In the discussion, I brought up the drastic increase in the use of commercials over the recent years and how they are contributing to the growing consumerist culture the west has. This is because not only are more commercials being produced, but those that are being created are becoming more and more targeted towards children. This means that, not only is our society being geared to that of a consumerist one, but that the children of our society are being exposed to these ideals from a younger and younger age, compounding the problem by making it harder for these ideals to be shed when the children become adults as they have become the norm of their life. I also brought up how the drastic change in culture has also changed not just the way we shop, but also the things we eat. A hundred years ago, very few people ate meat, and most who did, ate fish or some kind of bird on a holiday. This is because, at the time, other animals provided resources that were too valuable to result in the slaughter of an animal. Cows, for example, give us milk, which in turn gives us cheese and butter which can be sold, used in another product to be sold, or used by the family who owned the cow. Chickens give us eggs, which could also be turned into products for sale or used by the family. These animals outputs gave them a value that prevented them from being turned into food themselves, but, with the growth of the consumer culture, people moving to the city, and the industrial revolution, meat became cheaper and thus more easily consumed. So much to the point that most of us who eat meat, eat it with most, if not every meal we have in a day.
My major takeaways from this past week’s classes are that one: Paradigms are deeply ingrained in our culture, often so deeply that we don’t even realize it can be something that is harmful to us; two: That a dramatic change in the west’s culture will be needed in order to protect our environment; and three: That America has played a large role in creating the problems with consumerist culture. We as Americans consume about twice as many products as what our European counterparts consume in a day. And as our populations grow, more products will be consumed and more waste produced. Furthermore, our western countries serve as models for the underdeveloped nations in the world, so that when as they grow, their people consume more, increasing the amount of waste produced, exasperating the issue in a seemingly never-ending cycle.
When reflecting on the mindfulness assignment we had this week, I have realized that I am not a big fan of meditation. Sure, it’s nice to not think about anything when you are facing a hard task or need to refresh your mind, but doing it every day, even for just a few minutes, seems, to me, like a waste of time. Now if every day you wake up and stress stress yourself out by something that needs to be done, than I am sure it’s lovely to be able to have a set time that you can relax and calm yourself down. But, if you, like me, don’t find yourself stressing out consistently, daily meditation becomes a nuisance that could be replaced with productivity. I for one, would rather be slightly stressed out on occasion, but highly productive, than meditate everyday, regardless of my stress level, and lose out on precious time that is needed to accomplish whatever needs to be done.