Thursday, February 18, 2010

Negativity to Consumption

I’ve had more than a few conversations about who owns the media and therefore who controls the messages we get sent on a daily basis, but I still cannot let go of the fact that we do have free will and the ability to form our own thoughts, opinions, beliefs…right? I mean, isn’t that the beauty of being human (and supposedly one of the higher evolved species walking around this planet), the ability to choose? This is why all the hate and ugliness baffles me…I realize that part of it is cyclical and it’s a vicious cycle to break but I also believe in my heart of hearts that there is more good in the world than bad and therefore we should’ve already taken over by now!

The main thing holding us back (besides complacency), I believe is the media. I know my idealism can come off as na├»ve at times but I really don’t see what the draw is to watching all the negative things that happens around the world 24-7. I mean, wouldn’t you much rather see news stories about the selfless acts your fellow humans are doing for those in need on a daily basis? So, I grapple with the question, is it the media showing us reasons to hate, distrust, horde, and in all other ways check out or is it human nature to need to see others suffering, hating, less than us in order to make ourselves feel better about our own situation?

I admit that I can be a bit of a conspiracy theorist but I can’t help but wonder who benefits from keeping us in this state of uncertainty and fear? It’s no secret that money is the ruling power/religion of our world and our country in particular. So, I wonder, do we spend more when we are feeling vulnerable (after all, our President suggested that it was our duty as Americans to go out and spend after 9/11 when we were all feeling rather helpless and raw)? If we saw all the selfless acts of generosity and everyday examples of heroes amongst us would we spend less and if so why? Do we feel less inclined to spend when we feel safe and secure? These are the kind of thoughts that consume me at times.

So, the real question is why do we consume so much in the first place? I mean, besides the calculated marketing tactics used by every company that wants to win our loyalty. There have been enough Oprah shows that tell us that spending is just another way we fill the void that others use drugs, alcohol or food for. The thing that is so abhorrent to me is that the people that point this out are portrayed as kooky, liberal, hippies who are stuck in the free love years and need to wake up and smell the Starbucks double espresso, macchiato, no foam, no fat soy latte. We have become so consumed with our consumption that we cannot fathom living on less. This is self-evident in the countless families that rarely see their children because both parents are working 40+ hours/week, to keep up with all the bills for the biggest house they can get a mortgage for, nicest car they can get approved for, name brand clothes and all the dance, karate, soccer, gymnastics, ice skating lessons credit can buy.

It’s hard for me not to look at the enormous homes, where children have their own wing of the house, bigger SUVs, where siblings don’t even have to watch/listen to the same DVD or music or heaven forbid have a conversation or play a game together and the dinners bought at fast food driveways after swim lessons on the way to karate and wonder what we’re really getting out of this disconnectedness. Is this really the life we want? Is this what family life is now? Is it that hard of a connection to see the issues with ‘kids these days’ is that parents are too busy trying to give their kids everything that they miss the mark on the one thing that kids need the most…their parents’ time and attention? Is it that hard to see that we are being controlled and it is effecting our lives, children and spirits?