Darwin is rolling in his grave. Well, more like twitching uncontrollably, maybe doing a little heaving, which surely it is hard after being dead for 125 years. You see, although technologically humanity has moved forth in amazing strides, other developmental trends have in fact backtracked into more primordial states. Which ironically is due to our greater understanding of our own psychology.
You see, we have learned a lot about our raw behaviour and the human condition over the last couple thousand years, which in turn, could be used for the greater good of us all. Instead we have shamelessly used this knowledge to manipulate ourselves. So, the more we move forth in self-awareness –a point of evolution which would have made Plato, Socrates and many others incredibly proud– we again, specifically Western society, have reduced it to a tool for selling wares by seeding basic fears.
Many years ago the point of adverting was “Product “XYZ” is great! Give it a try.” I would call that the typical idea of an ad. They have a product to show you, you make the final call.
Messages of today lack devil-may-care coolness, with most ads reflecting a more desperate “Don’t have ‘xyz’?’ What is wrong with you? You can’t happy. If you had XYZ you would happy, NOW!” Then they have some sort of sexual/financial hook. You know, a reminder that you too can be hot/rich/get laid or all three, especially in beer commercials.
In the other hand, a lot of commercials basically just insult or patronize you. The problem is that it has now become so blatant and done so regularly that we don’t even see it anymore. Can you see the insulting trend on these ads –mind this this are some of the worse– this one from McDonald’s, this Republican Radio ad? This mini-movie (read: long ad) rams its warning into your head of just how unhappy and lonely you too, could be, you will be if you do not use their product: Shampoo. Most beauty product ads are watered down versions of this one. Love how the guy just can’t have enough of her hair! Look at those beady eyes! She will never be alone again, ever.
This is really disastrous when you take into consideration that our brains can’t filter out the stuff. On conscious can for the sake of our wakeful sanity but not our subconscious, and if you hear something repeated enough times, well, it sticks. Studies have been done about this and proven true. So after endless streams of commercials meant to use your sense of self-worth to sell their product, what do you think it is going to happen to you in the long run?
Well, you get funny, nicely brainwashed people. Fighting over the dumbest things. Like video game consoles. For example, check this interesting article I read about the “Fall of Man,” which documented *some* PS3-related injuries on the days after it was launched.
Is this what we are using our vast brain power for? Brainwash ourselves into a Sheep global village? What is wrong? What’s worse is that we are aware of it and yet do nothing about it.
Since Television is consumerism’s main tool and Gospel –I recommend reading an excellent book called the “Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television” by Jerry Mander. No, no conspiracies or communist manifestos, just an ex-adman’s cold, hard look at the stupid box seating in our living rooms. If anything you owe it to yourself to be informed.
So, is Consumerism 21st century’s newest Religion? It already has its own holidays. Like Christmas, and my favourite, the United States’ own Black Friday. Where else can find you can find avid –and some would say, rabid– faithful rushing to a church at 5:00am?
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