torsdag 27 augusti 2015

The things you own end up owning you

Tjohej, jag har en ny dator!! Äntligen!! Ingen mer proppfull dator med blå skärm och konstiga färger som bestämmer sig för att bli helt svart ibland. Känns så skönt när den är ny och tom liksom, inte fylld med hundratals gigabytes av bilder och skräp. Något photoshop har jag dock inte än. I samma veva kopplade jag in min externa hårddisk där jag sparat det jag vill behålla från min gamla dator och kom över några gamla skoltexter jag skrivit i gymnasiet. Alltså oj vad jag saknar att skriva? Jag är en sån där konstig person som blir riktigt glad när man får till uppgift att skriva en uppsats - ifall ämnet är intressant så att säga. I alla fall, en av texterna jag skrivit för några år sen tycker jag ligger så i tiden nu plus att jag är rätt nöjd med hur jag formulerat mig samt mina tankar, att jag bestämde mig för att posta den här! Jag har alltså skrivit om dagens konsumeringstokiga samhälle, samt blandat in lite quotes från en av mina absoluta favoritfilmer "Fight Club". Nu är den dock på engelska och alldeles för lång för att jag ska orka översätta, så jag ber om ursäkt om någon har svårt att förstå. Tyckte i alla fall den var rätt tankeväckande i vissa avseenden, vad tycker ni? Hittade dessutom snygga gif:s som passade. Texten passar bra nu när jag precis spenderat hundratals euron på en ny dator, lol.

"Consumerism - a phenomenon that affects western world society every single day, but it's still very rarely we pause to reflect over how big an impact it actually has on our daily lives. We see traces of it in many of our daily chores; when shopping in the grocery store, reading the newspaper, watching the TV or listening to other people's conversations - just to name some. It is practically shoved up our faces, whether we want it or not.



"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." A clever quote by one of the main characters in the 1999 movie "Fight Club" - Tyler Burden (Brad Pitt). Directed by David Fincher and based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, it's a masterpiece in its genre of psychological thrillers. But it also has a great deal to say about the materialistic thoughts that are unconsciously forced on us, and how we are naively fooled into thinking that there are certain things we just can't live happy without. Are we really that dependent on consuming material things, that owning a lot of stuff brings us real happiness, or is that just something that media and advertising has us believing?
Let's imagine; you have a highly regarded job (with a great salary of course), you wear expensive designer-clothes that make you look both classy and wealthy, you are good-looking, slim and own a big, modern house in a wellrenowned area. You own a lot of stuff, you can afford to buy pretty much everything you want or go anywhere you like. You have family and friends who love and respect you. Does this automatically mean that you are happy? You meet all the criteria for being a happy human being, in other people's eyes; wealthy, loved, respected, prestigious and good-looking. What more could a person ask for? You are basically the stereotype of a happy person. Yet, we can generally speaking tell that this isn't always the case. Of course, we human-beings have our fundamental needs; love, earning a living, food, somewhere to live and sleep etc. But the question is, which of our so-called "needs" are actually necessary? The things we take for granted, the things we think we can't live without - what would happen if they were taken away from us? Gadgets  like mobile-phones, televisions, computers, cars and so on. With some adjustments, we would probably be able to live our lives quite easily without them. Some material things make our lives a lot easier, but they are not fundamental needs and they are certainly not sources of happiness. If they were, how is it possible that people who don't own a lot of things still can be satisfied with their lives?



"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet." Another simple yet thought-provoking quote by Tyler Burden. The things we own do not define us as persons in any way. They might give others a hint about what social class we belong to (rich or poor, farmer or businessman), but they do not distinguish our human value, our intelligence or level of happiness. They might also serve as status symbols in front of other people, but is impressing other people the purpose of owning a lot of things? Is earning other people's envy or admiration really something that makes us happier? In that case, our idea of happiness is clearly built on the wrong foundations. As cliché as it may sound, happiness really comes from the inside of us. We can possess large amounts of material things, but still crave more. If we learn to accept ourselves without the need to be confirmed by other people, we might as well end up with actually feeling more satisfied with ourselves and our lives.
With all this talk about happiness, we can ask ourselves the question: What is happiness really? I've began to wonder if it really is some kind of "state" that we can actually achieve, or if it's just a temporary feeling of satisfaction - or even an idealized, unattainable reality that we've come up with just to have something to strive for. After all, we humans are meant to aspire to something. But if true happiness really exists, how do we define it? Happiness can mean different things to different people depending on their life situation, culture, personal values or religion. So who has the mandate to determine what happiness really is?
Mass media and advertising seems to have taken that mandate. They seem to know exactly what a happy, life-enjoying person should be like. Everyday, we are told how we're supposed to live, and what things we should own in order to be satisfied and happy. If we assume that happiness can mean a lot of different things to different people, this is actually quite ridiculous. But still, we are so incredibly easily persuaded. In fact, that's why advertising exists, because it manages to trick us into buying things we do not really need. The whole consumerism in itself is built on our tendency to be easily persuaded. We might say that we're not fooled by advertisement, but still we walk around with brand-new phones, our kitchen cabinets are filled with unnecessary kitchen-ware we promised ourselves we would use and exercise machines that nobody use stand in the corner collecting dust. We are fooled by advertisement, some more than others, and it's unnecessary to claim anything else. So the question is, are we victims of the consumerism or are we really the ones feeding it?



Finally, we can state that sometimes "the things you own end up owning you" (also a quote from "Fight Club"). Much wants more. Sometimes we get so busy trying to satisfy our material needs that we forget to think about what really is important. Maybe getting that new superfast, and super expensive, computer isn't that essential after all. There are a lot of great things out on the market, that in many cases make our lives a little easier and offer a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but we should not forget that not all of them are necessary and in the long run - they will not make us any happier."

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