“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” Jim Carrey
We spend so much time searching. Searching for that perfect dress, the perfect job, the perfect car, the perfect life but nothing quite satisfies us. We are desperate to fill this void within us. So we buy stuff, lots of stuff. We pile up our wardrobes, work the extra hour. Wait for the next big sale and own the latest iPhones. All because spending brings happiness. Sporting the latest trend defines your social stance. You want to look good on Instagram, cuz looking good means feeling good. Oh, you do feel good, very good…..and yet you wonder why? Why this longing for more? What did you miss? Why do you still feel empty inside? Don’t you own the latest of everything? Weren’t you supposed to feel complete? Maybe you were so engrossed trying to fill the void that you actually forgot how to feel.
Can’t really blame ourselves. We all have within us, that innate craving for more. This craving essentially kept the early humans alive in harsh conditions but today it creates a sense of disconnect. It’s essentially why people consume more than what they must. Why people buy more than one phone, for example. The first phone creates an exponential awesome wave of happiness, joy and utility. The second phone comes because we tire of the first and as humans, we are hardwired to be dissatisfied. It’s an addiction we are encouraged to maintain information and technology. There’s this allusion in our culture, about how our lives should look like. Whether its advertising or our Instagram feed, we are led to believe that having a certain kind of life will lead us feeling whole. It is natural for us to use the life of our celebrities as a yardstick, to define what a perfect life should look like. Through advertisement, we come across these sexy and glamorous lives. So for most people, the goal is how they can attain that life, or how close they can get to it. We get a lot of dissatisfaction trying to live that way and yet for most, it’s their only way of living. The advertisement has infiltrated and polluted our culture. It’s in our movies, our books, our offices, our rooftops; it’s everywhere. It’s not something that happened in a day. This is something that has been sold to us for the past few decades, slowly and surely by those who want to make a lot of money. They want us to believe that we really need these stuff.
Summing up our desires in a sparkly materialistic way is interesting. You crave over something, then the newer version comes out. Now you no longer want what you have, in fact, it becomes a source of dissatisfaction. We are senile about the things that make us happy. Most of us believe that materialistic possessions will make us whole. We expect that fulfilling each desire that arises will somehow summate into a more satisfying life. It is clear that as humans, we have a strong attachment towards humans who care about us. This attachment sometimes spills over to objects as if they were as important as humans. Yet, we cant say we have the same kind of attachment to things. The problem with our society is that we are too materialistic. Yet, we are not at all materialistic enough in the true sense of the word. As materialists, we need to care about the materiality of stuff that we own. Instead, the focus is on its symbolic meaning. We focus on what they do to position us in the status quo, based on advertisement and marketing says they are about. This is not only affecting our lifestyle but also our environment. This mindless consumption, this thing that’s not making us happy is also causing the degradation of our habitat. The burning of fuels to power our consumer economy. The production of stuff that we don’t actually need. It’s taking a toll on this spinning chunk of rock we call home. We can never expect to get the environmental gains that we are seeking, while still expecting our lives to be the same. We have to give up, a lot.
What we all need right now is a wake-up call. Something to break us from the illusionary shackles of what our lives must look like. The realization that our lives are the portrayal of our thoughts and free will. We need to rid ourselves of the noise that we have been fed over the decades. We need to declutter our lives and claim it as our own. It’s not about mindless consumption, more about mindful contemplation. Once we realize that we can find happiness within ourselves. Only then can we start filling the void. Only then can we start our journey for feeling whole.