Materialism. We have all suffered through it at one point or another. Clothes, shoes, books, electronics — but will it ever be enough to sate our greedy appetites?
Many cultures and lives center around the need for more and more "things." The American culture? We were practically raised on capitalism, the government spoon-feeding us ideas of consumerism and materialism since we were babies.
My life is no different; every time I see a nice pair of shoes or a pretty dress, I instantly want to grab them off the rack and purchase them. Every time I see a friend with a better iPhone or a better laptop, I immediately start searching the web to look for more iPhones and laptops. But I've learned over time to tone down the impulsive buying, the yearning for more. There are, after all, more important things in life than "things."
Materialism and consumerism aren't necessarily bad. The economy has certainly benefitted; in short (although it's not as simple as this), as more and more people want to purchase goods, thus spending more and more money, more and more goods are manufactured, which brings about a sort of positive feedback loop; at least, until either people don't want to purchase more goods, people run out of money or goods stop being manufactured.
But consumerism also takes its toll on the environment. As more products are being made, more products are being tossed into landfills. Many of these products contain plastic or other non-biodegradable materials, which could take decades or even centuries to break down.
Most importantly is the negative effect consumerism and materialism have on a person's mental health. Money does not buy happiness. We spend so much time in school and at work, all to do what? Earn money. We then use this money to purchase products, but have these products ever brought with them long-term happiness? Satisfaction or success, maybe, or happiness for a few hours or days. But then, as new goods are made and other goods become "unfashionable" or "old," the pressure comes back to buy newer and better things.
Work to earn money. Earn money to buy products. Buy products to bring momentary happiness. Wait until products become out of date. Work to earn money to buy new products. Repeat.
Although materialism and consumerism bring with them certain positive, capitalistic aspects, these two ideologies unquestionably also bring with them environmental degradation, reduced mental state and a monotonous and mind-numbing lifestyle.
Is this the life that we want? A life centered on work and earning money, only to buy more products and wait until they become old? A life centered on purchasing and producing things? A life centered on more and more?