Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all this knowledge about how fucked up our consumer culture is so I just resort back to what I know and I go out and I buy more stuff. Recently I impulse-bought a neon pink bra from Victoria’s Secret. It really shocked me that I did that, because mostly I’ve curbed my impulse spending and I remember standing in line thinking ‘oh shit, I’m totally just going to buy this pink bra for $25 without thinking about whether I really need it or not, what else I can use it with, or anything like that’. I almost got a rush – I was feeling so rebellious.
So it’s not like I don’t get it. Buying stuff feels good. But then a few days later while putting this pink bra on, I looked at the tag and it said ‘made in Sri Lanka’ and I just can’t help thinking about the person in Sri Lanka who made it. Day in and day out this person is making bras for pennies in the hope that one day capitalism will catch up with Sri Lanka and they will be able to get a nice job that will allow them to afford a nice house with nice things. Take all my days and all my time in exchange for a flat screen TV and a smart phone.
And if this is the ultimate meaning of life, I have to ask, what is the fucking point? Stupid pink bra. Of course, we now know that capitalism will never catch up with Sri Lanka, it’s barely able to keep the people it has already lifted out of poverty afloat and unless things change drastically, capitalism might soon set the whole world on fire.
Cause that’s the thing, isn’t it? You look back on history and all these battles that once seemed so hopeless were against all odds, somehow, won. Slavery, feudalism, religious oppression, civil rights in America and then the world, women’s liberation. Although we have to keep fighting for them, they were accomplished to some degree. But global capitalism is just gaining speed every year. There is absolutely no end in sight. In fact, if you speak out against capitalism you are considered ‘strange’, ‘stupid’, or even ‘dangerous’. And for the first time in world history there exists a system that has proven itself capable of destroying the entire planet. It’s not just humans inflicting suffering on humans anymore, or empires trashing their region of the planet. Global capitalism is so toxic and ever-expanding. There is not one place left untouched. Mass extinction of species. Climate change. Dead zones in overfished, acidic oceans. Desertification. City-wide slums. Pollution and plastic found in the most remote locations in the world. And no end in sight.
We are trained to buy things and now buying things feels good. More people buying more things keep the system from collapsing but now the system is threatening our existence. Yet all the voices we are trained to listen to are saying ‘buy more stuff! You don’t want the system to collapse, do you?’
So what do you do? How to you keep going, when it’s only to uncover more and more tragedy that you are powerless to stop.
I guess the same reason people always keep going. Because that’s all anyone can do. Keep reading, keep learning, keep connecting and keep discovering other amazing people out there. I think right now, in the Western world, in our material abundance, victory is the ability to say ‘fuck you, pink bra’, sit down quietly and make some art. Or food, or home improvement. Just make something. Write a story, even if no one is reading.
By leaving a mark on the world, you empower yourself. It is your way of saying ‘I was here’ and I’m able to make something out of nothing – which, after all, is the oldest trick in the universe.
Stupid pink bra. It’s actually a really well made bra. It looks and fits well so I’m not angry at the bra itself. I’m angry today because I realized I’ve been tricked into believing my whole life that I was born into an enlightened era where the true potential of the human body and soul is realized. That is a lie. We’re still some distance away from the time where this ultimate mystery of the universe – this thing we call God or love or spirit – will guide our every decision. A time where we will be truly free to choose beauty, life and health for all things around us. These are still mostly dark times. Some days I really struggle to see the light. Some days I feel ridiculous for even being so consumed with these ideas when all I really need to do to feel better is step outside into the sunshine and re-join the hordes of consumer zombies who genuinely believes that happiness lies in the next Gucci bag that they will be able to buy. But life is about choices and I choose to live in reality. But man, it sucks. Some days it really sucks.
So I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Dear reader, thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to be heard. For being part of my journey through the universe at this time, when we both just happen to be human. It means the world to me and I hope you are able to find beauty in the little things, too. Thank you.