These excerpts from Lee Camp, a comedian, writing on SheerPost are fitting thoughts for this holiday season for reflecting on a painful pandemic year still fraught with consumerism:
…the problem is far larger than just advertising. Our modern culture, due in no small part to the market economy, values and favors and supports and highlights materialism and competition and domination and selfishness. For the most part, it does not highlight helping others. While almost every mainstream commercial is based on wants or fears (and I suppose even fear is a want of security), we don’t see ads telling people to go sit at the train station and help old people down the stairs. There are no commercials during Monday Night Football pushing Americans to feed a hungry person… No, there is never any promotion of altruistic behavior except for the occasional massive corporate charity advertisement that essentially says, “Send us money so that we can spend it on commercials like these!” That’s the closest you’ll get to a promotion for helping others.
…While we all work in large ways to evolve past this system, you and I can also take small steps. They won’t change the big things. Avoiding buying from Amazon and avoiding filling up your car at ExxonMobil and avoiding getting the plastic bags won’t save the planet. (I’m sorry to inform you.)
Only true revolutionary change will create a sustainable future. But each of these smaller actions is an ideological wisp that can make up gale force change. They are the droplets that fill a raging river of awakening. Those small steps are the reminders that you and I live in the Matrix™, in a false reality — an inverted moral universe — that rewards consumerism, selfishness, greed, and war while scoffing at minimalism, altruism, and peace. Those small reminders help us step outside the garbage virtual reality. They are small victories, they are small voices whispering that we are human, we are more than our economic system, we are nature.