We live in a society of consumption.
No big news, obviously, but well worth thinking about.
Here a couple of random thoughts or encounters I made recently, in no particular order.
“Trop” (“Too Much“) Jean-Louis Fourmier.
A French book that declines all the things that are too much in our lives. 40 brands of biscuits at the supermarkets, 500 channels on TV, 1350 radio stations, etc.
The author has so much choice, he can’t choose anymore.
The Paradox of Choice
“Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.”
With so many choices, it has become difficult to choose at all.
But even if we overcome the paralysis and are able to choose something, the risk of regret is so much higher, as no decision is perfect, and you are brought to wonder if your decision was the right one.
With so many choices, expectations get higher, so disappointment and dissatisfaction is inevitable. Because you are responsible for your failed decisions. When you have no options, the world is responsible for the failure.
That self-blame can lead to depression.
This of course is the problem of modern “rich” societies, as many countries have actually not enough choices.
If we could move the excess choice too countries with no choice, you’d have a win-win situation.
“We are paying with our lives”
Vol.1 of “human” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
It is a wonderful film to watch, and many things make you laugh or cry.
It is about love, relationships, men, women, but also poverty, hardship and struggles.
One interview struck me in particular, probably because it is something I’d like to work on next.
It starts at 1:15:05, I copied the text below :
“We invented a mountain of superfluous needs.
You have to keep buying, throwing away…
It’s our lives we are squandering.
When I buy something,
or when you buy it,
we’re not paying with money.
We’re paying with the time from our lives we had to spend to earn that money.
The only difference is that you can’t buy life.
Life just goes by.”
I find that very accurate.
Keep on buying, it’ll make you happy
Last Sunday we went to the cinema, to see Star Wars (which was pretty decent by the way) and we were first harassed by advertisements, that kept telling us how happy buying would be. It was quite laughable and completely annoying, to say the least.
At there were also the countless Star Wars adds. Everywhere. On water bottles, on grapes, at the postal office, etc.
We have too much stuff. That is nothing really new.
The web is full of articles on how to declutter your home and how to get your space back and what not.
But what those articles often fail to address is to not clutter your home in the first place.
Not to buy because it’s cheap or there.
And start thinking of the thing’s value, how, where and in what conditions they were done.
I don’t believe that it’s bad to buy altogether.
For one, because it the source of income for many people out there. One thing that is key is to check that those people are paid fair. (hence why we have checking groups like fair trade – it is silly that they exists, as all trade should be fair, but that’s another topic)
The balance is key here, there’s a line between needing and wanting.
Maybe the answer is rather stop shopping for things that you don’t need. And think twice about the items you want and why you want them.
Let me know below if you have other articles or books to share about that question.