Black Friday! Cyber Monday! And then it’s only 23 more shopping days until the ‘Big Day’ itself.
Of course the Big Day is characterised by that rarest of features, namely the closing of most shops … unless they’re online of course. Perhaps we should be grateful for such small mercies, what with Christmas shopping adverts appearing on TV anywhere from late August onwards. But then 24 hours later it’s off we go again with the Boxing Day Sales, the New Year Sales and beyond.
How have so many people allowed themselves to become caught up in such a meat-grinding system? How have so many people allowed their identity to reduce down into that of habitual consumer?
Has their potential identity as active citizens – rather than mere passive consumers – simply melted away under the relentless heat of the mass-media adverts that assault us 24/7 from every conceivable location and direction? Have they been rendered mindless by the transformation, decade by decade, of pretty much everything – including dreams and even (in some places ) fresh air – into saleable commodities? Are they simply brainwashed by the clever marketing psychology that stokes up peer pressures, preys upon guilt, plays upon the sense of prestige and fuels envious fears of ‘losing out’?
All this of course is part of the absurd, impossible fantasy that we’ve allowed ourselves to buy into, namely the never-ending expansion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), year after year from now until doomsday (see Goldilocks as Buddha).