To say that humans, much like oil, peanuts and gold is simply a commodity, is true in todays ”market” driven economy. To be used and discarded when the commodity is no longer profitable, is the way the new economy is built and works. At-least that is the impression given when most companies refuse to give a living wage in the USA, and if injured, most employees lose their jobs. (If non-professional). What am I getting at? Personally I think the market economy is wrong, I think we have gone too far in this utopian fantasy, our personalities have been replaced by marketing campaigns.
We all have the little movie playing in our heads, where we are the stars, were we are the ones playing in the leading roll in the Hollywood movie, or the professional boxer who just beat the best fighters in the world, or we just walked down the runway at a Victoria secret event. Whatever the fantasy, isn’t it strange that many of us live by these dreams? Often replacing our own realities with these far fetched fantasies? I have met many people who live in constant depression because they haven’t reached the dream status of the movie playing in their heads. This utopian vision of being complete only when we have the newest gear, or the newest and best car or grill. Our souls have been purposely erased and reprogrammed since birth by a highly motivated and successful marketing campaign.
In his book the Republic plato imagines humans being chained for their entire lives in a dark underground cave, in this cave the humans see only the shadows of the world outside, the people in the caves believes that the shadows and darkness are reality. They know nothing else. As the story continues one of these prisoners are freed and brought into sunlight, where he suffers great pain. After being in the darkness for so long he is blinded by the glare, and longs for the reality of the darkness. However, after awhile his blindness disappears and he can now see everything around him, and suddenly the illusions of the tiny cave and flickering shadows is obliterated. He confronts the chaos and enormity of reality, his world is no longer drawn on the shadows of a cave wall.
We are, as Chris hedges writes in his book Empire of Illusion chained to the flickering shadows of celebrity culture, the spectacle of the arena and the airwaves, the lies of advertising, the endless personal dramas, many of them completely fictional, that have become the staple of the news, celebrity gossip, new age mysticism and pop psychology.
I believe we are the most delusional people in human history. Most of us cannot go 30 minutes without longing for an iPhone, or iPad or tv or some other form of stimulation. We live in virtual worlds were we truly believe that all we have to do to be successful is dream big. Tony Robbins tells us that we are all lions that can be billionaires, pastors fly around in private jets and a red headed clown can become president. It’s no wonder most of us cannot control our consuming habits. It’s not wonder so many people struggle with ”finding themselves”, or finding a community to be a part of.
We have become isolated islands of a utopian vision created and catered to us by corporations in a desperate need to sell us more. More of everything, the newest and shiniest, the best, the greatest. And in the end, the only thing that matter is corporate profits. Profits over people, profits over the well being of a nation and profits over the planet. We are commodities to be used, marketed to and manipulated at all costs. And when we don’t have purchasing power anymore, we are discarded like human refuse.
One of the biggest challenges in becoming a minimalist is breaking the lifetime of propaganda, breaking the chains of consumer slavery, realizing you don’t have to purchase more to be more. Minimalism can do a lot of things for you, but what it does the most is force one to be content with oneself. To break a life time of being locked in that dark cave, living in a reality custom made, the flickering shadows of celebrity culture.