Where Does The Culture Of Consumerism Come From?

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn the News (from Business Insider): “Americans weren’t always addicted to buying things. … People used to save money for things they actually needed.

“But in the age of plenty that followed World War I, corporations countered the threat of overproduction with a manipulative psychological strategy.

“We must shift America from a needs, to a desires culture,” wrote Paul Mazur of Lehman Brothers. “People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

“This conspiracy, enabled by new sophistication in advertising and supported by the government, was shockingly effective….

“A new kind of advertising was key to this possible, and the pioneer in this field was Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who showed corporations how to make people want things they didn’t need by linking mass-produced goods to unconscious desires….

“Bernays shattered the taboo against women smoking by persuading a group of debutantes to light up at a parade — an event he leaked to the media ahead of time with the phrase ‘Torches Of Freedom’ — thereby linking smoking with challenging male authority.

“In 1927 an American journalist wrote: ‘A change has come over our democracy, it is called consumptionism. The American citizens first importance to his country is now no longer that of citizen, but that of consumer.’

“Elected in 1928, President Herbert Hoover was the first politician to embrace the central role of consumerism.”

My Comment: But time develops a desire in people, and they are no longer satisfied with shopping. There is a desire, but there is no fulfillment because desires became virtual, aimed at the meaning of life, the feeling of happiness. In addition, an understanding has come that fulfillment of the material desires kills the desire itself, and thus the feeling of enjoyment and happiness disappears because pleasure is felt only when the desire and fulfillment meet, and fulfillment reduces the feeling of happiness.

It turns out that happiness is unattainable if we fulfill the desire, and how is it possible to satisfy it so it is not satisfied, to always have desire and not receive?

There is a science of receiving—the science of Kabbalah (to receive in Hebrew), which teaches us how to achieve eternal and infinite happiness! It is possible if we break the link between desire and fulfillment, if I love someone by fulfilling him, I enjoy. That is why love (not for the body, but for a human being) is a means of achieving happiness. (See the Talk on the Economics of Happiness, 3/1/13)

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