There’s always more to consume.
But there’s always less time.
I’m reminded, always, of negative things when I hear the word ‘consumption’ or any of it’s ilk. Recently thinking about it triggered a memory I couldn’t get out of my head; which I’d seen back in my heyday of Magic the Gathering at the turn of the millennium. I think it rather perfectly sums up my feelings on consumption… vile.
Basically, we all either sacrifice our things, or we sacrifice our health, and there is no other choice. There are many deeper ways to dig into this, but I’ll leave it to each of you to take from it what you will.
This isn’t to say that I hate consuming, consumers, or consumption in general. I rather enjoy it, of course, but I have had to take a look at what that means in my life recently and it is not so pretty.
We could go into how we treat the planet, how we live in debt, how we gorge ourselves daily, etc. I’ll touch on some of these, but don’t plan to dig deep into any single one, I’d rather just talk about my feelings and observations on it all.
Kicking things off with something interesting – there isn’t enough time in the world for a single person to read every book available.
Think about that! It is actually pretty insane and amazing! We, as a species, have created so many stories -fact and fiction- that at this point, no single one of us could consume it all even if we wanted to.
There isn’t enough time in the world for a single person to watch every movie available. Even if you stuck with just the major full-length motion features produced only in Hollywood, it would still take you over 23 years watching 8 hours a day, every single day! Which no reasonable person would ever do. Not to mention you’d have 23 years worth of new movies left to watch after those first 23 years were finished.
It is staggering to contemplate the sheer amount of things we have created as a species. Both in fantastically wonderful ways and in hideously terrible ways. It really does go to show you the power we are capable of and why we need to reign in the irresponsible way we’ve wielded that power over the years we’ve spent on Earth.
In order to consume, there must be creation! The Earth took care of a majority of that for us. Beyond that, humans are so good at creating that we break the mold of living in harmony with the planet. This could have been for good, but thus far, greed has driven us in the opposite direction. Everything on the planet lives in equilibrium with it except for us. There is a give and take and it is roughly even, with very little change to the over all process. A natural law of sorts (spoken of in Ishmael, great book) which is akin to the Conservation of Energy in that the creation and consumption balance out and the systems in place only change gradually over very long periods of time.
So by breaking that mold, we were able to improve on systems. This is the foundation of civilization as we know it, altering systems till we are able to move things with wheels, create light from energy, and eventually to sit at a desk and type on a keyboard and broadcast our thoughts to every living soul on the planet in a single moment.
Based on our history, I shouldn’t have expected anything less than dystopia, consuming ourselves out of a world – but we could just as easily have created a utopia if we had fought our urges for greed and gluttony.
We’ve also shifted our consumption as well. It is being pulled in so many directions these days with all the different forms of entertainment and things we can get, and now all the different social media platforms in which we consume each other’s lives. We are to the point where we are directly consuming from the source. It is distinctly different than other forms of entertainment in that it makes us all creators as well. And this is actually a profound idea. The idea that in the future we will all make and consume directly from only our favorite sources for virtually everything we want/need.
Imagine a decentralized world in which I don’t have to deal with a bank or store or an office or even a specific website to get what I want, when I want it, for all things, even food and water!? Blockchain, but for life, something along the lines of what Ethereum is after.
Harking back to my first sentence, there will be more ‘stuff’ to consume than ever before once all of us is a creator, and we are definitely marching towards that direction.
And harking back to my second sentence, we are all running out of time to consume it.
I can’t help but see our world as a mixture of something out of the dystopian fame and power hungry world of Transmetropolitan and Cash Crash Jubilee were all actions are intellectual properties that everyone is paying for every second and everything appears through the audiovisual digital medium in your eye.
For my own life, I know I need to watch what I consume, and I’ve started doing that. It actually feels good and is empowering once you recognize just how much you consume in you day to day activities. Just how much you are urged to consume by everything that you perceive in your daily life. This is without even mentioning planned obsolescence.
It is bewildering just how much we are burdened by Vile Consumption!