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We, consumers

User Thread
 36yrs • M •
erto is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
We, consumers
I wonder what options do we have. We are raised as consumers, therefore, we consume. And we consume a lot. Consumer behavior is so fundamental to the way we live, we actually can't see ourselves as not being consumers. Everything is a product and everywhere is a market. Therefore, our opinions are hardly our own. If we choose to be healthier, its mainly because a market for healthy products was created.

How do you guys deal with it? Does it bother you? Are there any ways out?

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""He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." Saint Francis of Assisi"
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Ziltoid is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"Therefore, our opinions are hardly our own."

Perhaps you can have an opinion without owning it or possessing it.
If you have an opinion but it doesn't belong to you, then how can you identify with it?
Its a miracle that we do identify ourselves as our opinions!
Drop the ownership of thoughts, just use them as they come.

If what you use is what you need then everything is useful.
If what you own is what you accumulate then everything is used but not needed.
Everyone wants to be needed, but no one wants to be used.
Be a host to and use and enjoy whatever/whoever come's and go's your way but drop the ownership.

By being free from your own opinion you are automatically free from the opinion(s) of others.



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 31yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Erto,

At the moment I am inclined to believe that mass consumerism is ultimately the product of any society which strives for power (over the elements, over other societies).

I think we have reached a point where consumerism is not only beneficial to society as a whole but is also harmful to the individual, both emotionally and physically. It's not that consumerism itself is a bad thing, but more that we do not really seem to know how to manage all of the negative effects it can have upon us. We aren't completely clueless about trying to manage some of the effects (environmental issues, obesity) but I do think it will all be slow to change.

One thing that kind of bothers me is the kind of people that society is raising its children to be. Sometimes I wonder if we are raising children who know the cause and effect of their consumerist actions and take measures to limit the effect they have on themselves and the environment, or if we will raise more ignorant or willfully ignorant folk such as all of the generations leading up until now. Only time shall tell really, but I am optimistic that mankind can change its ways for the better.

Of course I think if you despise consumerism then the only foreseeable way out for an individual is to sell all of your goods, donate your money to charity and start making/gathering all of your necessities from scratch. Sort of like the movie "into the wild". Or if you don't want to be that drastic, you could always join one of those self sustaining villiages where they sort of do all of those things, only they do it together.

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 36yrs • M •
erto is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Ziltoid,
you made a really good point. Thanks for another perspective on things. Still, i actually may have misused the concept of ownership. What I meant is an opinion that's isn't quite an opinion, but something you've been conditioned to believe, rather than reaching that conclusion yourself or agreeing with someone else. I guess what I mean is that we are over manipulated and think too little to actually have any meaningful opinions about anything. But still, yours is a very good point.

Vigil,
You got it. Those ARE the alternatives I've figured out. Yet, one has to step out of society to live like them. I'm looking for something collective (as those villages) but also something that is more an option than an escape. That people could see themselves doing, rather than think about doing if they were hippies.
Now, when you say that consumerism is good for society as a whole, i must disagree. First off, what is a society as a whole? Who participates in that whole and who is out? Consumerism is good for those who are not suffering from it. We're them. We call ourselves "society as a whole". But the world is a lot bigger than people who watch CNN. We, the rich billion, consume more than 80% of everything and leave the rest for the other 5 billion people. That's consumerism. And the only chance the other 5 billion have to live a nice life is waiting until they're turned into a profitable market. Until then, everything they produce will be underpaid and will travel to us for our consumption "needs", while they starve to death.

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""He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." Saint Francis of Assisi"
 31yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Erto,

You're right, when I say "society as a whole" I really only just mean the western worlds.

Even though I think you are correct in saying that our consumerism exploits poorer countries, I would not say that consumerism itself is the actual culprit. I'd say It's the poor ethics and greed of giant corporations that, in my eyes, have the blood on their hands. As well as the ignorant consumer.

I think as we come further into the future, we will find that using third world countries as cheap markets to harvest products for our own consumption will become much more rare and almost, if not entirely, non existant. There is much more awareness of how the western world abuses third world countries these days, and when people know where their products are made, I have faith that they will act ethically against supporting exploitation of other countries. Personally, I notice that it's almost like some fashionable trend to care about such things these days and I only feel that this will increase in the future until we have masses of educated consumers who use their ethics while purchasing.

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 36yrs • M •
erto is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Right. But when these countries are no longer exploited, it's because they've already become markets. So it's just a one way ride and there's no real choice, right? Any country can only choose between being exploited or becoming a market and support consumerism.
But i believe it's not only the big companies, it's everyone. It's not even people, it's profit itself. To profit is the act of taking more than giving. It's conceptually predatory. But i see no practical alternative...

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""He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." Saint Francis of Assisi"
 31yrs • F
A CTL of 1 means that vigil is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
In my opinion, whatever choice there is for a society to exist without some form of consumerism, it would indeed be an unrealistic change to expect people to make. The only other alternative that I can see would be taking up a nomadic lifestyle, for that is the way humans existed before we formed ourselves into societies.

Of course, the nomadic life is still a tough life and maybe that is why most of humanity decided to group together in the first place - it is simply easier to exist this way. It allows us to stop focusing so much on survival, it helps us to improve our health and explore our imaginations through different mediums. We live much longer than our ancestors, according to archeaological evidence. These are all things that are possible with mass production and consumerism, they allow us to stay in one spot and branch out into other areas of expertise.

I do not see the dilemma you percieve about third world countries supporting consumerism. If third world countries were able to build up their own markets, they would be able to sustain national and international trade in different areas of expertise. Demand for their goods stimulates jobs and this gives their people a profit. They use their profit to buy their wants and needs, so this stimulates the flow of profit amongst people in that society. If all of this happens with a very minimal amount or (in a perfect world) without any form of exploitation, what is the problem that you percieve of this?

You say "It's not even people, it's profit itself" but this makes absolutley no sense to me. Profit is not a creature that exists of its own accord, it is people who choose the ways in which they profit and how they go about it. Just as there is a good and bad side to mostly eveything, profit can be made fairly as well as in a predatorial way.

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 36yrs • M •
erto is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Well. You could be right. But I feel that profit (not the creature, but the concept) will make it impossible for us to reach balance. This may be a misconception, nut profit is, literally, taking more than giving. Balance would be absolutely unprofitable, but also with no costs. This is, plain and simple, sustainability.
If every single person in the world profits, where is it coming from? If profit is not coming from underpaid workforce or overpriced products (or, more usually, both), it will come from natural resources that are not being returned. That's how I see the whole thing. I believe all poverty and polution is the exact end product of profit itself.

BUT, if all the profit you attain goes back into the market, sustainability could be achieved. It just won't because the central bank, or whoever provides society with money, have to profit themselves, and that means that 1 dollar must represent 1 dollar + something, or actually be less than a dollar. Hence, eventual crises.

I'm not saying that profit will kill us all, or that it must be terminated... but these issues have to be thought of, there must be a way to improve things, right? Meaningfully, that is. And globally.

For instance, we provide food based on capacity to pay, not need. That just doesn't sound right. This paradigm simply defines that if you are not participating in this global market, you can be as well considered dead. It's really hegemonic, don't you think?

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""He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." Saint Francis of Assisi"
We, consumers
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