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28-05-2005
  61
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so, shoexgal, I would just start to watch closely your experiences when buying something new... just watch and you can learn much from it!

And if many people would start doing this, the capitalism of today would lose its firm grip on us..

And for fashion, I don't think there's anything wrong with showing new designs every 6 months, but I wish there would be no more 'ins' and 'outs' and that you could just get the clothing that fits you best anytime you need it!

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28-05-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helena
Personally I do much the same as softgrey - I try to stay out of the ratrace...

however fashion, unfortunately, for my sins, is my weakness and I am 'sold' into the system.....so I am hypocrite to take the moral highground as I am utterly materialistic when it comes to clothes.
I agree with everything here... I do try to stay grounded, but it's hard to stay out of the system. It's a struggle...

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28-05-2005
  63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tott
I agree with everything here... I do try to stay grounded, but it's hard to stay out of the system. It's a struggle...
I think it may depend a lot on your personality and upbringing, the difficulty level of staying out of the "exceeding the Joneses" race.

One thing working in my favor is that I never have any money anyway, and I come from a family that was always on a tight budget, so I was raised to analyze my desires and decide if something I wanted was really important to me, or if it was a snap-judgement whimsy brough on by seeing a shiny advert on TV or admiring something a friend had simply because I admired my friend and wanted to have the same things she did. We also learned about saving, saving just to have money in case something major came up, and saving up for things we wanted. My first thing that I saved up for was a bicycle, bought when I was 13. The bike I'm saving up for now will be my third bike in 14 years. What can I say--I ride hard. My point, however, is that fiscal responsibility starts at home. Parents need to show their kids how to handle money, how to save up, how to find a bargain, and how to determine if something is worth getting at all, and how to budget for it.

I think a BIG problem with children from affluent background is that many parents never discuss money with the kids, and the kids just come up thinking that it's no big deal to have nice things, that it's just something you have. Even middle-class families are often bad about not really discussing money stuff with kids, and children are often rather indulged. When I was growing up, my parents weren't afraid of saying, "no, we can't get that for you, it is too expensive" or telling us that some novelty we craved was a waste of money. For example, the American Girls Dolls came out back in the mid 1980s, and I was right in the range of their target audience, and I coveted the Samantha doll with all my childish heart. My mom looked at the catalogue and pointed out that the cost of her entire set (doll, books, clothes, trunk, play food, etc.) came up to the same amount as what Dad paid for the car he drove to work everyday, and that was in no way a reasonable amount to pay for a doll, especially when you are 9 years old and will have outgrown dolls in just a few short years anyway. A compromise was forged when my great-grandma presented me with the boxed set of Samantha books on my next birthday, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. Incidentally, the illustrations in those books helped me prepare a Samantha-esque wardrobe for one of the dolls I already owned.

But anyway, I think that all of us need to remain critical of all the new stuff coming down the pike daily. Decide what you consider really useful, beautiful, and durable, what fits your life, what you can afford, and how long it is going to be of value to you. For example, my winter coat was actually pretty cheap, about $50 seven years ago, but I constantly get compliments on it, and it's held up amazingly. I've totally got my money's worth out of that all ready, and it was a very cute coat which I would have paid more for if I had to because I really, really wanted it, and I did need a new coat anyway.

Another thing with kids, I'm thinking, is that it's well to teach them the practicalities of criticizing advertising and deciding how important their desires actually are, but I see a lot of value in limiting their exposure to advertising media, too. Less TV, or use channels that don't play ads (or pre-record the shows and edit out commercials). If your kids get magazines, discuss the ads in them with your kids and help them analyze the pitch and determine what, if any, truth is held in the ad.

I think one of the biggest things parents can do to help their kids not be greedy is to just plain say "no" sometimes, though. I see kids with WAY too much stuff, and they don't value their stuff. They think you just have 40 Barbies or a couple hundred Hot Wheels, and you cram 'em under the bed when your Mom tells you to clean up your room. They lose their Pokemon cards at school, drop their down coats on the muddy schoolyard, and believe in the power of pester. Buying kids junk all the time to shut them up only encourages them to be more pesty when they want something, and teaches them nothing about the value of money or how to care for and appreciate their belongings.

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28-05-2005
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AYLI, you are my heroine!

