Thursday, March 4, 2010

Power of Consumption

I am really wondering over the years on some of the signs of consumerism as it is developing in India. I am of the new age. I can see consumerism happening....developing in this great new India. It must have taken decades elsewhere for building a market economy and create a consumerist world. But it has all happened in 20 years' time, here, down in India. So, I can tell it from experience. Besides the huge malls, snazzy cars, and flaunting parties, there is a tendency that is becoming more and more visible. It is a tendency to monetize or add monetary value to everything that we destroy! Just as we have a value for what we buy or own, we are beginning to add value to what we destroy. This is something extremely dangerous. I'll give you an example. If 20 years ago I were to break a glass, I would have felt bad, and been hurt by remorse. But today, most people don't feel it. They say, "Okay, I am sorry. I shall pay it". This happens with things, utensils, consumables, electricity, water....and with almost anything. A sort of nonchalant attitude. "If my act has done something bad, okay, so what. I shall pay for it, let me know how much does it cost?"

This attitude has two dangers: firstly, it increases the desire to spend, waste and destroy; secondly, it creates a tendency in human persons that anything that is destroyed can be recreated. It is not true! You cannot recreate most things that we have destroyed. Carbon credits may pay you, but they cannot bring back the lives of millions of trees. You may pay for the electricity, but you cannot bring back the spent energy. You may break something that is "valuable" to someone else. You may pay for it, but you cannot bring back the valuable.

It is easier to have plenty and enjoy plenty. But it is difficult to say no to have more even if you have plenty with you. The result of the virtue of contentment is joy. Chasing achievements is stress.

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