“This ignorance frees us up to be what our culture most highly esteems: citizens of the marketplace, global consumers of goods and services. The Canadian social critic, David Suzuki, has written “consumerism has taken the place of citizenship as the chief way we contribute to the health of our society.” This focus on what we own as the definition for who we are may have many positive economic results, but it has also helped to create a deeply personal crisis in how we view our potential and purpose as human beings. By accepting the daily advertisements and the “news” that tell us what to fear, what to desire, how to be in the world, we undermine our own bodies and our own potentials.” Lifting the Veil, by Peter Forbes, Featured in Mountain Record 25.1, Fall 2006
This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post.
If we are what we own, then what? I notice that this article was posted in 2006, before much of the economy collapsed, particularly Michigan’s. I believe the economic collapse has had very positive effects in terms of forcing people to think about what possessions are necessary versus which items are simply luxuries.
In my neighborhood, many people have lost their homes, sometimes leaving all their furniture behind. This is the ultimate fresh start. Part of me envies them a little. It is bad to envy people that have lost everything, but that’s where I am sometimes. There is no shame in leaving Michigan and a foreclosure behind. You start over again wherever you may be.
The bad economy has also forced people to work together in a way I’ve never seen. People are pooling their resources and helping their neighbors in ways I thought were long gone. Creative solutions are coming about in my area, greatly aided by the Allen Neighborhood Center.
The bad economy has clarified issues in ways difficult to even imagine a few years back. People have done some serious soul searching. It was long overdue.