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29-05-2005
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I just would like to add that the moment I realized that we live in this totally consumeristic society is when I was washing my hair in the morning and mapping out my day and realized...ok I need to grab this from the store and then I need to go eat lunch at this cafe then after work pick up something from the mall. It's all I do...buy stuff...Then I turn on the radio and the Dj is talking about how after work what he is going to get, then go to the gym etc. I began thinking, do we live in such a shallow society? I feel like we are living to consume...its ruling us not vice versa..

When I go out with my boyfriend it always about what are we going to have for dinner at which restaurant and which bar, but most of the time its lets hit the mall..I need to buy...fill in the blank...our relationships with ourselves and each other have become totally submerged in consumption and endless materialism..sigh

PS Great job on this topic everyone..I really like your thoughts!

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29-05-2005
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We've been using material things to fill the voids in our lives for centuries. It's only gonna get worse.

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29-05-2005
  78
kit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lena
thats exactly the idea behind consumerism, escapism :p
' Consumerism is the opiate of the masses . '

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29-05-2005
  79
etre soi-meme
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoexgal
. It's all I do...buy stuff... I began thinking, do we live in such a shallow society? I feel like we are living to consume...its ruling us not vice versa..
it's rulling us only if we submit to it's 'charm'
don't forget, we always have a choice

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29-05-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kit
' Consumerism is the opiate of the masses . '
can i use this 'quote' kit? said it all

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29-05-2005
  81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lena
can i use this 'quote' kit? said it all
Absolutely , SO glad to be useful .

Incidentally , it's only in my latter days that I have been able to resist ANYTHING but temptation . My love for beautiful design in clothes representing that temptation .

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29-05-2005
  82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc
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
Or to put in the philosophical framework (since we've already touched upon Buddhism) one should look no further than Existantialism. Most people find it incredibly hard to deal with choices they must make in life and the existantial angst that comes before making a choice. They turn to consuming, an easy form of escapism. Easy is the key word, the members of the modern society wants everything easy and now. Anyway, it's the same old mantra, the majority enriching the minority.

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29-05-2005
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Yes, exactly. Existentialism helps to explain why it is so hard to come to terms with one's self. It is always an impossible task. One acts (makes a choice). Then, when one turns to reflect upon that act, one realizes that he is NO LONGER that act. It is in the past. It no longer exists. So, man always looks at his acts retrogressively.


This creates the angst. Luckily, for the angst-ridden fashionista, there are always social opinions and "trends" waiting to be embraced... enough to keep one busy for a lifetime. Enough juicy couture sweatpants and LV Multicolore handbags to fill closets upon closets. Very "easy"... as you said, Kit.

John

p.s. I'm glad you brought up existentialism... I was just waiting for somebody else to do so. I didn't want to bog us down in Sartre all by myself...

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29-05-2005
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AYLI, totally enjoyed your post. Lots of truths in it. The word 'no' is indeed very important in this discussion of how to fight the materialism. But as softgrey put it already, no is not always the answer. I think some balance should be made between the too and the parents consider the options very well in the question of saying yes or saying no. Always yes is wrong, but always no can lead to bad stuff too.

Oh, and though I think this mass-censureship of media by parents you put there AYLI will very much work, I don't think it is a doable prospect. It just sounds very impossible to ban all media out of kids' lives. Unless politics lead to a mass-censureship, it is an unreal proposal. But frankly, I think you already figured that out yourself before reading my post

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29-05-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr-Dale
Oh, and though I think this mass-censureship of media by parents you put there AYLI will very much work, I don't think it is a doable prospect. It just sounds very impossible to ban all media out of kids' lives. Unless politics lead to a mass-censureship, it is an unreal proposal. But frankly, I think you already figured that out yourself before reading my post
I don't believe in censorship at all. I'm definitely in favor of limiting kids' exposure to advertising, and using what advertising they must encounter as a teaching experience, an opportunity to dissect the pitch and determine why the advert is so much malarkey. In fact, I think that shutting all media influences out of a child's life is very short-sighted, because they will have no coping mechanism against the slick media tricks when they get older. It's just like putting kids in sports so they can get used to success and failure (winning/losing). If they learn about the manipulative aspects of advertising while they are little, they'll be better able to make positive consumer decisions throughout their lives.

But I'm also in favor of limiting kids' TV time in order that 1. they can get more exercise, 2. so they don't see so many ads, 3. so they don't watch a lot of inappropriate crap. There's so much to life that I think a life determined by the TV schedule is definitely lacking in many of the better things. Also, I think that especially with younger kids, but with older ones, too, to a certain extent, the parents should watch the kids' shows with them, to determine what the kids are getting out of it, what kinds of advertisements sponsor the show, etc. That's one of the reasons I would never allow a child to have his or her own TV in his or her bedroom. Too many chances to watch scary movies and give themselves nightmares, too much glazing blankly at a screen.

