Before we begin, you must remember these words by writer Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) – “We buy things we don’t need with money, we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”. There is a large section of our population that believes that the purchase and acquisition of products is the only way they can impress people. For instance, the overenthusiastic young men who drive the XYZ car with its newly installed JBL stereo. Or the women, who have more accessories than the space in which to put them.
Now, do we anticipate that this tendency could lead to other problems, or simply say, this will change with time? On numerous occasions in the past we have failed to anticipate this problem as a society because it is not a familiar one. What we need to see is that things around us have changed drastically over the last decade; technology has come into existence, offering new solutions but also generates new problems. Are we ready to tackle this or are we willing to accept there could be a monster in this new closet?
Palahniuk continues, “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.” Even 20 years ago when Fight Club was written, it was the most honest comment on the de-humanising nature of consumerism and how economics places importance on profits rather than human dignity.
The people who have internalised this train of thought cannot be blamed for this behaviour, for this is exactly what advertising does to people. It makes them believe they need a particular product to elevate themselves to a certain standard or to gain recognition from a certain set of people. It degrades their humanity by giving them an illusion of what is perfect, but we must agree that we are all works in progress.
We need to celebrate diversity in the current era in which there is an endless war between corrupting ideologies which benefit by creating differences among vulnerable people. We need to see each other as humans, and that should be the message we convey to people, and not see them based on their possessions . Each person has distinct personality which needs to nurtured and cherished. If we continue to harbour such shallow beliefs then Palahniuk’s protagonist from Fight Club Tyler Durden has a message for you: “The things you own end up owning you.”
Kewin Kunjappy is a lawyer who loves jazz music and in his spare time likes to explore foreign films.
Read more stories from HT MaRS Youth Survey here.