Posts tagged ‘Consumerism’
Trained to Desire
May 1, 2014
“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
– Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
When I was in college I used to volunteer for psychology experiments to earn extra credits for my classes. Each time, I would try to figure out what the researcher was doing to modify my behavior. But even though I knew I was being manipulated, I rarely guessed the true nature of these exercises.
Our society is like a psychology experiment and we don’t realize how much we’re being controlled to think and act in a way that benefits corporations. We feel that we’re just living our lives and exercising our free will. But we buy things not just based on our needs, but on wants and desires created by big business—transforming us from citizens into consumers.
The Century of the Self is a fascinating documentary about crowd psychology and manipulation. It talks about how modern public relations/propaganda started with Edward Bernays (the nephew of Sigmund Freud) and how it has been used by governments and business to control the masses.
Please take some time to watch the video. It helps you understand the rules of the game we’re in and how to become a more enlightened player.
Governments The big, wealthy business interests don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests.” – George Carlin
July 8, 2012
“Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume…”
– Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
I have too much stuff. So I’ve been getting rid of a lot of my possessions: old clothes, shoes, TV sets, books, CDs, dishes, paper files, sports equipment, and generic junk. It clutters up my life and weighs me down. It liberates me to donate, sell, giveaway or throw out these things. I feel better without them.
This is just one step toward my goal to live more simply. Getting rid of material things lets me focus on what’s important in my life—and it’s not “things”.
Here’s George Carlin’s classic standup routine about “Stuff”. It’s a funny observation about how the stuff we own—really owns us.
“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” – George Carlin