul searching, cultural identification, and self understanding, or is it being molded by Nike labels, Reebok shoes, Levi Jeans, and Gap clothes?

How hollow are we becoming when one has to learn history from franchised movies, fiction novels, and tabloid newspapers? Could we be this stupid, or are we just lazy to search for the truth?

I rarely visit shopping malls, but when I did I would always notice three things. One, the number of malls and its accompanying shops would always outnumber the number of museums and libraries altogether. Secondly, the population density per acre in a shopping mall would always outnumber that of libraries or museums. Finally, by the differences in the level of comfort. For example, in malls you would always guaranteed to have a multiplies of chairs, sofas, lavatories, information services and etc., but in a library and museum you would only have a limited few. Now, doesn't this tell you something?

Consumerism and empty pop culture are transforming you and me into mindless, thoughtless, buying-on-impulse zombies. One who is oblivious to the current worldly events, such as the Palestinian issues, the human rights abuse in China, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the environmental problems, namely Global Warming, to just name a few. How are we to notice these when we are so overwhelmed by the indoctrinated buying instincts? This not only applies to the working class but also to the educated elites.

Will we ever wake up in time to save our souls? This answer is for you to figure out. Nobody can write your own destination, you've to write and walk it yourself!

3 comments:

ShastriX said...

Thank you for an excellent post, SpeedD.

With his avaricious lifestyle, Man is screwing up Mother Earth. Even now, people are arguing against Global Warming, and continuing with their costly (to the environment) lifestyle.

Of course, Mother Earth knows how to take care of Herself, as we shall soon see.

speed_demon said...

Hi Shastrix, thank you for your kind and sincere comment.

It's just I feel so helpless witnessing what is happening right in front of my eyes. We live in a privileged society (i.e. Western) where materialistic concern is embedded into our thoughts and is used to control our behavior, especially the behavior towards the poors and the unfortunates. This is not right and has to be stopped. My only hope is more people, especially the young adults, could become aware of what's happening, shred their materialistic needs and lend a helpping hand to those in need.

It is when we realise this critical step would the world become a better place. But, until then, there will be rampant poverty, government-sanctioned conflicts, and "war-on-terror".

It is very unfortunate where capitalism taught us to forbid our conscience, dignity, and philanthropy. I hope that can be changed, someday.

ShastriX said...

Well, SpeedD, we can't change the world, we can only change ourselves.

As Gandhi said: Become the change that you want to see in the world.

People might get influenced by that itself and change.

We should be ready for 2012!