How Rampant Consumerism is Destroying Us

Photo by Marcin Kempa on Unsplash

I’ve been watching a riveting anime called Dr Stone. In it, a mysterious wave of light suddenly washes over Earth and turns everybody into stone. 3,700 years later, the world has reverted back to how it was before humans became advanced, and the humans that break out have to survive and rebuild civilisation. 

So many things in this anime have stood out to me, but one which has stuck in my mind is how quickly everything can be taken away in a flash, whether that’s by natural disaster, or from unfortunate circumstances. 

The humans who found themselves 3,700 years in the future had to start from scratch; foraging for food, hunting, building basic shelter, surviving wild animal attacks, and encountering other humans who’d made their own rules. 

There were no smartphones, no TV, no convenience shopping, no electricity, no doctors, and no medicine. 

Dr Stone shows just how much we take for granted in today’s modern world. 

All humans want happiness, and too often we try to achieve that by buying the things which we believe will make us happy and which marketers have convinced us we need: a new phone, the latest fashions, the latest car, the best smelling cologne, the shiniest, most expensive jewellery, the latest tablet/laptop, the biggest TV, I could go on forever here. 

Another thing which struck me in Dr Stone, was how much vegetation had taken over where entire towns and cities once stood. It made me think about how much damage us humans have actually done to our planet. 

Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash

How many trees get chopped down to make new products – many of which we don’t actually need but believe will make us happy? 

How much oil gets consumed just to make the fast fashion that so many of us end up binning?

What really makes humans happy is a sense of community and belonging. Of having some place and meaning in the world. 

In his book’ The Compassionate Mind’, Paul Gilbert talks about how by 2020, depression will be the second most prevalent malady for humans. And guess what? Depression and anxiety has, indeed, skyrocketed.

Gilbert goes on to say that back in the 60’s people had a sense of community, helped each other out, and believed that technology would give us more time to be with the people we love, and to take care of ourselves. 

Instead, technology has been used to increase productivity and place huge demands on people, more so than ever before. We now live in a society where everyone is rushed off their feet and busyness is looked upon more admirably than producing quality or meaningful work. 

We live in a hive rather than a community. Tick boxes in place of what’s really important. Productivity in place of quality. As busyness has become a hidden expectation, it’s become the norm, and so has stress and mental health disorders. 

Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Rush, rush, rush. Tick, tick, tick. Click, click, click. And what for? To make more money to own a bigger house, to afford everything influencers and the media tells us we need, and to fund the vices that helps us to cope in the resulting frantic, consumerist world.

Now, I’m not saying that buying things you need or will actually bring you joy is bad. Of course it isn’t. I’m talking about mindless, frantic consumerism here.  Zombie-like consumption and trying to keep up with the joneses is no good for people, or the planet. 

At the end of the day, everything is just stuff. Some of it makes our lives more convenient, some of it brings us joy, some of it is just there to make us look or feel good in front of others, and some of it we don’t even realise we have. 

That being said, if you’re a fan of anime, go watch Dr Stone – it’s amazing!

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