Monday, December 24, 2007

we are not our economy

It so happened that I went to the mall yesterday.

I still shudder to recall it. I'm not a religious man, so I rarely go to church, including the Church of the Almighty Dollar, whose cathedrals are our regional shopping malls (I once went to the Maul of 'merica, but that's another story); but I am a man of a somewhat (and increasingly) spiritual bent, and I gotta say this whole shopmania raises my spiritual hackles.

Granted, it is that time of year; when, with the excuse of cultural (some would say, but I would deny, religious) sanction, we unfetter our already largely unfettered obsession with consumption (how can you unfetter an already headlong, world-consuming pile-drive toward self-annihilation?) and buy ourselves silly.

"Ah, but it's okay," they claim, "I'm buying this for someone else!" and gleefully plunk down plastic, make-believe money for objet de d├ęsir, most of which will end up in a landfill in a matter of months. Soooo, because it's for someone else, that makes it.... less of a problem?

And now for the What if... portion of our program:

What if next year you took the time that you would have spent shopping for gifts (online and live-shopping and travel time), and offered that to the intended recipient(s)? "Dear Mom/Sis/Son/Daughter/Friend: Here is my gift to you: two hours of my time, to do with as you please. With love, Me."

I keep telling myself I'll make gifts each year, and once in a while I do make gifts; but I have to admit that my inner Scrooge comes out at this time of the year, in a fit of defiance against the rampant consumerism, and he tends to dampen whatever giving spirit I may normally have within me. Ask my family and friends: I just don't do the presents thing much, or consistently. In fact, I feel lately as though I'm doing my part by not shopping.

But there I was at the mall, having to pick up one or two necessaries (even that word begs scrutiny), and I found myself amid the hustle-and-bustle of 'mericans, doing what they do best: consuming.

Folks, we will not be buying our way out of this sorry state of affairs.


At 1/05/2008 10:35 PM, Anonymous Algernon said...

It would be so very easy to do:


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