Are you a consumer?
We hear a lot about consumerism, this idea of wanting more, and just feeding ourselves, gorging on luxuries and entertainment, and just buying too many things.
I see this consumer mindset, it’s beyond just buying lots of physical stuff, having big houses and fancy cars and all these toys.
You see some people rebelling against that and saying “I want experiences rather than things.
I want to consume experiences.”
But this is something that hit me as I was researching travel, because I’ve been meaning to get travelling again for so long, and there’s a certain kind of mindset that it’s about consuming experiences.
Choosing to be all about experiences versus things: it doesn’t necessarily free us from that consumer mindset.
Because you see so much of the whole travel business is about selling experiences.
I want to consume some kind of experience of visiting some part of the world and partaking in whatever it has to offer.
It’s a mindset, the mindset of looking to feed myself.
The whole idea of a consumer is that you simply consume.
You consume stuff.
Like you just eat it.
And it’s entirely just absorbed into you.
What is the output?
I mean, when you consume food, well, you know what the output is when you eat food.
So it’s really a very personal, and it’s almost like a passive thing in a way.
You’re just eating.
And as much as we can see the limitations of this with buying lots of stuff, the same limitations are there with consuming experiences.
It’s an attitude of I just simply want to take what I can.
Now what’s the opposite of a consumer?
Producer: making something that maybe others can consume.
If we can’t get away from consumption, maybe it’s about others.
But maybe it’s somehow adding something.
It’s adding something to the world, that’s improving something, changing something, creating new value, and some kind of new significance in the world.
That would be being a producer.
And it seems like that’s a lot more satisfying.
There’s a lot more to it.
There’s a lot more potential there.
If we can find things to do that are about producing and improving the world in some way, in the smallest way, starting with the smallest, most local way, with ourselves, with our friends and family, with our immediate environment, or anything we do.
Break the habit of looking at everything like products to consume.
Seeing life as an experience product that we are consuming.
Seeing everything as food.
Looking for new stimulation in everything.
Of course all that’s great, but there’s something about being locked into this sort of default state of “I am a consumer.”
What does that do to us?
And it seems like with the whole world of advertising and marketing, and the whole way media is, and we build our lives around media, and media is built around advertising, and we have this whole kind of worldview, this whole system, of being focused on what can we consume next?
But there’s something, I think, that can be useful about questioning that, and maybe breaking out of it.
So what does it mean to not think that way?
What does it mean to live in a way that’s not a consumer?
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.
#consumer #consumerism #consuminglife