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 Blooming Stars

Consumer Culture-1

            This morning as I was having breakfast, I noticed our cat, Rasan, jumping on to his perch on top of the dog house to see his food dish. After a very brief look he jumped out searching for his caretaker. Soon I went to see his food dish to find out what happened. There was quite some food left over from the previous day in the tray. There was also food carelessly strewn around making the place messy. He does not hunt any mouse that destroys edible roots in our garden. Rasan eats his choice food to his content, basks in the sun, and tries to sneak in to the house and sleeps in bed or clothes piles even though he knows he is not allowed in the house. I do not like pets inside the house though this is a common phenomenon in the USA where a great deal of money is spent on their food, and to keep them clean. A dog or cat does not clean itself after its bath-room chores. I am witnessing the same scenario that I did not care for in the US: overweight and obese persons, and fat and overfed pets. This is due to what I call a tragic consumer culture of affluence that drains our rationality and sense of priorities. We may lose many battles, but we have to win this war on consumer culture that makes us impotent. Here is an attempt to make us aware of the destructive nature of consumer culture.

            Consumer culture gradually sneaks into our life as it pleases our senses, especially our taste and sight. It caters to our cumulative sense of comfort. We are attracted by looks and sensual pleasures that routinely make us indulge in impulsive behaviors. For many shoppers, mostly women, in the US, shopping is a form of entertainment. Window-shopping – finding out the new products available in the market – is a great pastime. Buying things not needed is not uncommon. Shopping any more is not need-based but want-based. Shopping in the developed countries has become a serious form of addiction for many whom I have seen in therapy. Persons in shopping spree impulsively buy things that they do not need, do not have space to store, and do not have money to pay for. They charge what they buy on their many credit cards, and finally end up in the offices of credit counseling, and often in declaring bankruptcy. Currently this is the kind of shopping model that is being exported into the developing countries. Persons who engage in impulsive criminal activities on the spur of the moment that involve thefts or sexual crimes are also led by thrill-seeking behaviors and momentary excitements resulting from extreme, negative form of impulsive behaviors. The many models the young men and women imitate are not known for their moral values and integrity. Guinness World Records contain amazing but destructive achievements that can happen only in a consumer culture.

            Economies of the developed world depend on consumer culture. Prosperity anymore depends on producing products, whether needed or not, selling, buying, and using them irrespective of improved quality of moral and social life. Recently a slump in economic production in China led to the world economic down-turn. We have recently seen that very high oil prices as well as very low prices crash financial markets. Currently oil producing countries are trying to come together to limit the production of oil to increase its price as there is more oil production than the real demand. This is the kind of senseless economy produced by the consumer culture that we are living in. At this rate the consumer culture is going to destroy us spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This is a century of consumption of products. A century ago tuberculosis that destroyed humans was also known as consumption caused by tubercle bacillus bacterium. Like tuberculosis of old, our consumer culture is destroying us. Once we realize this fact we can change our strategies to slowly win our war on consumer culture, and gain control over our life and freedom.


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