Here's another book I read recently, and that I'd like to recommend to y'all. I read it in two days flat. (It was Fourth of July weekend.)
Dematerializing; Taming the Power of Possesssions
by Jane Hammerslough
published in 2001, so it ought to be easy to find at the library
This book examines the way marketers get under our skin in order to convince us to buy, buy, buy. The appeals seem logical at first glance, but actually prey on our emotional need to accepted by others, to belong to a group, to have what everyone else has, to be free of fear, to be in control, to be just a bit better than we were before, and even to be just a bit better than everyone else. You get the idea.
After a thorough examination of these marketing ploys, the author ends the book with a chapter of ideas for defusing materialism. I am greatly paraphrasing, trying to sum up each point, for the benefit of those who cannot get a copy of the book to read for themselves.
1) "Consider that three out of four's not so bad." Go ahead and complain about the weather, but the dissatisfaction only grows. Things can't possibly be perfect, so carefully choose what you will and won't accept.
2) "Turn swords into plowshares." When others are trying to make you feel inadequate in comparison to themselves, look at the source and see them -- and yourself -- in a bigger context. The author refers to "toxic people" who deliver "zingers." But by seeing how their life really ain't so great, you can appreciate your own life more.
3) "Clear out." Declutter, but only if you will not run out and buy more junk.
4) "Dematerialize deprivation." Being poor in material resources (or even merely having less than you wish for) does not necessarily have to mean that your life is poor. You have richness in another form.
5) "Discover the intrinsic." Each of us has a physical attribute or skill or way of being that is unique, and that money could never buy.
6) "Question screen time." Limit exposure to TV and the internet, and the desires they try to create.
7) "Sleep on it." If desire arises, wait a bit. Examine your thoughts and emotions before acting.
8) "Reinstitute a day of rest." We need some "down time" to truly "get away from it all" and "be real."
9) "Create a will for living." If you had to write your own obituary, how would you sum up your "Life's Work"?
"Reexamine excess." When "super size" is being pushed on you, do you give in?
"Work with living things." Children, animals and even plants have needs that take us away from ourselves, and provide spontaneous surprises.
"Consider yourself lucky." Yes, you have gone through some hard times. But haven't you had unexpected bits of luck as well?
"See the spark." Recognize the divine in ourselves and each person we meet. (Not always easy!) See how our human spirit unites us enables us to do great things.
So, let's start the discussion. Have you seen any ads recently? What was the product being plugged? What was the underlying "logic" that tried to convince you that you needed this product? Did the ad try to make you feel an emotion? Which one? Do you consider the ad effective? Informative? Annoying? Stupid? Do you pay attention to the way marketers try to reach us? Or do you consciously try to block all that out? Do you think that maybe some of it still gets in the back door of your mind? When you consider an ad "stupid," yet also recognize the emotion it sets off, what happens inside your head? What are some ways you "dematerialize" your own life?