The most enlightening fact that I learned this week is the fact that consumption is not directly correlated to personal fulfillment. Although consumption has risen drastically over the last few centuries, studies have shown the level of happiness in people and families has remained stable. In fact, the things that studies have shown that do make people happy are not related to consumption at all.
To me this is a relevant ephiphany to realize for any one person or for a business owner. As a person it is so easy to get caught up in thinking that material things will make you happy. These statistics in Durning’s article prove that things like marriage, families, and friendships is what will leave you with a lasting and long term happiness that material consumables will not bring you. As a business owner I feel like this idea goes hand in hand with the idea of emotional design. Rather than selling or making the coolest, trendiest items and garments think more about selling merchandise that will appeal to the things in life that do make people happy such as marraige and friendships, etc listed above.
In my personal life I want to be influenced by this idea daily as a reminder that getting a new coat or a new dress is not going to bring me long term happiness and I think that is something that a lot of people struggle with. As a designer, I will use this idea to create clothing that people will love for a long time and not only for a season.
In Durning’s article he wrote about the issue of underconsumption being just as bad as overconsumption. I realize that in other parts of the world underconsumption is an issue, however, in Western countries that are so deep in overconsumption, I wonder how big of an issue underconsumption could really be in the United States. I also wonder as a society, if it would ever be possible to limit our consumption so much that we instead have the issue of underconsumption, and what all those issues would be in maybe the year 2112.