We Don’t Live Life. We Consume It
Our ‘progress’ is causing us more harm than good.
We’ve come a long way compared to how were two centuries ago. The world today is fully connected and is powered by robots, automation, and artificial intelligence. But, have you ever wondered the price we had to pay for these advancements?
In the 1990s every middle-class household in India was sold a vacuum cleaner. In the early 2000s, every home was sold a water purifier. In the 2010s, we’ve been sold Air purifiers. And, the number of newly opened restaurants today is equal to the number of newly opened pharmacies and multi-specialty hospitals. We’re also noticing a sharp increase in the number of fertility clinics that are coming up everywhere. And, our body is made to ingest more amount of processed sugar than it had ever handled.
We built more stuff and sold billions of them without worrying about their consequences in our lives. This affected our surroundings, and now is affecting us.
In the process of making the world a better place, we lost a lot of things. We lost our ecosystem; We lost our culture, and most of all, we lost our identities. We stopped becoming humans and instead became consumers.
We no longer live life. We consume it. ― Vicki Robin
We study, work hard, and earn more. But, to accomplish what? The status of an elite consumer. We want to belong to a better status to afford an expensive car, go on an expensive holiday, or wear an expensive suit. The underlying truth is, the more you earn, the more elite you become as a consumer and not as a human.
People in the past were content with what they had. They created everything with their bare hands. They grew their food, built their homes, and made money by selling whatever they had in surplus. But, as the industrial revolution kicked in, human life became more mechanical. We stopped relying on ourselves and started believing that jobs are the only way to make a living. Our thought process has changed from “I can live where I want, grow what I want, and eat what I want” to “I need to work to make a living.” That marked the beginning of what we’ve become today.
The benefits of being a consumer are positioned in such a way that we often fail to realize that we are one, and instead take pride in associating ourselves with brands.
At this point, it is hard for us to come out of what he had become. We have to bear the consequences of what was done by our previous generations. We will live, breathe, and depart from this world as consumers. But, we could still shine as humans by doing the small stuff. By being kind to one another; By spending time with nature; By doing a little bit of gardening in the backyard; By appreciating good art, and so on.
In today’s fast-moving world, living a life as a human is the fanciest thing we could dream of.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.
— Oscar Wilde
Originally published on my Medium account in 2016