An unconscious consumer
These are strange times. By the time you start enjoying your possessing the coolest, newest and best thing that can be bought by paying money – be it a phone, a pair of shoes, a car, a refrigerator, an oven, or a washing machine – you get to know that a new something or a newer version of your already ‘old’ possession has just come out. And you will never be happy unless you buy it. If you have those additional rupees to spend, you do not mind buying that new something. This phenomenon underlies consumerism.
I recently read about this new wave called ‘lowsumerism’. A group of supposedly conscious people are advocating buying only what we really need and being conscious of the impact of our purchases on the planet. I thought over this concept and became convinced that before beginning to stop over-consuming and starting campaigns around the same, we should first ask ourselves why we are over-consuming in the first place. (Also, if there’s enough space in the mind, do think about the impact of our overconsumption on those who do not have the means but live with equal desires).
To understand why we are so prone to consuming so much – unlike any other living being – we have to first understand human nature and the course of its development. I Googled a bit on the subject and found answers to some of my queries in our DNA, which contains both negative and positive elements. Inhaling and exhaling allows for breathing, the heart's pumping in and pushing out of blood allows for circulation, male and female complementing one another allowing the continuation of our species. These correlations of negative and positive are as essential as playing and resting patterns for children to grow up healthy.
Various researches I read, in one way or another, conclude that humans have been able to maintain a balance between the negative and positive elements in all aspects except for ‘desires’. In most cases, the negative element takes over and your desire becomes more important than the planet, the society, and ultimately even you. Interestingly, you can yourself see the negative elements of your desires by making an effort to measure the increasing levels of self-centeredness, alienation, and indifference in exploiting others for your personal gains.
Moreover, your natural human instinct to stop when you have had enough is overtaken by your need to outdo others – be stronger, wealthier, richer, smarter, and so on – in traits attached to your ego. Hence, most of you are permanently out of balance, in constant unconscious anxiety, to the point that you confuse relief (from anxiety) with happiness received from buying something new. This cyclic consumption keeps you selfcentered and unconsciously ‘disconnected’ to your race, nature and even yourself. Unfortunately, the ones who do not have enough wealth to buy happiness express their broken connection in violent and aggressive manners. These manners are visible in road rage, mob violence and hate crimes. Religion-based terrorism is no different.
So, what are ‘conscious’ consumers supposed to do? It is not easy, but certainly doable. Instead of imposing lowsumerism on yourself, you can simply learn to use your desires for the common good. Considering that you as a human being aspire to be unique, let your uniqueness enrich communities and societies. In a society where everyone is looking at material abundance, try contributing by being emotionally satisfied, by being able to express yourself creatively, and by showcasing the strength and vigour that is needed to become a ‘giving’ person.