The forces of evil want you to be alone.
Let’s take a look at an evil side effect of capitalism: consumer culture. Consumer culture needs us all to buy, buy, buy. So it works really hard to keep us buying stuff and throwing stuff away and storing stuff and buying more stuff.
There is another way
You know what would cut down on the amount of stuff we buy? If we shared things, like lawnmowers or power tools, that we only use occasionally. Or if we helped each other fix stuff so it would last longer.
You know what else might cut down on it? If we realized that a lot of the needs we buy stuff to fill are actually better served by other humans. If we reached out to another person when we were lonely or bored or feeling inadequate, we wouldn’t end up doing nearly as much retail therapy.
The BS of selling loneliness
The fact that “retail therapy” is even a thing just goes to show how well we’ve been trained to fill our needs with stuff, even when that stuff doesn’t ACTUALLY. FILL. THOSE. NEEDS.
That’s the work of consumer culture, of advertising and marketing and a whole system that needs to keep us buying. It can’t have us realizing that maybe we don’t need this much stuff, that maybe what we need is each other.
So it tells us to be independent, that if we’re not, we’re weak losers. It tells us to worry about privacy and security and build as many walls around us as possible, in the name of safety.
It tells us to let go of trust, to be wary of our neighbours, not to need anyone. We gotta be tough, we gotta walk alone. If we need anything, we should be able to buy it, right? And if we can’t, we must be losers. Consumer culture will do anything to keep us apart, to keep us from getting what we need from each other instead of buying it.
Does having a giant truck make a person more secure and confident? Does an ever-updating wardrobe really make a person look better? Superficially, maybe. But on our deathbeds, are these the things we want to look back on?
Or would we rather look back on a life filled with laughter and tears shared with friends? A life we walked through with people all around us, sharing and enriching every experience by their presence? A life where maybe the things we owned were fewer, or shabbier, or older, or shared, but where the relationships we had were many and golden?
I’m no economist. I can’t say whether capitalism is good or bad, or if there’s any other system that’s better. But I do know that we need to stop being duped by consumer culture into thinking that we need things and we don’t need each other.
It’s a lie designed to benefit consumer culture, not us.