America's "Black Friday," the imported frenzy of consumerism that hijacks our senses every year, stands as a glaring symbol of our societal obsession with materialism. As someone deeply immersed in health, wellness, and the workings of human relationships, I find myself vehemently detesting the ethos behind this commercial extravaganza. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for getting a good bargain, but this new religion of consumerism has a massive downside for the people of New Zealand which was once referred to as "Godzone".
Consumerism has evolved into a deceptive deity, promising happiness through material possessions. Yet, it fails to deliver anything more than fleeting moments of pleasure, merely scratching the surface of genuine happiness. The temporary gratification derived from impulsive buying during sales events like "Black Friday" does little to nourish our souls or fulfil our deeper emotional needs.
The repercussions of this consumerism-driven culture extend far beyond mere financial strain. It cultivates a landscape of debt traps, compelling individuals to work longer, often in jobs they do not enjoy, and harder merely to stay financially afloat. The endless pursuit of material wealth paradoxically leads to a profound sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
One of the most distressing casualties of this consumerist treadmill is the erosion of intimate familial bonds. The demanding work hours imposed by this materialistic pursuit force both parents into the workforce, leaving insufficient time for nurturing loving relationships, especially with their children. The consequence? Children are raised by strangers, and the essential sense of belonging, rooted in family and ancestry, dissipates into thin air. The subsequent void left by this disconnect is filled with a ceaseless hunger for material possessions, often resorting to comfort foods and mind-numbing distractions in a futile attempt to fill the emptiness, the lack of belonging or feeling truly loved.
Many years ago, while at university, I studied the genuine elements that nurture happiness, fulfilment, and self-actualisation. These elements are encapsulated in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and they do not include consumerism which is at the first level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs which are listed as follows:
1. Physiological Needs: While material goods can satisfy some basic needs, true fulfilment arises from a foundation of secure access to essentials like food, shelter, and healthcare. Ensuring these necessities are met is crucial for overall well-being.
2. Safety Needs: A sense of security encompasses more than financial stability. Emotional safety, a supportive community, and a nurturing environment are essential for a fulfilled life.
3. Love and Belonging: Strong relationships and a sense of belonging are pivotal for happiness. Fostering meaningful connections, especially within families and communities, is paramount for personal contentment.
4. Esteem Needs: Beyond material possessions, self-respect, recognition, and personal growth contribute significantly to fulfilment. Striving for accomplishments and feeling competent are crucial aspects of this stage.
5. Self-Actualization: The peak of Maslow's Hierarchy embodies the pursuit of one's potential, passions, personal growth, and contribution to society. It transcends materialism, embracing intrinsic values and aspirations.
Now, here's the thing: Few people ever achieve true happiness which is at the level of Self-Actualisation, or Transcendence. Sadly, few genuinely make it past Number Two - Safety Needs. They fail due to societal and political pressures to embrace the religion of consumerism. Consumerism ensures people are kept trapped in the mindless pursuit of "things" and hedonism. So there is little more possible for them to consider in life other than surviving from one day to the next.
As outlined in Orwell's 1984, the Kleptoglobalists want to rule the world without interference from you. Therefore, they are determined to keep us all stuck on the lower tiers of the hierarchy of needs! Noses to the grindstone and you can include eternal war to keep us distracted and subservient!
So, in summary, "Black Friday" sales epitomise a shallow pursuit of happiness through consumerism, overshadowing the genuine elements that foster fulfilment and contentment. Genuine happiness springs from nurturing relationships, personal growth, being one with Mother Nature and fulfilling higher-level needs beyond the hollow pursuit of material possessions and safety needs to protect us from mostly disingenuously manufactured threats.