By Alfonso Basco
It has been a long time since we began to live as we do now. A model focused on: maximum production at minimum cost and unlimited consumption to generate infinite ‘growth’. What are we looking for with this? Have the highest possible profit, in the shortest time.
Despite this, a considerable part of society still does not know that our way of life is part of a specific system, an option chosen among many others. As many as we can imagine. There are even those who go further thinking that the options to choose are absolute chaos, or what we have now. This worrying simplification surfaces automatically when our way of life is questioned. The majority view is that a system different from the current one is equivalent to violence, disorder, panic ... and losing all our possessions.
If we look closely, the system is very well protected in each and every one of its corners. Little by little it has been establishing a ‘New Order’ that no longer only controls the political, the economic, or the social; it also controls our mind. This is why even at a time like the present, in which it is becoming increasingly clear to us that this system does not lead us to anything good, there is still the same fear of change.
Not too long ago, the prominent philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm, showed his present and future vision of the human being transformed into a Homo Consumens. A total consumer, whose sole purpose is to have more and use more. Among other things, he alleged that society produces more and more useless things; and in equal proportion, more and more people whose life is primarily destined to be one more link in consumer inertia. He was right. Little by little we are seeing that spiral grow in which from childhood, the need to compulsively consume is created. And above all, to consume what we do not need.
In the face of constant advertising aimed at extreme consumerism, the media that feed it, or a business and financial power focused on this model not changing, it is of little use to explain to each other where this dynamic of life is leading us. And despite what it may seem, the solution does not go through any kind of radical action. It is not about "erasing from the map" the power that dominates us and decides over our lives, but about changing the individualistic and dehumanized mentality from which this so unjust, so unequal system starts. As long as society does not change, we could again and again dismantle power groups or greedy governments, which would be replaced again by others with the same mentality. Nor is social inequality solved by imposing the same level of wealth on the entire population; but with the same opportunities, rights and freedoms for all people. Consumerism is not conquered through 'zero' consumption; but being aware of the consequences of irrational consumption, using (when possible) alternative means of exchange to money and consuming in an ethical and responsible way. Luckily, little by little this constructive message is being understood, although the pressure exerted so that we are a greedy society, obsessed with money and totally dependent on things that we do not need, is very great.
It is said that we are in a transitory time, between a stage that refuses to end and another that does not decide to start. It is up to us to accelerate this process and make way for what we demand so much. Let's move on from the protest to the proposal. What you can, where you can, when you can; but being part of the solution, not the problem. Of course it is possible.
Culture of Solidarity