12.12.07

ego trip

I have a lot of respect for author Naomi Klein, particularly because she encourages us to be aware and to educate ourselves about our surroundings and our society’s inner workings. This is the antithesis of what consumer-based organizations would require from us. Their aim is for us to learn or be exposed to those things which will benefit their economic interests so that they may continue to feed the need for limitless expanding profit margins.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been exploring my own relationship with consumerism and self discipline. It is easy to anthropomorphise consumerism, and many anti-consumer groups use this tactic as a way of creating hatred and/or fear for the want of things. But if we take a step back and look more objectively I believe we can see that things have a purpose and that we can separate that purpose from our own internal desires. This is by no means an easy task. And the money and intellect that goes into advertising is perhaps greater than what it costs to produce and distribute most goods. This means that for most of us normal everyday folk it’s hard to always distinguish the truth behind marketing campaigns and objectively decide if a given thing is vital to our lives.

The question I pose to myself is not whether to have or not have things. Rather, to allow myself, my emotions and my credit, to be controlled by things. Our society is based on things and we are great at inventing them. From living spaces to tools and medicines, humans are incredibly creative. But it seems that our modern society has been shifting more and more to an obsessive acquisition of goods for the sake of acquisition instead of for the actual use of said good.

Recently I wrote a post about choices in our daily lives. Living in the developed world affords us with infinite choices, from the smallest item to where we want to live or attend university. One anonymous comment stated “that freedom is found by actually making a choice.” We must be aware of our surroundings and have enough knowledge to make educated decisions, especially when it comes to civic responsibilities such as voting. More importantly however, and perhaps a bit more difficult, we need to understand ourselves –our individual needs and desires –and be able to make rational and intentional choices about the way we lead our lives.

I often fail with some of my intended paths. As of late I’ve had little exercise and my diet has been horrible. I can feel it when I wake up in the morning. The bus has taken the place of my daily bike commute, and sure I have good excuses like: it’s below freezing and snowing. But I know that riding my bike to work has more benefits internally than not riding my bike. Self discipline and determination have always been my biggest foes and it’s funny because after all the time that it’s taken me to write these words I am at a loss as to how to proceed. So I leave you with a clip of Klein’s newest project. Ask your local library to get you her book.

Aloha and mahalo

2 comments:

Gazelle said...

The first step in self-discipline and determination is acknowledging you have work to do. Imagine all the people not getting any exercise and eating bad food and thinking the way they feel is normal. It's just like Ms. Klein's idea that awareness is the key to not staying in a state of shock. Thanks for posting the video - great stuff.

lawless said...

Yo, slick rick, digging the whole narrative style you've been doing. Just writing it down inna stream-of-consciousness sort of the way as you mentioned before just to enjoy the act, whether it surfing, riding or writing same concept. The joy is in the act itself. It's cool to read too, because knowing you, I can see your personality coming out in your writing. It's like your finding your voice and style of your writing, but still trying different things out to see what fits.

Sort of like riding different bikes or surfing different boards, or playing different guitars. You find what works for you and what doesn't and adapt them to fit your needs.

I was just going to drop you an email but had a vision of Burroughs-Ginsberg letters and how the book WAS the letters.

seen. D-$