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29-05-2005
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you're all a very 'clever' bunch, aren't you?!......

i just like reading such thoughtful stuff...
thanks to everyone responding to this topic...
i am thoroughly enjoying the action...


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29-05-2005
  87
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Quote:
Our luxuries and goods are only succeeding in bringing us farther and farther apart from each other because we can only see ourselves as individuals. Instead of bringing each other together, we are driving each other away.


I can't seem to get a clear opinion on this one... In a way luxuries are bringing us farther apart because we develop a certain "style" and see ourselves as independent individuals, and become accustomed to the ways we ourselves do things. But on the other hand, we need to see ourselves as independent people; because nobody ever wants to be the same as anyone else. And through seeing ourselves only as individuals, it may give us a desire to learn about others, therefore bringing us closer together...

AHH I don't know what to think!!


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29-05-2005
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I think our whole society is confusing... We have cultures and sub-cultures. I think the point is that we alienate ourselves from others when we try to be better and smarter and more hip and project a "better" image than everyone else in order to be "individuals". It gets like a power struggle, seeing who can be more hip and individual. Mainstream or underground designers, it's all the same in a way. We don't connect because we're competing.

People move from city to city, or country to country, and the sense of belonging somewhere is somehow not here anymore. It doesn't matter if you move or not, the mood is there. We're global travellers. Social mobility is also higher than ever, going up or going down. We're in limbo. sort of.

I'm not a philosopher, so I might've misinterpreted the original quote. :p


Last edited by tott; 29-05-2005 at 06:54 PM.
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29-05-2005
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^this is so what I talk about all the time.

The effects of globalization. How people are no longer forced to stay in one place. The era of cheap plane tickets has taken hold. Not that traveling is a bad thing, I do believe that education in diverse cultures is so important. But this restless tourism industry brings so many different venues of people in and out of different cultures that they disrupt and in most cases destroy the native cultures. Thus this leaves each culture with an underlying loss that they feel they must "fix". Or the culture is subconsciously taught they are less (less intelligent, less worth, less power) than the incoming cultures so the culture of the place being invaded by tourists who are coming to see the sites are left with a feeling of incompletedness. This incomletedness is attempted to be made normal again by purchasing of goods from invading cultures to make their environment more hospitable for the influx of tourists who will spend more money on places that are more comfortable to a modern person. They will also quickly attempt to understand the culture of the tourists by purchasing goods from those countries. This is why 3rd world countries are becoming difficult to find. (not in terms of monetary wealth mind you, but in terms of non-westernized culture).

For example. In Samoa, in the early 1900s when American Samoa was taken over for military uses, this started a slow, but ever escalating westernization of the island. By the 1970's this formerly "uncivilized" society was watching Kung Fo Movies, idolizing Bruce Lee, speaking english, purchasing Coca-cola and combining their multi-deity religion with Christianity. This little island was given purchasing power. Today, free from US rule, it still buys, sells and trades in the global marketplace.

Also, the interlocking Internet has transformed the world into a global village, being able to converse with someone on the complete other side of the globe as easily as talking to your next door neighbor has changed global marketing strategies so much. Most international conglomerates can use this need to fulfill aspect of people's brains (each person is fulfilling a different hole I am sure, whether it is a cultural negative, a need to impress their neighbors, follow the Cribs crowd, outdo their parents... ect.) to make their products seems new and improved, even though they are basically the same. Example: New Coca-cola Lime. Essentially just Coca-cola with people's most common additive already in the bottle. seriously its the same product as the Coca-cola with Lemon that came out 2 years ago, which in trush was the exact same thing as Pepsi Twist (commercial by Halle Berry, anyone remember it?)

If we all were just completely happy with what we have, only buying what we need when we need it, rather than succumbing to marketing stratgies, consumerism will not have won,... but somehow I do not see this happening.

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30-05-2005
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It's all rather boring, isn't it?

I discovered long ago that worrying about what other people eat, drink, buy, etc. is a seemingly unavoidable insecurity built into globalism and any/all of the terms used to describe time ticking ('cultural evolution', 'society going to hell in a handbasket'). The NY Times is doing an awfully interesting series on class in America, examining the many ways in which it's important and present (health care) and in which it's fluid and flimsy (fashion/luxury advertising). Check it out, it would certainly add more fuel to this fire.

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