A re-post of an article I wrote some time ago. Just in time for “black Friday”.
The Soulless Consumer
“In the developed countries there is poverty of intimacy, a poverty of spirit, of loneliness, of lack of love. There is no greater sickness in the world today than that one.”
Mother Teresa “In My Own Words”
Americans are trained from the time they are babies their duty and right is to consume. Even a person living in a cave knows what generates 70% of our economy: consumer consumption. As an American there is no greater good and no better vocation than consuming as much as you can. It’s the mantra spewed forth from T.V.s, the internet, radio, billboards; there is no escaping advertising designed to make you feel compelled to consume. Americans have learned their lesson well, they consume more per capita than any other country in the world. But what does consumption get you really? Mother Teresa hit the nail on the head: Poverty of intimacy, spirit; loneliness, lack of love. There is no greater sickness. This from a modern-day saint who treated leprosy and saw more suffering and sorrow than most people can imagine. Yet, there is no greater sickness than in developed countries. A scathing conclusion.
The modern day consumer. Walking the isles at Wal-Mart (the largest company in the world), wandering around the malls, filling grocery carts with crappy food that will make them fat. Consume until you can consume no more. Consume until you can barely walk anymore. Watch T.V. commercials for hours on end to get motivated to do it all again. On Saturday morning, get out of the way on the highways and byways, rabid consumers will run you over trying to get to stores to spend their hard-earned dollars on stuff they don’t need and can barely afford.
Yet look into their eyes, as they try to get ahead of you in the check-out line. Their eyes are empty, their souls are gone, they don’t look happy like in the commercials, they look strung-out, vacuous. There is little joy in consumption.
My, it’s been easy to dupe the public. Just project visions of love, happiness, and friendship, all attained by eating hamburgers, buying coke, and eating chocolate. Buy a new car, it will fulfill you. The Madison Avenue con job has become an art-form now. The peasants are happy to comply, and will even run each other over to get what they want and supposedly need.
A great deal of cash can be obtained these days by owning storage buildings. You’ve seen ‘em. They’re everywhere, and most are full.
A fortuitous cycle for product-makers, the hoople-heads can continue to consume ad infinitum as long as they have credit and someplace to store all the crap they bought last year. There are mounds, piles, and garages filled with junk, important last year, discarded this year, or at least held onto into perpetuity. There is no end in sight. A soulless consumer can never fill the hole in their soul with food, products, and stuff, no matter how they may try. Yet, they never stop trying.
There was a movie out in the ‘80s, “True Stories” by the Talking Heads. A great and funny movie, with plenty of awesome music. My favorite song was “love for sale.”
“I was born in a house with the television always on
Guess I grew up too fast And I forgot my name
We’re in cities at night and we got time on our hands. So leave the driving to us.
And it’s the real thing.
And you’re rolling In the blender With me.
And I can love you Like a color TV.
Push my button…The toast pops up, Love and money gettin’ all mixed up
And now love is here C’mon and try it. I got love for sale Got love for sale”
Love and money, gettin’ all mixed up. Back in the 80’s advertising was just starting to get intrusive. Now, it’s malignant. People don’t question it either. Advertisers have equated love with their products for years now. “I’m lovin it.” From guess where? By eating and stuffing your face with fast food, you will be able to attain love. By buying your kids happy meals, you will attain their love. By buying chocolate bars, you are buying love. People have seen so much they are completely desensitized, but the message is there: you can buy yourself some love. You need money, so money then equals love. You can get comfort from eating “comfort food,” available at any buffet or eatery. Eat yourself into a food-comfort-coma, it’s perfectly acceptable, even encouraged.
Is it any wonder we are the most obese country on the planet? Any wonder why obesity is killing 350,000 per year?
People are trying to fill the hole in their soul with food and stuff, which doesn’t work, but at least you can get a full belly. Where will it end for the soulless consumer? Will they realize they are being duped? Will they stop the madness and stop stuffing themselves and their domiciles with stuff? Will they realize love, intimacy, and spirit come from within, from sharing, and not from consuming? Will the biggest consumer nation in the history of developed countries ever get over what Mother Teresa states is “no greater sickness in the world today?” Don’t bet your happy meal on it. Pull out your plastic and get shopping, you’ll feel better soon….