Consumerism

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(From consume: L. consumere, to use up, destroy). The spending of things that are destroyed with use. We often hear the expression “consumer society,” indicating the phenomenon taking place in advanced industrial societies in which the primary needs of most of the population are satisfied and intense advertising promotes ever-newer consumer products that incite continual spending. This is a very pronounced characteristic that demonstrates the inability of society to be mobilized by values and other intangibles that promote the creation of goods related to the development of the personality and culture. C. is leading society down a blind alley toward demographic and ecological disaster. At the root of this orientation are the traditions of hedonism and eudemonism (from the Greek eudaimon: pursuit of pleasure, wealth, things). C., the enemy of any form of spirituality, places the highest value not on the human being but on money, things, luxury, the satisfaction of whims, fashion, etc. The ruling elite issues propaganda through all possible forms of media to promote and implant the cult of c., striving to enmesh people in the market’s cobweb, with loans, the games of the stock-market, debasing and lowering the level of their interests and needs until these become completely objectified. Of course, everyone wants to live in abundance and have all the things and products they need, but people’s true interests are immeasurably broader and higher than simple c., than the enslavement to things. Unfortunately, c. has won continues to win over the will of enormous masses of people. Opposing this dangerous tendency is difficult but necessary. N.H. sees the struggle against c. as an important task: the human being is not a consumer but a creator. (alienation).