What Consumerism Really is, or Who’s Eating Whom

Sometimes we’re walking around, and we get this crazy, damned view of the world that just seems to make sense. And then we go back to all that other stuff we were doing, you know, the stuff that clouded our vision of the world in the first place, all the while just counting down the minutes ’til we can get back to that place of clarity.

Call it what you will: peak experience, sati, clearing-of-the-mitote. The point for the sake of this note (to get all self-referential and whatnot) is that I’ve been walking around in one of those frames of mind today.

And it was nice.

And before I inevitably journey back to the Underworld of some version of reality that I see when flailing around mindlessly through life, I’d like to share some of the things that I am seeing right now (and I’ll get to why this entry is titled how it is… Eventually. I’m feeling long-winded right now, so bear with me [but please don’t bare with me—I’m keeping my clothes on. For now.]):

  1. The nature of “a peak experience” itself is quite fascinating. I love the metaphorical roots of phrases, and this one especially is neat. While the roots of the phrase are American, I’m sure there’s something to be said about the “American Spirit” and the idea of a moment of truth being akin to conquering a mountain. But think about it for a second. To have a peak experience, one must climb to the top of a mountain or tall hill, look around, and see the world in some new light. Perhaps it’s the distance from the center of the earth, and I mean really distancing oneself from the root of the place from whence you came in some sort of celestial sense or something. Trees don’t grow up; they grow out. If Jesus had said something about peak experiences, I think that Christians would all be mountain climbers (or they’d just shop at REI to look like climbers). But I digress.
  2. I realized that I am a rather addictable person (I couldn’t say addictive, because that would be rather egotistical). I love those things that are ‘bad’ for me, you know, the really good things. But in doing those things, I tend to not climb the mountain (to just beat this metaphor up repeatedly). And well, as fun as most of those things are, maybe I should be climbing instead. But as we ingest those things (and if you buy into the whole “consumerism” thing, then that’s what you do), we become those things. Maybe it’s because that’s the only diet we know of, but I think that there’s got to be more to it. Somewhere, somebody is making that stuff that we consume. And yeah, people all over the place say that we, as an empowered and web-savvy group of people, actually choose what to consume, thereby killing off through Economic Darwinism anything of sub-par quality. But, watch television for an hour and tell me what you think about that. We’re Makers, spending our time, money, and energy on things that other people make (and generally there are a lot of other people making money off of that relationship, people who don’t give a shit about what you eat). And well, I also know a lot of makers that make. And I’m going to be one of them if it kills me.
  3. It probably won’t kill me.
  4. But the more I think about it, the more I think that the things that I like to consume aren’t things that I’m consuming (keep up). I actually become a consumee, giving my time, money, and energy to this thing that feeds on time, money, and energy. We are building an army of consumers, devouring our selves, and we love it. We bathe in some sadomasochistic relationship with a giant Eater of Life. And by “we” I mean “me”. Except for where it would be grammatically incorrect, in which I’ll change it to “I”. (And yeah, I do think that the periods should be outside of the quotation marks.)
  5. Well I’m ready to feed on love, decency, and goodness. ‘Cause god knows, I see a lot of it from up here on this peak. You are what you eat, and I’m hungry for that. I’m also hungry for some ice cream, but I’m not letting it eat me right now. I see beauty every morning when I get Mason up. I hear it when he giggles (and he laughs a lot. But it’s not like an evil genius laugh, I swear.), and I see it when he smiles at me and says, “Da-Da.” I know it when my wife makes a joke and tries not to laugh at it, but she can’t help but laugh ’cause she’s actually funny. And I feel it when I think about how truly blessed I am in this life.
  6. We don’t deserve to feel that blessed unless we do something with it. Eat it and poop out something great (aaand now I’m done with that metaphor).
I’m going to start chowing down on some goodness. Keep me honest.
-bk

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