I want to roll out a critique of the dominant culture using the following as a starting point:
I could have taken many other observations, but a strange voice in my head told me to use this one. What do we see? At first glance, the situation is simple. The prospect of becoming a “helper”, that is, someone who helps others, is presented as a desirable state, and is as such monetized. Something can be tentatively, potentially desirable but only when it has a price tag, the desirability becomes Real, the Object gets integrated in our value system. That is all rather trivial.
But what happens when “becoming a helper” is monetized?
Money encroaches on us in a fatal way. ALL satisfaction of our desires is no an act of consuming. No matter if we make others happy, do good, etc. Satisfying desire becomes equivalent of consuming. Isn’t that the dirty secret of the experience economy? The promise of buying joyful experiences rather than stuff, turns into the nightmare of being identified as customers for our every desire.
I call this the meme of monetization: A very powerful idea that will apply itself to everything when we don’t resist. We are always-already consumers. The very thing that makes us human, the desire to help the other, is the desire for an experience that needs to be stolen from us and then sold back.
That is the end point that looms now at the horizon. The only language that can inaugurate bare life into society, is the language of money. You are first an individual consumer of experiences, and then something beyond your own experiences. It’s the sad deadline of individualism. I want to help you – the most original, deep existential need and mirror image of our infant cry I want your help – has become a community.
Let us trade the ire for wonder and stand together, dearest friend, and look at the illusion of our naked life.