Sunday, July 7, 2013

Got Stuff?

What do Monsanto, Apple, Disney, and Stephenie Meyer have in common? The way I see it they are all in the business of creating stuff for the sake of turning a profit. Of course, I say that as I sit here at my laptop on my comfortable couch in front of my big screen television waiting to answer my iPhone (via Bluetooth).

"Ever notice that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?"

Now, I am a big fan of a high functioning capitalistic society; money makes the world go 'round and all that... but at what cost? As much as I enjoy "stuff", the more I look at my children and what we're leaving behind for them, the more I begin to wonder if the costs of consuming are worth it. Is it possible to reverse the path we're on and focus more of our time, energy, money, and attention on creating to improve instead of creating to capitalize?

Thankfully, there are concerned individuals much smarter than myself who are asking tough questions on the topic. These are the types of things they are asking us to consider:

  • If we grew food to actually feed people instead of to just sell food how many people would still be hungry?

  • What would our world look and sound like if music and television weren't assembly line productions controlled by just a handful of companies?

  • If we invested in science and technology to learn and understand the universe instead of just to be the one who sold more phones/televisions/computers this year how much further would we go?

  • What would we see if the best selling books in the world weren't formulaic, predictable, and based on the latest force fed trend?

Hmm...

Some of you are thinking, "Oh lord, the guilt trip continues" (or something to that effect). Don't worry, I'm not here to make anyone feel bad about themselves or the lifestyle they keep. The goal of this blog is to provide my thoughts and observations, usually on topics based on my newcomer experiences to writing and content creation, to generate conversation or get people thinking in a direction they might not have otherwise.

Lately, I have found myself asking the question, why are we (as a society) creating the things we're creating?

I have found all too often that the answer is to sell it, or even worse, I don't know, and that's a scary thought. What's scarier though is that George Carlin released his bit "A Place for My Stuff" on vinyl in 1981 - 32 years ago - and it's probably more true today than it was then.

Stuff is cheaper so we can afford to buy more stuff. Stuff is smaller so we stuff more stuff into our other stuff. We've made it easier and repeatable to create stuff so just about anyone can produce stuff and the internet makes it so that just about anyone can buy it.

My daughter created this with chalk in the kids' area at a music festival.
For as long as we were there it was the only section no one erased.

Why are we creating the things we're creating anyway?

I don't know, but I'd like to issue a challenge to anyone willing to give it a try:

  • Have at least one meal this week made with non-genetically modified, locally grown food, or better yet, start a small garden of your own

  • Turn off the television or video game at a time when you would normally do such a thing and find a song by an independent musician and just listen to it (there are tons available on YouTube), or better yet, go watch a local musician play live

  • Invent something to fulfill a need, or better yet, do it without having to buy any new materials (as a note, this becomes noticeably easier to do if you have children or are capable of thinking like one)

  • Read a short story by an author you've never heard of on a topic you know nothing about, or better yet, write one about something you do

~ Andrew

2 comments:

  1. Funnily enough I was able to have a number of meals last week on Vancouver Island that were completely local. Coho salmon caught by yours truly; fresh potatoes, beans, herbs from my buddies garden; and locally brewed craft beer. I guess some of the spices we used weren't local, but at least 95% of the meal was.

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    Replies
    1. Hey there Roland, thanks for stopping by and commenting. That's really cool that you had a completely local meal (except the spices). We try to hit the local market every week to buy direct from the farmers in our neck of the woods.

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