Today we are surrounded almost everywhere by calls to buy. Internet, television, radio, advertising banners in poems and colors tell about what a person can not do without, and at the same time form the image of a successful and fashionable man who is in step with the times and is in trend. Media create public opinion, values, needs, certain social norms to which each of us should aspire. Simply speaking, we live in a consumer society.
A consumer society and a person-consumer
Literally from all sides advertisers call on people (and especially the younger generation) to take everything from life, to live for themselves, to live to the fullest extent, to give boldly to carefree and fun. An indicator of status and success (and even intelligence!) are cool expensive phones, trendy sneakers, cars, “stuffed” with all kinds of options, etc.
Today, almost everything is sold, and it concerns not only material things, but also time, skills, abilities, and beauty. There are even such services as “Husband for an hour”, “Friend for an hour” and many others. In other words, even universal human values are now being traded. It turns out that in a consumer society, real values become artificial (although it is controversial).
Whatever way we look at the prerequisites and reasons for the emergence of such a society, we will see that it is created by man. And the person in the consumer society feels his or her value, self-sufficiency and self-respect, not possessing some important personal qualities, but corresponding to a certain consumer behavior.
A person-consumer values himself (and other people-consumers support him/her in this) not for personal achievements, but for possession of things. He thinks about himself something like: “I have such an apartment, such a car, such things, so I am cool and successful, life is successful. And it is not necessary that he really likes these things. The main thing is that they are valued in the consumer society, meet the established social standards.
In a consumer society, achievements such as, for example, raising and putting children on their feet, being a good parent and human being, being able to choose and make decisions independently, personal growth and self-development, understanding of the meaning of life and one’s own destiny, are relegated to the background.
But these are only a few characteristics of a consumer society and a person-consumer. We can also highlight other features, such as increased personal spending of people, reduced role of small businesses, changes in communications and others.
The influence of the consumer society on psychology and consciousness
We can conditionally divide people’s needs into two groups:
- Needs due to the need for existence, personal and spiritual growth (food, education, housing, communication, etc.).
- Needs that lead to personal degradation (alcohol abuse, demonstrativeness, craving for things (substanceism), etc.)
A society that promotes excessive consumption, motivates the acquisition of more and more things, and shapes substitution values could not appear on its own. Social and economic prerequisites led to this, the most important of which are corporate development and credit policy.
Offering more and more money and promising favorable conditions, business sharks are forcing people to use some services, even if they do not really want it. The result is a culture of living on credit, a culture of limitless consumption. And, being in this culture, a person feels a tremendous pressure on his consciousness (and does not always realize it!) Let’s consider the main results that this pressure can lead to.
Change of attitude to work and work
The society, oriented mostly towards consumption, changes the attitude of people to work as an activity. This, of course, has the most serious impact on the younger generation. More and more new professions are appearing on the labor market, mainly in the service sector. At the same time, the vast majority of these services are redundant or aimed at meeting the second group of needs.
Everywhere we hear that life must be made easy; everything must be as accessible as possible. We do not need to do anything at all – just click the mouse button, and everything you need on the same day will be delivered to the doorstep. But this is only one side.
The other is that in just a few hours of unskilled labor (for example, distribution of leaflets on the street) you can sometimes earn up to a thousand rubles (and sometimes even more). After making simple calculations, we will see that a person without any education and experience can earn good money.
Proceeding from this, a person comes to an idea: why should I study and get education, if I can earn good money without it? This is, of course, an exaggerated example, but it is not far from reality. Thus, there is a reorientation towards light work and the rejection of systematic work, education is devalued; qualifications and specialization lose their value.
However, one can see how the attitude to work in the consumer society is changing in the opposite direction. A huge number of people (and here the issue is already predominantly older) are affected by the “epidemic” of excessive work. People devote all their time to work, earn extra money and catch up with trends, which has a negative impact on health, personal life, family relationships and opportunities for self-realization.
As a result, the life of a person who is constantly concerned about his financial situation, becomes like hard labor. In addition to this, his consumer debt is growing. All this can lead to the most adverse consequences, affecting absolutely all areas and spheres of internal and external life.
How to live in a consumer society
Being in this system, it is difficult for a person to always lead a meaningful life, not to forget about himself. But still everyone can influence the state of affairs, of course, not to “break the system”, but at least to stop being its obedient screw – a man blindly wandering for “authorities”.
The secret of leaving the consumer society is the most conscious life, well-thought out decisions, actions and deeds, the exact understanding of what you want and what is imposed by this very society. We live in remarkable time and aspire to positive changes, and, naturally, it is impossible to tell that progress in all its displays and presence of a huge quantity of the goods and services is unequivocally bad.
There are many useful and necessary things that make life more comfortable and easier. But this does not mean that we should rely only on them. They should be an addition, but not a substitute for our success, our mind, our personality, our inner world.