Monday, May 5, 2014

Effects of Consumerism on Society

In the diocesan bulletin a priest responsible for a pastoral research institute for the young tells us a tale from old  India. There was a boy whose strength was such that no one could compete with him. One day the king was riding on  an elephant and the boy from behind grabbed the tale of the elephant and stopped the advance. The soldiers went to the front and pulled but to no avail. The king, angry, told his retainers to find some way of overcoming the boy's strength.

A wise man came forth and suggested a way to subdue  the  boy. He invited the boy to come to the temple and told him that he would get a gold coin for the candle that he lit. The boy curious did light a candle and was given a gold coin by the caretaker. Everyday he would appear, light a candle and receive a gold coin.  One day he lit two candles and like in a dream, received two gold coins. Overcome with greed he began to light more candles and received more gold coins. The wise man hearing this said that the boy's strength had disappeared. The  Herculean strength that the boy possessed did disappear. The peace, simplicity, and innocence of the boy also with the advent of covetousness faded away. The energy and passion that he once had all disappeared  with his avarice.

Young people are the future of the country. Within the innocence and simplicity of the young we have the potential and  the possibilities that are  waiting to be energized for the good of the  country.  But like the young person from India without the control over their craving  the potentiality of our youth will weaken. The young people of this generation, says the priest,  are the victims of a consumer society that we have made. 

The mass media  weakens the way we judge, feeds our desire to consume, and our vanity. The media are no help in forming  good judgements  and in searching  for the meaning of life. This is actually more of  a problem with the older generation. The elders are giving the example to the young of a distorted craving for consumption which affects the way the young look at society and contaminates their thinking. This wrong emphasis on the culture of consumerism inflicts our young people with psychological wounds.

This desire for material goods is pushing to the edges humans who should be at the center of history. At the center of this consumerism is  success, honor, power and money. With this desire we are forgetting the young and not giving them their rightful place in society. Families should be teaching the children to beware of the excessive cravings for the material and help them to make judgements on the way we have formed the culture and the need to criticize the culture. In order to do this it is necessary that the adults become aware of the situation in which we live.

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