There is an extraordinary excitement around November 25, called “Black Friday,” because this is a day when goods are sold for special discounted prices in America and in many other countries in the world. Shopping turned into entertainment and the means of receiving fulfillment. People go crazy, lining in the very long queues, sleeping in tents in front of stores, waiting for them to open. There was a case in 2008, when the crowd that burst through the doors trampled a Wal-Mart employee. Shopping and acquisitions became the main value of the modern society and culture. What caused such a thirst for consumerism in the modern world?
Answer: The fact that we are used to evaluating a person according to his wealth: how much he is worth, how much he owns. We look at the exterior of the person, checking how he is dressed, how he behaves, what car he drives, the house he lives in, who his wife and children are, and what his position in the society is.
Although in our time, the external form has begun to lose its significance. Once it was very important and everyone had to appear exactly according to his status. A person was accepted according to his appearance and it determined who he is and to which social stratum and class he belonged.
This is not quite true in our time. When we see a man in a strict black suit, white shirt and a tie, we are likely to think that he is a lawyer. But even among businessmen such clothes are not considered mandatory anymore. And when I met with scientists, they were dressed very simply, in sweaters. People began to pay less attention to clothes.
But the interest in shopping is still very strong because a person feels more secure if he buys something pleasant to his egoism. If I have a full fridge, full wardrobe, and a car, it means everything is ok with me. A person’s confidence in life is measured by these values.
For example, Americans feel confident if they have multiple guns in the house, “just in case.” Rich people, in order to feel safe, build for themselves bunkers and bomb shelters. Others grow vegetables in their gardens so that they’ll have something to eat in case of need.
In our time, people are under so much stress they begin to worry about the future. On such days as “Black Friday,” this hysteria spreads to the entire world. For the modern person, the culture of consumption is very important. However, as we develop, we pay less attention to external beauty, but appreciate convenient clothes more, comfort at home and in everything else.
It is especially characteristic of the young generation that thinks not about their good looks, but about comfort. After all, they are already concerned with the questions about the meaning and essence of life; they obscure the material life and push it the background.
Question: Yet there is an exaggerated interest in shopping that can be compared with bulimia, where a person buys things and returns them to the store. Where does this disease come from?
Answer: A person feels an inner emptiness that he hopes to fill with shopping. Even when choosing a profession, he doesn’t pay attention to his natural inclination, but thinks of where he can earn more in order to buy more. After all, our natural inner need is the desire to enjoy and receive, and people constantly aspire to what they lack.
Everyone has a standard set of desires that he tries to satisfy: food, sex, family, money, honor, and knowledge. But they are present in each one in different proportions, so all are drawn to different fillings. But all these fillings are acquisitions through which we hope to satisfy ourselves. Ordinary purchases are caused by a natural, normal desire to be filled, as well as by the influence of the environment. If others rush to buy, I also light up since we are in the same field of desires that are connected and influence each other. Therefore, if there is any fashion trend, I am also drawn to it.
If during this day goods are sold with big discounts, why wouldn’t we prepare a list of really necessary things in advance and buy them. The only problem is that usually, once arriving at such a sales event, a person doesn’t buy from the list the things that he needs, but begins to go crazy and grab everything, like everyone else. After all, ordinary people act according to the laws of the crowd that affect their opinion.
Only a special education can raise a person a little higher so he will understand how it works. He requires psychological preparation for this that allows him to understand why it happens this way, what for, where it comes from, and how he can relate to it in a more rational manner. All this excitement is fuelled artificially, and an ordinary person is sold to this advertising.
As a result, a person pays more money than expected, but gets the feeling that he lives like everyone and no worse than others, and is succeeding in life. He sees that he acted the same way as others, and in something gained even more than them. There is a competition here and the fulfillment for our egoism is bigger than usual. As a result, we clutter the world with things we never needed, and therefore, they are destined to be thrown away: food, appliances, and never worn clothes and shoes.
We limit ourselves this way. After all, following the crowd, behind the majority, we won’t achieve anything special. In order to achieve a special goal, we need to separate ourselves from the crowd, rise above it, and cut off from “mass culture,” the empty movies people entertain themselves with, accepting without criticism.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 11/24/16