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28-05-2005
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i won't comment much about the problem posed becasue i think others have summed it up really well. one prinicple of buddhism is that desire leads to suffering. i think the advice of really paying attention to how you feel when you are in the process of compulsive shopping or any other out of control behavior is good adice to follow.

i started thinking about solutions though, and one thing that comes to mind is barter. i went to massage/chinese medicine school, and i bartered massage for a car once! i think the desire to have beautiful things (to walk in beauty) is natural, especially for those who are creative and artistic. why not exchange your handmade jewelry for someone else's vintage/designer dress, if you can agree on a fair exchange for both parties?

i am inspired by great design as much as anyone. i think making things myself as much as possible is a solution that works for me, in satisfying the desire to be surrounded by beauty and feeding my creativity in a positive feedback loop.

so many people here are so creative - maybe there are ways to support each other's creativity and our need for beautiful things in our lives?

meme

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28-05-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tott
AYLI, you are my heroine!
I just have to add a coment on "I think it may depend a lot on your personality and upbringing, the difficulty level of staying out of the "exceeding the Joneses" race."

I don't dress to catch up with, or impress, other people. Most people I work and socialise with couldn't differentiate between H&M and Prada or Yohji. It's something I do for my own amusement, like softie said...

I also have to say that you make an EXCELLENT point when you say that kids should be told about the realities of finance; if we don't have money, we can't shop. It should be as simple as that. Unfortunately, I was always given more money when I needed it while growing up, and it did help to create a false sense of security somehow... For the longest time, I had the feeling that money wasn't that important, there would always be some more coming my way... Of course there might be, but it's not guaranteed...

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28-05-2005
  67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tott
Totally, ultra! On a personal level, given the fact that I've moved from country to country for a while under uncertain terms, I've gotten rid of clothes and belongings I realized I didn't need or really wanted. I've become accustomed to not owning a lot of stuff, sort of, and it's actually a great relief! I've become so much more practical and focused.

I find buddhism fascinating, along with a lot of eastern philosophies. There's a Japanese concept of "nothingness" (I think it's called wa or something similar?) which is very appealing.

(not that I'm shooting for any more karma points from you :p ) when some guests of mine saw this book on my table, they looked at me like I was an alien

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28-05-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meme527
i won't comment much about the problem posed becasue i think others have summed it up really well. one prinicple of buddhism is that desire leads to suffering. i think the advice of really paying attention to how you feel when you are in the process of compulsive shopping or any other out of control behavior is good adice to follow.

i started thinking about solutions though, and one thing that comes to mind is barter. i went to massage/chinese medicine school, and i bartered massage for a car once! i think the desire to have beautiful things (to walk in beauty) is natural, especially for those who are creative and artistic. why not exchange your handmade jewelry for someone else's vintage/designer dress, if you can agree on a fair exchange for both parties?

i am inspired by great design as much as anyone. i think making things myself as much as possible is a solution that works for me, in satisfying the desire to be surrounded by beauty and feeding my creativity in a positive feedback loop.

so many people here are so creative - maybe there are ways to support each other's creativity and our need for beautiful things in our lives?

meme
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P.S. Do you know that there are scholarly books written on the subject of gift economy?!

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28-05-2005
  69
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well...
NOT buying kids stuff can backfire later as well...
my parents never 'gave' us anything...
we always had to earn it...
and if they simply didn't think it was important for us to have 'whatever it was'...
the answer was simply 'no'...

so i went out and got a job as soon as possible and i spent all my money on everything i wanted...
i am still buying stuff to make up for all the stuff my parents said no to...
even they now say that they are sorry they bought us so few toys...
and didn't indulge us a bit more...

i mean...they are 'kids'......
i don't advocate spoiling kids completely..
.but having had the opposite experience...
with parents who saved ALL their money...
i have to say...
it doesn't really do you much good in the bank...

the power of money is what you do with it...
and making a little kid happy is a pretty great thing to do...

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28-05-2005
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in the words of the immoral chili peppers
"give it away, give it away, give it away, now...."

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28-05-2005
  71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faust
when some guests of mine saw this book on my table, they looked at me like I was an alien
Yes, well... This is plainly weird, isn't it?


:p

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28-05-2005
  72
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I find shopping is an easy way out of my problems... i find when im feeling down... the thought of buying something from some other country makes me feel better... and when i need to get my mind off other things i think about fashion and collections... i even design my own collections in my head...

i may be materialistic but i know somewhere inside me there is a girl who isnt... i dont like being bought... i hate it when girls like guys to buy them everything...

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29-05-2005
  73
etre soi-meme
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by versace_goddess
I find shopping is an easy way out of my problems... i find when im feeling down... the thought of buying something from some other country makes me feel better... .
thats exactly the idea behind consumerism, escapism :p

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29-05-2005
  74
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shoexgal, thanks for introducing this topic. i agree there have been alot of good points made.

