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On Pride in Consumption – A Super-Sized Culture

May 18, 2009

[Written on August 4, 2003]

supersize200x243.300wide.365highHow is it that we Americans take pride in how much we consume?  We are the “Super-Sized” culture – always striving for bigger, faster, and more of everything, associating “more” with “better”.  GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is essentially a measure of consumption – and we, one of the fattest, unhealthiest, and most poorly educated nations of all, take pride in our capacity for consumption.  I find this quite interesting.  We are a society of trouble-makers and problem-solvers at one and the same time.  Does it not seem that the U.S. is simultaneously responsible for many of the world’s biggest problems (war and climate pollution) as well as its greatest achievements (modern medicine, civil rights and information technology)?

Within this culture of freedom and consumption, opportunity exists for us to create our own destinies, and some take advantage of such freedom to realize themselves; but the masses generally go along with the herd, because it is safe – even if the herd is led astray.  I believe that we are being led astray here in the U.S.  Although I cannot speak for other countries, where I have not lived, this seems to be a phenomenon that also takes place in other areas of the world.  The most important question for each of us is always what are we doing to free ourselves from negative influences and develop our own consciousness path.  This is ultimately the best way that we can influence our immediate environments and ultimately, society at large.

“A stupid person’s notions and feelings may confidently be inferred from those which prevail in the circle by which the person is surrounded.  Not so with those whose opinions and feelings are an emanation from their own nature and faculties.” (Pg. 24, John Stuart Mill’s Subjugation of Women)

The exception to this statement by Mill would be that of the enlightened society, which we surely are not.  As per Mill, I recognize that people are generally lazy in being part of the masses more readily than aspiring towards Truth.  Mass thinking has tremendous gravity and inertia – one must struggle to escape it.  Mass consciousness, or should we say unconsciousness, moves slowly, and is never on the cusp of progressive thinking, always lagging behind.

I wonder how other societies view consumption in relation to quality of life?

[This theme is further explored in other posts from the time of this one in 2003 – check Tags and Categories.]

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