Happiness – On Sale 24×7

We equate consumption and buying more with happiness and corporations in America were smart enough to realise this in the early 1900′s. I would highly encourage people to see the BBC documentary- The Century of the Self. Till the early 1900’s, a vast majority of people used to buy things when they need. Corporations invented Public relations and advertising to make people buy things they “desire”. The selling point was “You will feel better once you have this product”. With social media, people now want to buy more and newer things and put their latest pic on Social Media. What’s the chain effect of this?

I am a big supporter of how social media has enabled people to come together and bring about changes which were not possible even 5 years back. It has even made families and friendships stronger in our dispersed society. However quite often success brings across a new set of challenges. The historian Ian Morris uses the term ‘paradox of development’ in his brilliant book, ‘Why the West Rules – For Now’ to explain how social development generates the very forces that undermine further social development.

Where do all the products we buy come from? And does it all get disposed in environmentally sustainable fashion? Everybody wants to buy new things, show it to the world and feel better momentarily till they see another new post in Social Media and our narcissist self wants to also put something new in Social Media so that we feel better. We can’t really blame each other for this as this is hard-wired into our brains. It’s driven to a large extent by what they call in neurobiology as ‘Mirror neurons’. But I guess as Adults we need to not just play with our toys but also pack them up and store it away. Perhaps we keep thinking like the times when we used to be young toddler and kids, ‘Oh, Mum and Dad will store it away’.

Should companies and individuals be made legally, socially and morally responsible to truly ‘own’ the product, from cradle to grave? Will all this excess consumption adversely affect our planet and lead to an eventual collapse of human civilisation? We don’t know..but if we do and we could time travel to see what it will be like, I see mankind as drowning away while we put our smart phones and tablets up showing each other how we are looking while we are drowning.

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Comments

  1. A catchy title followed by an insightful article! Corporate responsibility is growing ever-more important as the planet spirals towards a dangerously unsustainable future.

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