The Culture to Materialism Ratio
Western civilization has sold out. It has become an über-materialistic culture in which children are taught from birth the way to judge their level of success and their status among friends is by constantly comparing what they own with what their friends and family own. This is seen in numerous areas of modern life as these toy-seeking children turn into conspicuously consuming adults. From cell phone culture which now begins at age 8 to car culture which lasts until death, the modis operandi is competition through consumption.
What are you driving that old thing for? Don’t you have a good job? What are you doing with that brick or dinosaur? You need to upgrade to stay competitive is the message when one reads behind the lines. This insanity is reinforced by peer pressure and the need for people to “conform” in America.
For over a century, this mentality has led Western civilization to become the most materially rich in the world. That’s the good news. However, there is a dark side to having so much stuff. One might argue that Western civilization has lost its culture in the process of pursuing more and more junk. In fact, a going joke is what kind of culture do white people even have? And sadly, as a white person I don’t have much of an answer.
Sure, there’s still football and hamburgers on the Fourth of July with fries and turkey at Thanksgiving, but the overall culture can be described as one of nothing more than shopping and eating out, since that’s what most people spend their free time doing when they’re not adhering to the Puritan American work ethic. Once the careerism pill has been swallowed, life quickly becomes a vicious circle of work-consume-work-consume that most people never break out of.
America, and Western civilization in general has become a culture that looks for personal fulfillment through extrinsic goals, rather than intrinsic ones. Extrinsic goals make us look good, and they bring fleeting pleasure. But, they’re not “intrinsically” fulfilling like intrinsic goals such as spending quality time with family, having a close network of friends, and developing a sense of community.
This has led to accelerating spiritual and demographic death as materialism has come to dominate life in such a way people have become nihilistic, overly critical, and in many ways hopeless and helpless. Naturally, there is an equation that could be used to express this trade off a culture makes when it decides to pursue materialism vs. maintaining its culture. We will call this the culture-materialism ratio.
Culture vs. Materialism
In short, one must sell out a little culture to get a little materialism. Since the time we have is limited on this planet, one cannot spend time enjoying other people and working to make the money to buy more shiny things at the same time. There is always a trade off.
To diagnose what has happened to American culture to make it one in which negativity leaps out from any cursory visit to a social networking site, one must start by looking at the anthropological definition of what culture is.
Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses, and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common… As a defining aspect of what it means to be human, culture is a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.
So, we see right away material expressions are included in the broad definition of culture. A little materialism is okay, and a sign of a healthy society. Unfortunately, material expressions have begun to overwhelm to other “practices and discourses” of American culture. People spend so much of their lives in pursuit of money and stuff that they’ve literally become bitter about life.
Careerism is inculcated into youth from elementary school onwards and females are taught to be ashamed of and forgo their femininity and maternity with the goal of making women more like men (i.e. interchangeable labor devices). In fact, the entire whole of American life can today be described at shaping children into becoming efficient consumers to keep consumption high.
This must end. Dr. James Roberts has studied materialistic people and knows there is never enough stuff to buy to fill that whole marketers put into people’s souls by manipulating their emotions.
As we amass more and more possessions, we don’t get any happier; we simply raise our reference point. That new 2,500-square-foot house becomes the baseline for your desires for an even bigger house. It’s called the Treadmill of Consumption. We continue to purchase more and more stuff but we don’t get any closer to happiness, we simply speed up the treadmill.
The “treadmill” he is speaking of is The Hedonic Treadmill, a figurative treadmill that functions as a sort of “highway to hell” The New Modern Man has written about in the past.
Modern Western civilization (with an emphasis on America) has become a culture that is so materially rich but spiritually dead it is literally disappearing from the face of the planet in pursuit of buying things.
People lumber into the malls, empty their pockets buying junk and junk food – most of which they don’t really need – then go home to giant homes via bulbous SUVs. The next morning they wake up, head down to jobs that most of them can’t stand and work an average of 47 hours a week.
This is time in their lives they will never get back.
As a result of a culture that neglects the cultural in favor of material things, God is dead in America and has been for some time. Religious people will protest this claim but if one looks at the way they live their lives rather than what they say they believe it doesn’t take long to discover people are not living according to tradition or religion. They worship at the church of the discount store and their gods are their career, credit score and things they own.
GDP vs. GNH
Perhaps it’s time to start making another measure of human progress rather than Gross National Product. The tiny nation of Bhutan has started measuring human progress in terms of Gross National Happiness. As hippy as it sounds, it’s actually a good idea when one realizes there are indeed things money cannot buy.
It’s a holistic approach which looks at other measures than just economics to determine the overall well-being of a society.
But, there are other ways of acheiving the same goal: a happy and fulfilled soceity rather than one in which it’s citizens behave like braindead shoppers who are never fulfilled for very long no matter how much money they spend. One of the best moves people can make is to turn off the high preist of consumerism and materialism – the corporate media. Its culture and values sorely need to be replaced with human ones instead of economic ones.
Maybe then, American society can begin to heal itself spiritually and demographically. Importantly, maybe whites can begin to reverse trends that are leading them to extinction at the hands of their own selfish inner desires, emotionally manipulated by the puppet masters to maximize profit at the cost of everything else that makes life worth living.
The pendulum must swing back from rampant consumerism and towards things that intrinsically make life worth living.
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