Monday, April 28, 2008

Downsizing our Pop idols

Justin Thacker at CommentisFree has some good things to say about the recent Joseph Rowntree foundation report on social evils. The JRF concluded, from a survey of 3500 people, that the greatest social evil was individualism and consumerism.

Feeding this worship of the self were the twin gods of consumerism and celebrity culture. Consumerism feeds it because every act of consumption reinforces the idea that I exist purely for my own sake. The celebrity culture fuels it because as soon as we start worshipping people for no other reason than their ability to attract such worship then our locus of admiration has shifted from an aptitude, such as artistic ability, to the individual as an individual.

In the report, the responsibility for this plague of self-indulgence was laid squarely at the doors of politicians, financial institutions and in particular the media (understood broadly to include advertising).

Thacker goes on to ask:
What if instead we pursued the logic of satisfaction whereby our goal is not the endless pursuit of desire itself, but rather contentment with what we already have? Indeed, what if contentment was found not in satisfying new desires, but in the deliberate relinquishment for the sake of others of what we already possess? What if personal downsizing became not just the mantra, but the practice, of our age?

It is more blessed to give than to recieve.(Acts 20:36)
Godliness with contenment is great gain. (1 Tim 6:6)

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