I wrote this post last Autumn and stowed it away in the Drafts folder to be rediscovered today. Seems as timely a topic as ever, so here it is …
“Researching her film, The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolescence (becoming unfashionable).” ~ George Monbiot, The Gift of Death
Mention the word ‘consumption’ 100 or more years ago — maybe less — and you’d have been referring to a ‘wasting disease’, later known as tuberculosis.
My grandmother used to called it ‘the consomedamnthing‘.
Nowadays, we mention ‘consumption’ and we’re talking about, well, consuming … pretty much everything in sight. The more contemporary dictionary definition says that ‘consumption’ means ‘using up a resource’.
Interestingly, there’s been an almost silent shift over the last few decades from people being called ‘citizens‘ of a place, to people being called ‘consumers‘.
You may or may not have noticed, but if you’re old enough to remember a time when you were part of the citizenry — a citizen — you’ll be aware of just how much of a mind-and-culture-altering twist it is to go from citizen to consumer.
It’s a big story shift, and as the saying goes – to change a culture, you have to change the dominant stories. That includes naming, because it connects to one’s sense of identity and shared (cultural, community) identity.
A citizen is a culture-participant. A consumer, as so called, is pretty much a tool at best, a sleep-walking consumption addict, at worst.
It’s been an under-the-radar identity shift, though maybe not likely a choice you’d have consciously made for yourself.
What Does Death (? Its Gifts) Have to Do With It?
George Manbiot’s post (from which the opening quote is excerpted) is a worthy read.
Don’t be put off by the title (The Gift of Death) — you’ll see what he means by it when you read his musing (and some of his others, too).
The fear of death, it seems, is what drives the greed, the power abuses, the rampant and virulent consumption.
The great mystery of death is a predominant fear of both ego and this particular culture, but those who’ve had NDEs, NDE-like experiences and the resulting (real) Dark Nights of the Soul can tell you that there’s little to fear in that.
Ultimately, none of us get out of this life alive, eh?
Life can be far scarier, particularly when you’ve got a sense of creepy puppet-masters lurking behind Identity Veils and mega-corporate ‘personhoods’ pulling personal and collective strings (and manipulating minds), too often for their own aggrandizement, greed, and ‘power over’.
Yet lest we get jerked around by the string-pullers and fear-stirrers too much, we can remind ourselves that much — maybe much more — of Life is beautiful, awesome, creativity inspiring, sustaining, and even seeming miraculous, too.
Good News: Change-Seeders and Change-Weavers On The Scene.
Building on the inspired words, actions, examples and foundations of those who’ve gone before us, there are macro-movements unfolding, and macro- and micro-activists reweaving the fabric and reconnecting severed roots.
There are simplicity movements, gratitude practices, and deep-appreciation re-worthing experiments. Down-scaling, simplifying, reconnecting with the pleasure of more simple, wholesome things.
With Uranus (Prometheus) recently arriving in Taurus — along with Pluto and Saturn (currently Retrograde) in Capricorn, Neptune in Pisces, and the other players in the grand Symphony of the Spheres (aka our shared macro-M-Field!) — what’s really real, what’s truly of value and worth is up for re-evaluation.
A re-storying, from The Consomedamnthing (mindless, frenzied consumption) to a new expression of mindful, heart-centered citizenship.
Such reflections and reminders can help us get a grip, go into recovery from mass-scale Mindless Consumaholism and its manipulations, choosing to become more mindful, less afraid, more creative, and more appreciative.
That choice affects a lot of people, for better or worse; with ripple effects that go well beyond people. But we already know this, all of us (or most of us, anyway).
The potential for good, for healing, for creative inspiration made real, is enormous.
We’ll continue to live into the question of greater potentials and creative experiment and share our findings. Shall we?
For some inspiration-stirring ‘good questions for now’:
Another related Sophia’s Children musing: Black (Madonna) Friday
Featured Image Credit: Landfill, Enviroserve
Re-Claim. Re-Story. Re-Vitalize. Re-New.
What’s your story — dominant themes and story lines?
How does your ‘familiar story’ affect your quality of life, your joy of being, and your ability to cultivate and share your unique presence?
Team with me as your inspiration partner, navigation guide, and Story Re-Weaver.
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Lots of love,