Sunday, May 11, 2008

Take your desires back from advertisers and social engineering

Sometimes I think that parts of anti-consumerism are misguided. Not the whole not wanting to have a lifestyle that will kill the planet thing, but the implicit ethics of some of it. We may be programmed to want certain things, for certain reasons, because of certain associations they have for us, but even though that particular desire is engineered the underlying desire that that relies on may in fact be normal and healthy, and shouldn't be denied. The objective would be to find alternate ways of realizing it beyond those established by the media, society, government, school, religion, etc.. If a product is selling fulfillment, say it's a car that if you actually are able to get a loan for will trap you in completely unnecessary debt for years to come. Why do you want it? Maybe you like the image of life that the person driving it in the commercial has. Ok, so what is it about that style of life that you like? Is there any way to realize that style of life or at least those values and goals without buying a fucking car that you don't really need or want? Maybe it would be better to pursue those goals in a more neutral fashion in order to get fulfilled in the way that you think buying the car will do.

Maybe the desire is kind of not right, like wanting a fast muscle car in order to sleep with lots of scantily clad ladies. Yet, the desire for sexual satisfaction isn't wrong, and there are of course healthy avenues in which you can pursue this. Looking at what attracts you in ads may help you find out what you really want that they're jerking you around with.

Hat tip to D.W. of the ToS for talking about this in his few paragraphs on "Indulgence" in his book MotToS.

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