Being rich in what matters means thinking for ourselves rather than swallowing the Koolaid of the consumption culture.
I’ve often seen a glazed, vacant look on people’s faces as they shop in malls, watch TV, surf the internet, operate the slot machines in casinos, etc. They look as if they’re in a trance, and not a particularly happy trance.
The Koolaid trance is driven by a set of cultural notions. Sometimes I even buy into some of these notions. Then I wake back up from the trance with a little start. Here are some of the consumption-Koolaid-driven notions I’ve identified. Feel free to name others in a comment.
The notion that who we are can be accurately expressed by the brands we buy.
The notion that whatever new electronic gadget hits the stores will necessarily make our lives better.
The notion that we can and should become wealthy without working.
The notion that being steadily entertained during non-working hours is a need, rather than a want. (Consider the joyful, low-cost art of self-entertaining.)
The notion that climate change is happening to other people, not to us, if it is happening at all.
The notion that what happens to people in the “bleeds-it-leads” evening news has any probability at all of happening to us.
Related to that – the notion we should live in fear and not walk anywhere or let our children walk anywhere.
The notion that we ought to look like the people in movies and magazines, i.e. way younger and thinner than we are. (Are you familiar with the very best diet? Or how I dealt with the heart-stopping trauma of a kid calling me a grandma?)
The notion that we need vehicles 22 times our body weight to transport us from place to place. (Did you know that 40% of trips made in the U.S. are two miles or less?)
The notion that we are human doings, rather than human beings.
Next Saturday — summer solstice — I plan to climb and summit Mt. McLoughlin, the highest peak in Southern Oregon, with my friend Colleen. That’s if enough snow has melted and the weather gods are smiling on us. Here are the life-lessons I’ve gotten from my past two mountain climbs . . . funny, but they seem to apply to doing any hard thing.
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