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CONSUMERISM: The Shared Psychosis of a “Surplus” Society

29 April 2011 No Comment

african american woman with shopping bags

Yesterday I blogged about mind-manipulation in modern day advertising, so today I want to take that concept a little further by talking about “Consumer Culture” as a whole…

What I want to point here is that, not only do we live in a world that constantly tries to sell us “ish” we don’t need (and uses psychology tricks to do that), we also live in a world where consumerism has become an unconscious, shared THINKING PROCESS…it’s become so ingrained into our lives that it’s become the basis for how some of us form our identity.

I just started this new book called, “Identifying Consumption: Subjects & Objects in Consumer Society” and it’s pretty tight, so I’ll start by paraphrasing some of the ideas.

Some Concepts from the Book:

identifying consumption subjects and objects in consumer society by robert dunnConsumption has always been a part of every culture, but our present society has a unique, modern style of consumption with it’s own distinctions.

One of big distinction is that consumption has gone way beyond the level of needs AND wants: it’s now something we do for it’s own sake…it’s like buying and acquiring is a religious act, a way of life that most of us are ATTACHED to, an end it in itself and its own justification.

Consumerism has become like a hidden belief system, an unconscious mantra resting on the delusion that material possessions and commercial distractions have the power to bring us happiness and personal fulfillment.

Into the future, our entire experience of “the self” (and of everyone around us) may be reduced to commodities and synthetic events we can purchase, own and use, because of what those commodities symbolize about us.

In the Author’s Language

african american coupleAgain, in Robert Dunn’s (the author’s) language, “Consumer Culture” is a social-system, and “consumer-ISM” is a belief-system that seduces us into accepting this culture as normal or even ideal.

Part of that means we use merchandise (and entertainment-based experiences like movies, concerts, etc.) as a basis for IDENTITY and self-definition.

“At its extreme, consumerism reduces consumption to a therapeutic program of compensation for life’s ills, (and) even a road to personal salvation…” ~ Robert Dunn

What’s worse is that this is all becoming GLOBALIZED. Spreading first from the U.S. to Europe, you can now find evidence of this throughout much of the world, especially anywhere experiencing serious economic growth (particularly south and east Asia). “Globalization” is really westernization, and that includes a shift towards a worldwide consumerist agenda

I’ll post more as I finish up the book and ideas come…


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