Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Are we materialistic enough?

Materialistic describes a person who is markedly more concerned with material things (such as money and possessions) rather than spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values; an adherent of materialism. (source: Wikipedia)

Look at the world today; we all possess an iPod, a cell phone, a Blackberry, sunglasses, laptops, TVs, etc. we love these gadgets and can hardly go a day without using them. We cherish them as if they were our friends, some give them names, others personalise them and we buy some extra accessories for them. This connection between the objects and us is strong because we know how much we spent on these objects (we can actually value our friendship with these possessions whereas we can't really put a price on real friendship - though I know people who would).

So yes, put that way we all are materialistic. But unfortunately, I say we are not materialistic enough. We seem to value an idea or a concept more than we actually value the object itself.

Here's an example: we all love to listen to music therefore we buy an iPod. If a year later the new iPod with colour screen and a 2GB extra memory comes out (functions that you will probably never use), then you'll throw out your 1st iPod and go buy the new one. We value the "iPod" as a concept, idea or brand but we don't treasure our own iPod.

The iPod example is applicable to TVs, cars, laptops, clothes, etc. We would exchange our things in a minute if a better version came along. We are pure victims of marketing and advertising and we're never satisfied with what we have; we always want to buy more.

A clear obstacle holding us from falling in love with our things is the mainstream, mass-consumption, uniform society that we live in. Take the clothing industry for example; we buy most of our clothes from the popular brands: Zara, H&M, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Springfield, and so on. Our clothes are not special anymore and we can find millions of other people wearing the same outfits in the street. Therefore, we have no problem throwing out a piece of clothing if we feel it ran out of fashion and run buy a new one. Whatever happened to these little boutiques selling clothes that you won't find anywhere else? Whenever I have a t-shirt from a small independent shop, I keep it for a long time because it is special and I can be sure that half of the city will not end up wearing the same one.

So the more we follow the ordinary and conventional path, the less we can value our possessions. Our belongings will be similar to everybody else's and we won't have our own style; we'll just be a living-replica of a magazine.

I am not saying that we can't change our things at all, of course we need to from time to time; we just need to be more reasonable and stop this over-consumption habit. Because, if you thought this post was not related to the environment, you are WRONG. We need to stop being crazy irresponsible consumers in order to reduce the depletion of our natural resources. We need to hold on to our things for as long as we can.

So love your stuff, be more materialistic and stop being a marketing victim. That's an order.