As junior in high school, I am well aware of what if feels like to think that you absolutely can’t live without something, and like many others, I have fallen into the traps of materialism. Materialism is a way of thinking that gives too much importance to material possessions rather than to spiritual or intellectual things. Millions of Americans can argue that objects contain sentimental value or display hard earned wealth, thus justifying why we need more and more objects to fill our lives with. I however, believe that sentimental value can be stored in memories and experiences, rather than use these values as an excuse to hoard or to boast. I believe Americans need to reevaluate our priorities so we can live as less cluttered beings.
People in our society are always worried about the latest and greatest thing, whether it be keeping up with the latest fashion, technology, etc. Materialism and individualism in American society are the biggest obstacles to us. Companies spend millions of dollars in research on learning how to create a lasting memory of their product and brand in your head. Television is constantly showing perfect people with perfect things such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, E! News and even Disney Channel for children. Businesses want to appeal to as many people as possible including small children watching candy and toy commercials between SpongeBob episodes. You’re supposed to become devoted to a brand or product for your entire life—from your toddler years to old age.
The plague of our materialistic society is a direct result of mankind seeking satisfaction and happiness through the addiction to obtaining objects of our outward desires. There is nothing wrong with a hard day’s work in order to secure our livelihood or to experience the things in life we all enjoy, however, money and entertainment has corrupted our culture. Our population spends the few hours of rest we have each day glued to televisions that introduce us to the next solution to our discontentment, to our hopelessness, to our need or validation, to patch our ruined egos, and to fill the void many of us have in our lonely hearts. Personal satisfaction and greed are the most important aspects of life of the society driven by materialism. Each individual has to make some changes in their outlook.
We have to give top priority to hard work and not to any shortcut route to achieve success. There is a sense of truth and honesty associated with hard work which can give us immense satisfaction. We have to increase our knowledge of realities that are non-physical. Lack of knowledge of the non-physical aspects of our life is a major cause of the downfall not only as individuals but collectively as a society. Being self-aware and present helps us to know our real identity. If we lose our wealth it can be replaced but if we lose our own self then we cannot replace that. As students we need to learn how to spread awareness, starting in our own community—Dripping Springs, of how to avoid being dropped into the void of unhappiness that comes with material obsession.
Written by Clara Comparan