Quote:
We want and gravitate toward associations. There are lots of things that combat this: apathy, the notion of what's safe, plain laziness, etc. But assocations will find a way.
i feel fashion has an interesting dual nature: through the exterior you have the ability to see the interior. i think it's a clear, visual way of assimilation...showing a common connection between people, which is the foundation of society. fashion becomes a symbol of communication, it is functional...it allows you to quickly assess, but it is easy to fall into this automatic mindframe, and that is why fashion can be seen as shallow.

i think japanese street fashion is an example of associations. i remember yohji yamamoto said tokyo or japan is essentially a place without an identity. i think their embrace of the ephemeral, coupled w/ the aftermath of wwII and the integration of the west bringing w/ philosophies and ideas contradictory to their own has jarred them, leading them to constant redesiging of an identity manifested through experimentation, extreme consumption and powerful sub cultures (tribal units) as soft grey said, cult behavior.

Quote:
buddhism has helped me (and some other stuff) but every person shud find it's own calling and whatever it "fits" -to put it on fashionable terms-
i've become really interested in the principles of buddhism recently. it seems to be a saner way of viewing life! because it rejects perfection in favor of what we view as chaos, and the idea of trying to control and contain all aspects of our life, and the shattering of the concept of 'ego'

Quote:
I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I don't actually like fashion that much at all.
The whole marketing side of the culture makes me puke.
i agree, but i feel as if the things that compell you the most are the things you think are wrong. i dislike products, i hate to shop usually, but i find myself constantly trying to find of a solution to these things i am grossed out by.

Quote:
Another thing with kids, I'm thinking, is that it's well to teach them the practicalities of criticizing advertising and deciding how important their desires actually are
ah, so true! the first class that actually turned advertising and marketing inside out was in college! i find that very wrong! i really want to make a book for children that emphasizes critical thinking, skepticism, but not in a negative way..maybe different examples of 'truths' that turned out incorrect in history.
i also think it would create excitement in academics if people could view it in this unrigid 'it's true because i tell you it is' way.

Quote:
Buying kids junk all the time to shut them up only encourages them to be more pesty when they want something, and teaches them nothing about the value of money or how to care for and appreciate their belongings.
my niece is two, and i recently got her some gardening gloves and some sunflower seeds. i think by introducing nature to children, they will have a greater respect for all things. sunflowers are easily managable for someone her age, she will have learn to nuture it and take responsibility, also it introduces her to the natural order of life: grows, lives and dies, but shrunk down to a smaller time frame for her to grasp. i feel like you could teach the principles of how to view life in a flower.

Quote:
what's the answer?...
how to bring about social change....
that's a book i want to read...
design for the real world: human ecology and social change by victor papanek. it talks about consumer society, creating products that actually have value, --touching on why we have become so materialistic 'kleenex culture', and solutions on how to start thinking critically: identifying these inhibitors and
different methods to problem solve to overcome autonomy.

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Last edited by travolta; 29-05-2005 at 04:00 AM.
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29-05-2005
  75
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I honestly think that all of these issues of materialism, consumerism, and so forth are the same problems that have been discussed by level-headed, thoughtful individuals since the dawn of civilization. The particulars have changed, but the point is the same. When you read Plato, you see that Socrates and his buddies talked about the same thing. When you read the Japanese "Hagakure" (the "Way of the Samurai") you note the concerned, thoughtful Samurai lamenting how most of the samurai of their day were more interested in the patterns on their kimono, and who had a better pattern, than on being an actual "bushi" (warrior).

The reason that we've been going over the same ground for thousands of years, up to the present, is simply because it has ALWAYS been harder for an individual to come to terms with himself or herself than it is simply to accept what somebody else tells you or to occupy yourself with delightful "eye candy." It takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to plow through a lifetime of experience and get to the core of what really makes you happy. It takes all of five minutes to swallow what somebody else says or to distract yourself with something temporarily amusing.

All during that time, however, one lives in a social sphere that is filled with alternatives, amusements, and easy answers. Latching onto the next trend is simply the closest and easiest alternative to actually dealing with one's self. It has been since the beginning and it will be for a while yet. Maybe not forever... but for now anyway.

As such, I try not to let "it" all get to me, though it certainly is hard. There is no answer, really. The paradox of it all is that if you could open the eyes of all those materialistic social slaves to be more in touch with themselves, you'd really only be changing them to your view of being in touch. Then, they would only be a new type of social slave. Everybody has to do it on their own, and most people simply won't do it. You win some, you lose some.

Discussions of classlessness, identity, Democracy in America, and anything else are simply particulars. Nothing much is going to change on a social level so long as it remains difficult and elusive to come to terms with one's self. Though it seems like our society is the most materialistic, worse to come along in the history of mankind... it is all relative. It annoys us more only because we're living in it.

John

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