Industrialisation has changed the world in many ways. It has increased employment created stacks upon stacks of factories. Created more wealth than ever and most importantly, it has created the most accomplished consumers in the history of humanity.
Shopping is the favourite pastime of modern society. Products are created to satisfy our immediate temporary needs and we are made to be in a perpetual state of consumption. Consumer goods have become an essential mediator of relationships between family members, spouses, lovers and friends. Celebrating victory to getting over a breakup has essentially been rebranded such that you consume more.
The beauty of the whole thing is that we are easily deluded and believe it and gradually it becomes a tradition and standard. Festivals have essentially become massive shopping spree. They aren’t a celebration anymore. Festival is when you ‘Buy’ new dresses and ‘Buy’ gifts. Even people who preach being a self-sufficient self-thinking being, condescend and follow the crowd, without hesitation.
It is impossible to be complacent with the things that we already have. Bought a new 55-inch Sony TV? Your friend’s new OLED one looks gorgeous. LG just came up with a rollable tv that portrays your minimalist self. Not enough? Samsung’s got a new modular TV that can be changed based on your needs.
Nowadays everybody is a travel-o-phile. Ask them the most basic question, “Why?” you’ll get some brilliant answer about adventure and experiencing new places. The whole of the Tourism industry is built on top of this fickle facade of experiences. It is not really about visiting new places, But just a self-confirmation that this is the right thing to do by looking at our peers. Nobody who goes to the Taj Mahal really feels the love. It’s just a self-imagination what we hear from others. We see what we expect to see. Nobody comes out wiser after visiting the Bodh Gaya. But, we are made to believe so. Some say it’s not about becoming wiser it’s about feeling. Quiz them a little more and they become hopelessly lost.
Every literature, movie and advertisement espouses these ideas of self-fulfillment, experiences and enjoyment which inadvertently leads you to consumption. How could you say you don’t wanna visit the pyramids of Gizah after seeing all those photos? How could you say no to the lush forests of Galapagos? If you say you don’t find them compelling you probably are a cold-hearted moron
In the modern era, You are a consumer before you are human. We buy things we don’t really need, to satisfy needs we don’t really want. The manipulations starts the moment you were born, consumerism starts from the little kid who expects a gift for Christmas. We don’t have a choice.