I did it. I have alluded to the greatest possible crime against “the Economy”. I have created a facebook page entitled “do not consume” on which I post a prohibition sign with the picture of a consumer item. It is intended to be a repetitive, mind-numbing message in exactly the same way the big advertising industry is bombarding us with pro-consumption commercials. It targets the subconscious mind of the viewer, it hopes to deliver the antidote to consumerism at the subliminal level.
Some have told me they think the message is not subtle enough. They said I should find a more sophisticated way to get the message across. I should talk about responsible consumer choices and lifestyle choices. I should stress the fact that we are not forcing anybody to consume even one drop less of anything. I should also offer alternatives: instead of X, use Y, silently assuming that Y is not one iota less “convenient” in delivering what we ultimately seek: pleasure.
But I think there is something not quite right with this view. When I say “do not consume” why is it not perceived in the same way as “do consume an iPhone 5”, the subliminal message that our children are exposed to everyday, yes they are forcefully exposed to it. And when we create one little campaign saying the opposite in exactly the same manner, we would be limiting their freedom of choice?
True freedom of choice has to evolve the real, socially acceptable, option of NOT choosing anything, but remaining where you are, who you are, without following the imperative of evermore consumption. True freedom is NOT a choice between Apple or Samsung, Republicans or Democrats. That is not freedom, that is slavery in disguise, and everybody who looks back on recent history would see this: We have human beings cut off from their natural way of being, the way they’ve evolved over many millennia, anxious creatures on prozac living empty individualist lives in anonymous cities, and on top of that a thin film of “choice” between a handful of different corporations, politicians, or jobs.
With few (important) exceptions, we don’t have rich human communities where people have real choices and true democracy is invigorated every day, where the hallmark of choice-freedom is that there is always a real and socially accepted option to remain things as they are. If a corporation comes to such a community and tell them they could buy a dirty gasoline car or a cheap electric car, they can retort “we are fine with our bicycles, horses, or pre-owned cars.”
[note: the electric car over its lifetime uses a lot more energy than a gasoline car. Think about the fossil fuels needed for the extremely energy-intensive process of rare earth mineral mining]
Everything short of NOT consuming will give the corporations the opportunity to lure us into yet another trap. And there have been many traps, biofuels being the most appalling one. Make no mistake. If you buy a “green” fridge that has energy category A, you are still buying a device that is created with planned obsolescence in mind, a device that only increases your ecological footprint.
We are not forcing anyone. But physical reality will very soon force consumption down to minimal levels, but then it will be too late. Make no mistake. The decline of this system will be even more rapid than its ascent. There is a crop failure in the US the mainstream media is not talking about. A similar crop failure in Russia 3 years ago had severe consequences. There is the war in Iran – when the strait of Hormuz would be blocked even for a relatively short period of time, it will cause huge economic turmoil.
It is your choice. Either you do nothing, or you do everything. And everything includes protesting, doing everything within your might to convince others, and NOT consuming the products of the destructive corporations.