Bad Ideas, Consumerism, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Ideas, Living, Marysa, Memes


(About a 3 minute read)

I suspect I look at consumerism in a rather unusual and somewhat off-angle way.  In other words, I’m most likely standing off to the side of most of us when I look at it, seeing it from an unusual angle.

Kind of reminds me of the “off-angle” view I had in middle school regarding the issue of girlfriends.  Most of the boys preferred their girlfriends to actually be breathing, I myself preferred Playboy center-folds. After all, the center-folds were the more approachable girls, the less daunting ones.

Have you ever bought anything merely or just for the fun of buying?

Myself, I think that’s a fairly universal human pleasure.  I think most of us now and then buy stuff solely — or at least mostly — for the pleasure we get from buying things.

To me, consumerism is the consumption of goods, services, and anything else primarily or solely for the pleasure we humans can take in acquiring things.

In practice, consumerism can be pure — we can buy something only and solely for the fun of acquiring it — but so far as I can see, consumerism is most often merely the main or primary reason we buy something.

If we buy mainly for some other reason than the pleasure of acquisition, it’s not consumerism to me.

So, three possibilities:

A Super-Soaker water gun bought for no other reason at the time of purchase than the fun of buying it consumerism.

A Super-Soaker bought mostly for the fun of buying it is still consumerism.

A Super-Soaker bought mainly for the necessary and just purpose of soaking Marysa Storm from head to foot before she even knows what’s coming is by no means consumerism — it is instead altogether fair and righteous shopping in the eyes of the gods.

I suspect most people think of consumerism as pretty close to, or even the same as, materialism.  “Not so!”, say I.

As I see it, droves of people consume “spiritual” things all the time.  I suppose in truth, they are not technically consuming things like love, friendship, Jesus, or gratuitous anger at the truly evil folks in our world who happen to disagree with their views on politics and the proper methods of wanking.  Yet, I’m pretty sure it’s possible to, say, seek love from other people mainly or even solely for the thrill of discovering someone loves you.

“Oh, look Ma! I just acquired a boyfriend!”  A few months later, if that, and the novelty has won off.  Time to consume another one.

Could it be that seeking “likes” on social media might at times be a form of consumerism, albeit an admittedly harmless one?  According to my def, “yes”.  Shocking, I know!  Please “like” this post if you disagree with me!  Teach me the errors of my way!

An economist sees consumerism in economic terms, a sociologist sees it in sociological terms, an anthropologist sees it in cultural terms, a spiritual person sees it in spiritual terms.  They’re all WRONG!  ALL WRONG! I win! I win!  Here, I believe I am channeling my inner psychologist to see it in psychological terms.  Or perhaps, even in philosophical terms.

2 thoughts on “Consumerism”

  1. So, Paul, WHAT is your definition of consumerism? I’ve re-read your essay a couple of times, and all I can come up with is some statements about what consumerism (in you view) is NOT, and some other oblique hints. And a totally inscrutable comment about a sock. Maybe I’m tired because I’m in the middle of my long stretch of work. I donno. Off to work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooops! Guess I did not make my definition as clear as I thought I did. Sorry about that, Carla. Let’s see if I can do better.

      Have you ever bought something you didn’t need and had no use for but instead bought solely because it felt fun to buy something? Like, maybe it was only a pack of chewing gum. Or maybe it was something much bigger and more expensive than that. But whatever it was, you bought it just because it felt good or pleasurable to buy something?

      To me, that’s the core of consumerism. The impulse to consume (buy) for the sake of consumption (buying).

      Most likely, we seldom buy things solely for the sake of the pleasure of buying them. But I think it does play a significant role today in why people buy things.

      One reason I think it plays a significant role is because I have seen so much stuff in people’s houses that they bought but never used or used only a few times. Everything from 40 boxes of instant oatmeal to $2000 exercise machines, to tons and tons of clothing, electronics, etc. All seldom if ever used.

      I strongly suspect the thrill of buying something was heavily involved in those purchasing decisions.

      Any of that make sense?

      The sock? Um…a lame reference to the seemingly widespread practice of adolescent males to masturbate into socks as an expedient way to deal with their semen. I hear so many references to it that I was thinking it was common knowledge. Again, sorry about that.

      I’m going to edit my post a bit to make it more understandable. Thank you so much for the feedback! It’s so helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

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