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Posts Tagged ‘materialism’


Monday, August 25th, 2008

"I Shop Therefore I Am" by Barbara Kruger

“I am always telling people that our century is very important historically for the planet. There is a big competition between world peace and world war, between the force of mind and the force of materialism, between democracy and totalitarianism. And now within this century, the force of peace is gaining the upper hand. Still, of course, the material force is very strong, but there is a kind of dissatisfaction about materialism and a realization or feeling that something is missing.”
Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Back on the word meanings again. I do love how so much of what seems to be crying out for our attention is hiding in plain sight, or should I say lurking in plain hearing – in the everyday colloquialisms of the language that we let trip off our tongues without a second thought. This time it’s stuff.

Is it any accident just how eloquently the juxtaposition of the myriad colloquial meanings of the word (especially in British English) expresses the fact that stuffing ourselves has got us – not to mention the planet – well and truly stuffed? The sterner stuff that keeps us on the stuff-creating treadmill is ultimately just stuff and nonsense. We’re stuffed up with stuff. Time we told it to get stuffed. Is it any accident either that our newest coolest word for stuff – stuffage – seems to hint at a concept that’s passed its sell-by date?

I’ve just been reading Jeffrey Kaplan’s article The Gospel of Consumption which paints a disturbingly clear picture of the evolution of our presernt situation, and of how a more sensible, humane and human alternative was deliberately subverted. As one commenter put it,

“It is a strange experience to realize (again and again and again) that our society’s misfortunes can be attributed to the greed of a few and how far-reaching a handful of events, conversations, meetings, etc. can be in establishing a widespread, mostly-unquestioned paradigm. Kudos to the author for presenting this information in an approachable manner that will hopefully encourage a few of us hamsters to question the wheel and, perhaps, begin devising a way to step outside of the cage.”

And to go with the article, here’s some essential viewing (click on the image or here):

The Story of Stuff

As the blurb says,

“The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever. “

This sort of stuff is the stuff of real progress.

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard