Saturday, February 6, 2010

Consumerism, An Addiction

Two weeks ago hubby and I heard Roger S. Gottlieb, Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), speak on religious environmentalism. The following is a quote from his book, A Greener Faith, Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet.

"Consumerism, we should be clear, is not simply about buying a lot, though it certainly includes that. All through history people have wanted their basic needs met, and that small group with extra cash on hand made a point of getting a good deal more than that. The shape taken by consumerism in the modern world, however, involves not just the multiplication of what you get, but the endless expansion of what you want. Consumerism teaches that the central goal of human existence is the satisfaction of an ever growing, ever changing array of personal desires. To be a consumer, in this sense, is always to be wanting something else: the newest, fastest, largest (or smallest), best, prettiest, or most impressive. If the superlatives in these categories are restricted to the truly wealthy, the goal will be to get the best knock-offs one can afford. In this sense, consumerism is a quasi-addictive pattern, made up of unending cycles of the stimulation of desire - the satisfaction of desire (buying) - and the stimulation of new desires. Like any other addiction, we feel a rush of craving, a brief moment of contentment, the inevitable letdown - and then a new craving."

What does a life free from addiction look like? What is that freedom?

"Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.'"
John 8: 34-35

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