Jurich: Addiction to consumerismWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Comfort. Gin. I shot two of my favorites at the start of the evening, before arriving to the big event. The anxiety was just too much, and since the time between its onset and the time I had planned to leave was relatively short, I concluded that alcohol would be the most efficient and immediate remedy to relieve the anxiety and temporarily clear open the heart chakra. It did a pretty satisfactory job that night, but of course didn’t take care of any long-term solutions. Obviously if I used that remedy each time I felt anxious, I could become what is known as an alcoholic. A short-term fix, falsely perceived as a long-term antidote. Continuous use of this quick fix is what we call an addiction.
Addiction to alcohol or another drug is no different than Western society’s addiction to consumption. Jean Liedloff’s Continuum Concept suggests that humans spend a lifetime searching for each own’s “sense of rightness,” something lost at or very shortly after birth when our evolved animal instincts are manipulated by intruding forces. One of the avenues traveled seeking this achievement of the “sense of rightness” is that of purchasing goods.
For example, once I have this particular item, I will feel satisfied. Or, if only I could have this type of thing, I’d feel content. Then the item, product, object is obtained, instant gratification and satisfaction are felt, and a week later a new item is desired to re-fill the hole. Just like with alcohol, the high is achieved, problems are “solved” and then you wake up the next day and there you are.
Walmart (dun, dun, dun …) thrives on our addiction to consumerism (as they slowly, slowly devastate communities). It may be that Walmart promises you will save even more money and thus live even mo’ betta on this new national holiday, Black Friday (or Buy Nothing Day). “Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.” (Pink Floyd) Money makes people do silly, silly things. What if you didn’t buy foreign toxins disguised as children’s toys to begin with? Then you’d really be saving.
I remember some of the toys I received as a child … a ventriloquist doll that made me cry (returned), a unicycle with training poles (rode it five times), trolls, clothes that I wore, grew out of, and only remember from photographs. My favorite memories of the holiday season, though, didn’t come wrapped in a box. They are of the smell of my mom’s hot chocolate after playing in the snow with my brother and sister. Of singing songs while making cut-out cookies with frosting. The feeling of a full house packed with aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma and her quickly disappearing “monkey bread.” Time spent in the company of family and friends is more valuable than anything under Walmart’s fluorescent lights.
Now is the part where I’m supposed to suggest an answer to where to find the sense of rightness presumed to be lost in modern day humans. Songwriter AJ Szozda wrote, “you ain’t gonna find your wife in that gin” and I say “you ain’t gonna find your rightness in Walmart.”
A good place to start, and most of us do this already, is finding great pleasures during the holidays spending time with friends and family, creating lasting memories and traditions. Seek rightness in relationships within the community. Share your time, creativity and energy as gifts instead of something generic and impersonal. Especially now, during the “down economy” people are finding new, thoughtful ways to share gifts on a tight budget.
Just like Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity recently in Washington, D.C., I am hoping to restore some sanity this holiday season. (I’ll work on real solutions to my anxiety.) I think someone died last year in a Walmart after being trampled by bargain hunters bursting through the doors … let’s have none of that. If you’re out driving on Friday, slow down, have patience. Be kind to your fellow shoppers and the employees you encounter. Hug your children. Take them to volunteer at a soup kitchen this winter, maybe they’ll rethink the importance of an Xbox. Wish the native honey bees good luck surviving the change from this Indian Summer to Winter.
They are also more important than anything inside the massive cement walls of, well, you know.