Sunday, 6 January 2013

Living the dream

We're all consumers to some extent whether we like it or not. We have to eat, we need clothes and shelter, and that's about it when it comes to basic survival. Indeed life used to be like that and even those things we made or grew ourselves. Early man never had to worry about his carbon footprint.
So how did we get from there to today when the masses would include a 50inch TV, designer shoes, and an Audi TT in the above list of life's necessities?
People's expectations of life have spiralled out of control to the point where there are those whose perspective of life is so skewed that you scratch your head in wonder at the insanity of it all.
Individuals who make it their life's aim to gather as much material wealth around them as humanly possible, mock and treat with disdain those with less, and all the time forgetting that you can't take it with you when you die. So what's the endgame? Is there one? No. Because for these people enough is never enough.
I admit it can be difficult to resist the lure of shiny things (we all have our inner magpie to some extent), but once you realise that material possessions don't actually make you any happier it becomes far easier to detach yourself from the endless treadmill that is rampant consumerism.
For many it's all about image and I can only conclude that those of this mindset are seriously lacking in self confidence if they think that wearing Prada, holidaying in the Caribbean and driving a Range Rover will make others think more highly of them. It's all bullshit.
I used to be a slave to 'stuff' myself and it took a long time for this way of thinking to develop. Having had a best friend with whom I vied for having the latest this that or the other I can honestly say that I've played the game and found no improvement in my quality of life by having those things. Indeed I'd have been much better off spiritually by spending the money I've wasted on TVs, camcorders and suchlike on more worthwhile things like experiences. I'm sure it would be far more gratifying to be sat in your wing-backed chair wetting yourself in the corner of the retirement home if you could immerse yourself in memories of the glory days visiting Egypt or paragliding off the top of Ben Nevis rather than the day you splashed out 600 quid on a DV camcorder that you used just a handful of times until you realised that you never bothered to watch what you recorded and you looked a twat carrying it around anyway.
I'm wondering if much of this can be blamed on fairy tales. Seemingly innocent stories told to small children that program them at an early age that everyone lives happily ever after in a palace with their prince.
Well I think it's time these stories were re-written in a manner that they reflect real life rather than their nonsensical idealistic clap-trap. Stories where Pinocchio gets mercilessly teased by his classmates for being different so that eventually he gives in to the rigours of adolescent depression and tops himself by drinking half a gallon of Root Out.
Or where Snow White contents herself with sitting on her arse all day living on seven lots of disability benefit while the dwarves try to claim off their insurance because their pickaxes have been stolen and sold on for scrap metal.
Jack would have ended up in rehab because anyone who could come up with a story about giants living at the top of a runner bean plant must surely be tripping.
Maybe if childhood stories were changed in this way then children wouldn't grow up expecting the world to be some magical playground where every conceivable pleasure is handed out by the fairy godmother and nothing bad ever happens to anyone unless they're an evil bastard that deserves it.