The catch is, in order to generate our historically unprecedented degree of available material wealth, we have to consume at ever increasing levels to feed the engines of profit making, which then must seek out newer and bigger markets to generate a higher return for investors, or to keep up with ever increasing business costs as money is printed out of thin air, thus devaluing it- quarter after quarter, year after year.
To achieve this monumental task of permanent, unceasing growth, we have sacrificed our children, our souls and our sanity. We are, it seems, hopelessly lost, out of control, asleep, deranged, terrified, stupefied, made catatonic by some ineffable force dragging us closer and closer to an air conditioned, well moisturized, snack laden and cutting edge doom.
But it doesn’t have to be that way- and deep down, we know it, we can feel the need for a monumental paradigm shift away from consumerism towards something like sanity, which for most people might be described as a life of engaged calm, productivity without the omnipresent Squeeze.
Squeeze– a seemingly inescapable and unending series of pressures endured by American consumer/workers that includes, but is not limited to-
constant financial gauging by companies providing services we think are indispensable or are mandated by law, endless downward pressure in the work place as company owners and managers pass along the insatiable need for growth and cost cutting to those below them (their version of the Squeeze), the constant perception that there isn’t enough time coupled with a compulsion to become overly busy and to fear silence and or calm, to find inactivity somehow pathological while complaining of constant fatigue, a despotic loathing of anyone perceived as not suffering from the Squeeze, a jealous hatred of the uncorrupted young and their bright eyed, still intact life force, a bitter treatment of the old, seen as impediments to a manufactured notion of prime of life happiness attainment that fosters deep narcissistic tendencies and on obsession with keeping up appearances on a complex, multi-level web of social and professional entanglements, a rabid obsession with work, the belief that one must suffer or be suspect, an unquenchable need to feel safe without the presence of statistically measurable levels of danger for most people nearly all the time, the sexualization of literally everything, a psychotic attachment to sports teams, celebrities and manufactured personalities, installation of the belief that all suffering has a cure that can be purchased and ingested, or eliminated through self help media, and finally…the cornerstone of our culture, economy and way of life…the deeply held belief that something is permanently and irrevocably wrong with you.
The Squeeze. You can feel it, that tightness in your chest, the way your mind will not stop jabbering at you, your inability to really enjoy anything, to exist within the moment without classifying it in relation to some stress induced project you are keeping mental notes on, without having to capture it, document it for perusing at a later date- as if performing an autopsy on the corpse of your life’s moments, the moments you willingly missed attempting to stop time, to achieve marketing’s ultimate promise, to become eternal within a happy, pain free, extremely safe, somehow enriching and nourishing moment, to become the perfectly coiffed, athletically sexy, smart looking caricature you’ve seen in ads since your birth. You are almost there…but something is missing, something needs to be improved, worked on, attained…if only (insert beef with spouse or world at large, fear, frustration, self hatred etc.) could be gotten rid of.
A growth obsessed consumer economy has two enemies, reality and a sense of contentedness.
The Deep State annexation of privacy is upon us. The coma inducing post information age has made us numb, helpless.
What is real? The less connected to reality you feel, the better it is for the economy- from military contractors to pill makers, all grow profits when you are stupefied, frustrated scrambled into one of two camps- the low information rageaholic, or the high information depressive.
Content, well adjusted people with a keen grasp on reality don’t buy shit they don’t need (and produce far less waste). They are not as susceptible to conditioning and cannot be controlled as easily. They lack the deep sense of unease held by those in the Squeeze- they slip through the Squeeze’s black embrace rooted in an unshakable sense of verifiable reality. They perceive their faults as manageable and trust that common sense and a measure of talent of some sort are sufficient prerequisites to becoming a functioning member of a connected community.
They don’t want to be famous.
Without help from the latest self improvement guru, the adoration of the work obsessed, awareness of or concern with the latest gadgets, gossip or fad…they live flawed, beautiful, real lives…and they wreck the economy.
To combat the the self assured, reality based enemy, consuming culture effortlessly grows an infinite regression of markets to control and ingest the mental energy and capital of any and all niche groups. Let Bill Hicks explain.
Marketing, advertising and the dark art of propaganda, aka public relations, cannot be beaten. Any enterprise involving the exchange of money will be ingested, repackaged and formed to fit within the overriding consuming paradigm.
Bill describes the 1990’s in a two and a half minute routine. Recall the very real ache for authenticity felt by young people at the time. Even rock stars were not comfortable with the phony nature of being a rock star, perhaps the least real occupation yet invented. The PR people ate the 90’s up with a spoon. Soon “authenticity” was on sale in the form of ratty clothes, very depressed sounding musicians, dark and hopeless movie characters etc.
This eventually gave way to the EXTREME movement. Since experiencing an authentic life was a hopeless endeavor, you may as well eat extreme potato chips, listen to extremely obnoxious music that blended hip hop and funk metal, pay to watch movies awash in ironically splattered blood, sprinkled with pithy dialogue, spread extreme deodorant under your arms, and eventually tap out on extreme drugs like meth.
Adbuster magazine perfectly exemplifies what Hicks was talking about. The magazine for anti consumerism hipsters, on sale for hipsters to consume, labeled issue number 79 from 2008 as “Hipster, the Dead End of Western Civilization.”
They have you. You cannot escape. You are doomed…and you can buy magazines and other media to confirm your darkest fears.
Maybe you should see a therapist. Prozac? Paxil?
This is what we tell the most sensitive and aware of our young people- and we wonder why millennials come across as half formed mental defectives. Our economy as it is, is dependent on the rearing of hundreds of millions of new, ever more mentally hobbled consumers. It only makes sense that we should be getting softer, less sure of ourselves, of reality, with each passing generation. This slippage is simple economics as it relates to the core drivers of consumerism.
As the PR demons get smarter, obtain Big Data, and infect every aspect of life from cradle to grave, eroding our collective consciousness, we get sicker. We die with dirty needles in our arms, we commit suicide, we are heavily medicated, numb, frozen in the final heart crushing Squeeze snuffing out our collective life force.
The futility is so obvious people are waking up like never before. Beware the near future of marketing. It will be unrecognizable as marketing. You are your own production company, and Big Data will surround you with yourself to the extent that you are your own advertising. The anti-marketing market is too obvious and will be replaced by a bridging of the space between your thoughts and desires. There will be no way to tell the difference, or if the desires and thoughts are really yours. This is the future if we do not cultivate awareness in ourselves, our friends and most importantly in our children. If you aren’t training your children to become media ninjas, you are abusing them.
The way out of the sickness is perfectly clear. There is a revolution of mind going on independent of anything happening in politics. People are growing, building and consuming locally more than ever before. But more importantly, the old methods of control are eroding. This is why the new methods of control will not be perceived as controlling, but empowering. Television viewership is in decline, ad revenue is plummeting, the alternative press is destroying what has passed as the media for decades, artists of every stripe have immediate world wide distribution potential requiring no transport, the gatekeepers are losing control and we have only just begun to glimpse the possible future.
Your job is to resist indoctrination, to discover a sense of self without craving the programmed consumer buzz, to face reality without believing you are an agent of control destined to sanitize life, to inoculate yourself from every barb or blow with purchasing power, fad or gadget.
Cheer up, you can do it…
LOCAL CURRENCY- THE BRISTOL POUND