Summary: How consumerism leads to a life of regret.
In the past, I've described how consumerism leads to us feeling empty and inadequate. I also made the case that consumerism for women and children ends with material things, while men are consuming women, with material things being one of many means to meeting that end.
In other words, we need more/better/newer material things than others as well as more/better/newer women than others in order to feel significant and worthy of love.
The reason we “consume” is ultimately to have a better identity relative to others playing the consumption game. For one to give up consumerism, he must give up the image he has slaved over and identified with over the span of his life.
“Only when we lose everything, are we free to do anything.” –Tyler Durden
When this happens, he is freed from the shackles of consumerism. As such, he stops comparing himself to others and stops concerning himself with what others think.
These are certainly alpha traits, and by winning at the consumption game, we can cease needing from some, but not all people. However, in the Consumerism Paradigm, we will always need acceptance and approval from those who have comparable or greater identities than ours.
To exit the Consumerism Paradigm is to become a free and autonomous individual.
As stated, within the Consumerism Paradigm, almost everything we do is in service of our identities as perceived by others. This means that what we desire as consumers are not necessarily the things we would desire otherwise.
As consumers, we desire things that will one day make us better or as good as others. For example, an "enlightened" beta male’s “revenge fantasy” is that one day he will have enough looks, charisma, money, and women in his life so that he will have a greater identity than the people who once dismissed him as being “low-value.”
This motivates him to action. He will get revenge for his envy by making others envious. We can see that there’s really no one to get revenge on. It wasn’t others who made him envious, it was his false need to be “better” which triggered his own envy.
In fact, the entire consumerism culture we live in is one massive revenge fantasy.
Aside from choices influenced by our biological needs as well our addictions, almost every decision we make is done to fulfill some fantasy of one day being better than others in some way.
Instead of living by our values, we are constantly seeking more status through material things and vapid women.
When freeing one’s self from consumerism, the true costs of living this way become increasingly apparent.
There are the obvious costs, of course, such as needing better vehicles, more fashionable clothes, a bigger house, an extravagant wedding, etc. For these expenses, we go into debt for many years, wasting away our lives in order to settle up.
Since this is so normal, we hardly consider the hidden costs of choosing consumerism, many of which hurt us all.
The following is a list of things most people don't do which they would like to do if they weren't too consumed by chasing status. Depending on your values, you may or may not desire these things, but I believe most people do on some level.
- We don’t start that business.
With so much debt to service, we have too little risk-tolerance to build something of our own that is of value to others. This leads to our dreams and aspirations being left unfulfilled. It ensures work will always feel like work. Instead, we get a steady paycheck that is used immediately.
With so little time for activities outside of what’s “profitable,” we become narrowly focused on the bottom line instead of exploring our interests and conquering our fears. This leads to us knowing less about ourselves and the world. Instead, we know the precise inner workings of our mundane position at work.
- We aren’t true to ourselves.
Behaving differently than others can be risky. What you have to say or do might not be considered cool or politically correct. Others, not wanting to risk a loss of status may disassociate with you. Instead of being ourselves, we get to fit in with other consumers.
- We don’t give to others we care about.
When we leave consumerism behind, our neediness dissipates. People who feel they have abundance gain great satisfaction from giving to others they care about, such as parents, siblings, or good friends. We can hardly experience this joy. Instead, we always need more.
- We don’t make time for friends and family.
Because we’re working so hard to impress them, we lack the time to spend with them. We move out of state so we can make more money. We lose touch with friends, who suddenly fell off the grid once their first mortgage payments came due. Instead of connection, we have Facebook.
- We send our wives to work.
Because we need to pay so many bills, we need two earners. This leads to stressed out wives, uncooked meals, divorce, and ultimately, neglected children. Instead, we have Range Rovers and McMansions.
- We don’t see our children.
With mom and dad working 40+ hours per week, we have no time left outside of the weekend to see our kids. We no longer have shame about our anticipation for the day we can send them to school; it’s free day care. When they turn 5-years-old, we instinctively send them to a government institution for 40 hours per week because we don’t have enough time to eat breakfast with them, let alone teach them how to spell, read, write, and do arithmetic. We miss out on raising our children.
- We are not set up for retirement.
65% of us will have less than $50,000 in savings and investments by the time we are 55-years-old. Most of us will be working for someone else until we’re near death or dead. This is because we spend money on our identities instead of our investments. Maxing out a Roth IRA costs $5,500 per year, and will lead to a wonderful retirement at a reasonable age. Instead, we have more stuff we don’t need.
All of this is normal, and depending on your values, it probably leads to regret.
They’ve studied the regrets of dying people. Funny enough, none of them included not having enough status or not fucking enough sluts.
When you are one day on your death bed, your regrets will likely be many or all of the following commonly felt by those nearing death:
“I wish I hadn’t worked so much.”
“I wish I made time for family.”
“I wish I didn’t lose touch with my friends.”
“I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations.”
“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the one others expected of me.”
Besides regret, there are even more hidden costs of consumerism such as the unnecessary stress and isolation we put ourselves through because we need to be “better.” This leads to relapsing on our addictions as well as physical and mental illness.
It’s easy to see why depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder are so rampant in our society. Instead of killing our consumer identities, we’re killing ourselves.
Visit my blog On Consumerism for more.
Instead of living by our values, we are constantly seeking status through material things and vapid women.
This will likely lead to regret later in life.