the process is the artwork

The crisis in consumerism

I was jogging nowhere on a treadmill whilst staring into a televison screen, nervously swapping between channels, in desperate search for something that would turn my attention away from the other sweaty emotionless people in the gym so I could avoid that eary feeling of meaninglessness. I was thinking “one step at a time” for a whole hour already, but my new trainers were pressing hard on my poor little toes. Suddenly a documentary popped up on the screen: Shop ’til you drop – the crisis of consumerism. Oh, I love the irony! Here I am joging on a plastic/rubber thing inside an air-conditioned prison, when I should have been out in nature breathing fresh air. Then and there I decided to let my feet walk nowhere a little longer just to get some valuable food for thought. Here’s the trailer:

“Is the Western world too materialistic? Are we willfully trashing the planetary ecology in order to serve the desires and drives of the ego? And what, or who could be driving this powerful force of seduction? “Shop ‘Til You Drop” takes a critical look at social injustice, peak oil, resource depletion and our deep need to feel connected to each other through what we choose to consume. This unique documentary also examines the frenzied pace of fast-lane materialism that is beginning to burn us out. We are just now beginning to yearn for a simpler life, but is it too late? Have we set in motion a runaway train that threatens to undermine the ecological, social and spiritual cornerstones that make the pursuit of happiness possible in the first place?”

My poor feet did not do well after I stepped off the treadmill, the toenails on both my pinky toes have now turned blue. For a long time I believed I would have to amputate. But it was worth it.

PS: If you live in Norway, this documentary is available online on nrk.no only until 19-01-2011 from URL http://www.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/693996/. Should you have any suggestions as to oher places where it can be found in full on the internet, please leave a comment! Thank you.

5 responses

  1. artistatexit0

    Interesting sounding documentary and I’ll definitely check it out. I wonder if it’s indeed possible to put the breaks on consumerism now? The brain has become physically and psychologically addicted and it may take a complete disaster to bring us to rehab. Thanks for your post.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    • Thanks for commenting🙂

      To stop consumerism is impossible, but to put the breaks on over-consumption is definitely possible. We have to start with ourselves, then educate the rest. What do we really need to be happy? Most addictions are rooted in the inability to cope with life. But like any alcoholic must know, the problem never disappears by consuming more; it goes away for a while perhaps, but returns like a boomerang.

      When I was younger, I used to shop when i was feeling sad, like so many others. It always felt amazing to fill the cupboard with yet another pair of shoes, but after a few minutes/hours/days, the high went over. I spent years trying to continously top that high, buying more stuff, which doesn’t just overflow the cupboard, one suddenly needs a bigger cupboard, then a bigger home, becoming a prisoner of one’s own consumption. We condemn alcoholism, drug abuse etc, but shopaholicism is a mentality encouraged through society’s many communication channels.

      I’m no angel. I allow myself to take small steps every day, but for many years now, the less time I spend in stores, the happier I feel. Anyway, we need to be honest with ourselves, and open our eyes to the consequence of our actions. My actions alone will not change the world. But together perhaps?

      We all pick our battles. At least I get to die someday with the illusion of a less guilty conscience🙂

      – Ellen

      January 11, 2011 at 2:04 am

  2. assbatclit

    The films from this production company, Media Education Foundation, are really hard to find without buying the extremely expensive educational dvd’s, but they have a watermarked (very) low quality preview version in their online shop: http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=148&template=PDGCommTemplates/HTN/Item_Preview.html

    January 12, 2011 at 12:29 am

  3. TB

    Hallelujah, I love it.
    I wish you the best of luck with your highly commendable and nearly impossible undertaking. Just by making a few people self aware and generally aware will help though.

    It reminds me of a documentary I saw a while ago..

    “the crisis, is a crisis in consciousness”
    J. Krishnamurti

    … It details the way that the monetary system turns us into slaves. Whenever anybody, basically anywhere in the world buys something, a lot of money goes to a guy higher up the chain, who stores the wealth like a dragon hording gold in it’s lair.
    People are buying from the very system that turns them into slaves, thus enslaving themselves evermore.
    We will always be in debt to the system that we are chained to.

    It’s not by chance that something like this gains so much power. Just like the Catholic church in the thirteenth century, the monetary system has achieved it’s immense power by pulling the wool over our eyes.

    Here is the link
    http://vimeo.com/13770061

    It’s a conspiracy (we have after all been plotting with each other against others throughout the entire history of mankind), and some of it is really smart, some of it sounds a little far fetched, but you can take and leave whatever you like.

    I agree with your comment ” Most addictions are rooted in the inability to cope with life.”

    Well put.
    I wonder what it is then, that is stopping people coping with their lives? Could it be a crisis in consciousness?

    January 12, 2011 at 1:12 am

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