Consumerism: Genetics vs. the Modern World

You don't deserve shit. You haven't earned shit. And in a world without credit, debt, and loans, you wouldn't have shit. However, we happen to find ourselves manifested within a time and space where those things exist. So, naturally, everybody is swimming (or drowning?) in endless debt from the countless things they don't deserve and didn't earn.

You drive a $30,000 car you didn't earn, live in a $200,000 house you didn't earn, have a $100,000 education you undoubtedly studied hard for but that won't be paid for any time soon. Hell, you probably even leased your $1,000 phone. Now you're on the hook for $331, interest, baby! Then you complain about being stuck in the rat race. You blame the corporations and the banks. Nobody put you in the rat race. You did that to yourself. But it's because nobody was there to tell you not to. As a matter of fact, most of your peers were doing the same thing and it seemed like the mature and responsible thing to do. So now you're a slave to a bunch of things you didn't earn and that could be stripped from you at any moment if you should decide to step off your hamster wheel.

You wanted this. This is what you always dreamed of. Nobody forced your hand. You signed those papers, and you did so with glee. You'd better make your payments on time. You'd better find a reliable job. To complain would be completely irrational, because this is exactly what you signed up for. But inevitably, you do complain. You rationalize. You justify. "I work hard, I deserve a break!" Whoa, whoa, whoa... Deserve? You deserve nothing, yet you have an abundance of things. What you deserve is to serve your masters and pay off your debts as scheduled. This was, after all, a voluntary arrangement.

What do you do though? Every Friday night you go out to a nice dinner. "We earned it...just put it on the credit card." Twice a year you take a week off work so you can go relax in some exotic location. "Put it on the credit card, we deserve this!" That's right, you have earned it. You do deserve it. You've achieved every bit of this life you lead. Let those hooks sink in, deeper and deeper. That's the American way. That's consumerism.

Consumerism is defined as the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods. Taking that into consideration, one must look no further than the extreme ends of the spectrum - hoarders, extremely obese people, and people with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt - to see that there is something in our genetics that just does not jive with the modern world. We weren't designed for 24-hour department stores & drive-thrus, online shopping, and a highly sophisticated $200 billion advertising industry. We buy, we eat, we hoard, we consume, because it's in our nature. Not just our nature, but nature. Period. To live is to consume.

Consumerism is a sort of microcosm for biology as a whole. We believe we are conscious. We tell ourselves we are conscious. We tell each other we are conscious. And maybe, on the individual level, we are. But as a whole, as a group, as one big super-organism, I think we are as unconscious as unconscious can be. We're just biological life doing what biological life does - moving forward, spreading out, expanding our reach. There is nothing conscious about that. Make no mistake, I am not taking a moral stance here; it simply is what it is. Frankly, I don't think there's anything we can even do about it. The species will continue to spread, in every way it can, and by any means necessary, until it no longer can. Just like all other species.

Mass consumerism makes way for mass industry and mass innovation, which makes way for mass population growth, which makes way for mass consumerism. Thus, a perfect cycle that allows the species to exponentially grow in numbers. It doesn't matter if it's sustainable or even if we as individuals can blatantly see the unsustainability. We won't stop it. We can't. Because we as a super-organism want one thing. The same thing all life wants. Proliferation. We just happen to be really good at it.

The way doomsayers characterize human impact on the planet is the exact same way virus and disease wreaks havoc on the individual human body. If the virus flourishes, the human suffers. If the humans flourish, the planet suffers. If the human shakes the virus, the human bounces back. So, naturally, I would assume that once the planet shakes the humans, the planet will bounce back. So, taking that into consideration, imagine being the one individual virus cell looking around at all the other virus cells, going "guys, guys, we gotta stop! We're killing the human! This won't end well for us!"

What a tool!

jake chrismanComment