Materialism and Happiness

Tis the Season to Consume, to Waste and Spoil.
Unless you should choose to do otherwise,
for the well being of the world and for you and yours.

Consumerism: The continuing desire to acquire more and better goods and services. The belief that an accumulation and consumption of more than is needed demonstrates success and achieves happiness.

Procuring material excesses in order to live the good life is a fallacy of our times.

Materialism and Happiness; it is not necessarily a choice of basic or too much and many people in this world would be happier with more money - to buy basic necessities - the poor. For the rest of us it is a balancing act where, after a certain point, the effort to earn more money and have more possessions begins to take from our peace and happiness.

Increasingly in our consumer world the excessive efforts required to accumulate more riches brings on all kinds of problems including anxieties and poor health. It usually requires special efforts including theft of life's precious hours and days.

Too often extraordinary dedication and energy are used to accumulate grand possessions, and more often than we read about, crime is the means to ‘succeed’. Some extremely rich and powerful business people have ended up behind bars, and they are only a fraction of those who belong there. The final results of getting to the top can be empty, disappointing or disastrous.

Those that succeed in attaining riches are not necessarily any happier at all, particularly if they have stressed all along the way, or are still yearning for more. This is often the case and the news frequently contains incidents of family failures, addictions and other sad experiences of popular people. How many entertainment and sports heroes and other rich and famous idols have fallen into pits of anguish? Living with tensions and so far removed from the basic natural pleasures that life has to offer.

At the other extreme you may have noted on TV, scenes of people in poorer nations, particularly children, happily enjoying themselves in very impoverished surroundings. Those that have at least the basics; food, clothing and shelter. That should send an important message.

Protect yourself against affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. - Wikipedia

Average citizens have been programmed, to some degree, to the consumer lifestyle. They are encouraged daily to feel better and more important with bigger, better, newer stuff. However this self-indulgence can be artificial and short term as each new possession fades away. Meanwhile days get busier and feelings edgier if falling behind the trends, even when accumulating considerable new things.

Consumed with the idea of always wanting more puts one in a state of continual frustration, forever in need, artificially. For many keeping up with peers can be a life long struggle, depending on finances and how the continuous marketing hype affects them. To add to the negative effects, so much of what was shrewdly marketed with slick ads does not meet basic expectations after purchase, or is junk.

Materialism places a burden on families as quality time together lessens or disappears.

Everywhere in countries that have prospered, excesses prevail even while there exists a lack of basic requirements for so many of their people. Even while so much of the world's people live in abject poverty. It is so imbalanced; a world of abundance and wastage, and a world of misery and hopelessness.

Where excesses are widespread they can be magnificent. Houses have grown immensely over the years using up more land and natural resources to build them, fuel to keep them cozy and furniture to fill them. Consumers want more impressive homes and although there may be much more space in which to roam, spacious rooms do not necessarily translate to cozy comfort. And there is the extra cost that can be a hindrance to other more enjoyable and healthier experiences.

The auto industry has made many fortunes selling us more than we need but may be reaching the tipping point. They are just too costly for mother earth and her inhabitants.

The merchandising of styles and the branding of consumers, children in particular, has worked enormously well for industry. It is not working well for families and society in general. Styles promote a competitive environment while friendship grows healthier in a noncompetitive environment.

Many, if not most, are on a consumer treadmill and would like to slow it down or get right off, but there is always that pressure applied to keep going. What is most upsetting is that this pressure has been directed at kids, conscripting them to a life dedicated to 'needing' and consuming.

It is the corporate agenda, massively funded and very powerful.

Simple peaceful living with smaller, lesser, basic.
There are obvious advantages to toning down our consumption which may not be obvious to those addicted to the persuasion box and other marketing media's assembly line output of temptations.

A generally calmer and happier existence should be a direct result of a simpler lifestyle, working less anxiously with generous amounts of free time for hobbies, play and family at home. Turning off the TV and heading outdoors could be the first and easiest way to get started on a positive improvement routine.

En masse as a social trend, simple living would result in much needed easing to the destruction of our lands, seas and animals.

Remember that this widespread consuming mania is designed by corporations for corporations so do yourself a favor and live easier and happier - get off the treadmill.

"A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built on sand." - Dorothy L. Sayers

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