I get so frustrated by how blind and stupid most people are! When I walk around a shopping centre or overhear bits and pieces of conversations in the street, all that people seem to talk about is what they have bought, what they want to buy or what they are planning to buy. Mostly it’s just gadgets, furnishings or clothes – non-essential things that don’t last or give much lasting satisfaction. I know I should probably pity these poor fools for not knowing any better, but it affects me because their insecurity and addiction to crap, (most of it is just disposable rubbish that will be thrown out when the novelty wears off), is driving the cycle of consumerism that is chewing up our planet and spitting out waste.
I feel as though my frustration is bad for my health, but I can’t ignore it. Worse still is that I find myself buying useless disposable things too! Often I don’t have a choice, or when I do, the alternative is made so difficult or expensive for me, that I’m made to feel like a neurotic hippy and let myself be intimidated into doing what everyone else does, just because that’s what you’re ‘supposed’ to do.
Well dammit! I don’t agree with what the advertisements and politicians want me to believe, and I hate feeling defeated and tricked into doing things that I KNOW are wrong. But I don’t want to isolate myself from friends and family who don’t seem to mind enjoying themselves by spending money on frivolous things. In fact they seem to be happy, while I seem to be the miserable, grumpy one who never wants to have any fun. Maybe I should forget about all the unseen side effects of consumerism and accept it. Maybe I should just stop being a party-pooper.
Now you know how I feel most of the time as I witness human’s self-destruction in slow motion on planet Earth. If it weren’t for all the other innocent life forms, who just happened to ‘get in the way’ of the consumerist monster, I might even find it entertaining to sit back and watch… But I am a compassionate spark (not all of us are), and I feel I have a duty to at least try to connect with those other conscious beings who can see it too.
I understand how impossible and hopeless it must feel as an isolated individual out there, but the thing I urge you to remember and trust with all your heart is that you are NOT alone. You would be surprised at how many other frustrated people you pass each day who are also sickened and appalled by what they see. Many of them, like you, are intimidated into submission through fear of ridicule and alienation by their peers. Others may have an inkling that things are not right, but have never really crystalized the uneasiness they feel into a certain recognition of anything other than mild consumer indigestion. There are also an increasing number of people with their eyes wide open who are not afraid to point out, in a somewhat tactless fashion, that the emperor has no clothes! These people are easy to dismiss and label as insane, because paying them any serious attention would mean taking off the blinkers. And I think most humans are far too frightened to risk seeing what they really don’t want to see.
Acceptance can be a wise tool for coping with an uncontrollable world, but there is nothing to be gained by accepting the things you CAN change. This is where wisdom becomes cowardice. Things you can’t change by force are other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions. You can, however, change your perception of their behavior. You don’t have to allow it to intimidate you, or force you into silence or compliance. Don’t sacrifice your own integrity and values for the sake of keeping the ignorant ones happy. Let them be happy if they truly want to be, but make no secret of the fact that you are not happy with this consumption orgy, and that you choose not to participate. Do what you can as an individual to minimize your participation, and when people question your non-conformist behaviour, tell them as honestly and non-judgmentally as you can how you feel.
You can’t eliminate greed and consumption on your own, even by leading the perfect example of non-participation, but you can seek out others like yourself who see what you see, and who also want to do something about it. The more you can connect with others who see it for themselves and the more you openly talk about what you are witnessing, the more other people will also begin to open their eyes and see it too. Letting people discover it for themselves is a far more powerful tool than forcing the truth onto unwilling ears.
Focus on the improvements that can be made, don’t dwell on the mistakes. Do what you can, and connect with your neighbours and friends and even strangers as a human being with honest, genuine concerns, compassion and hope for a better future. What you believe in, you will create. Good luck to you.