I am reading Zigmunt Bauman's book "Does ethics have a chance in a world of consumers?" and it reminded me of the beginning of a sermon I once wrote:
I am not sure if you have noticed but our society is producing generations of people who seem to be increasingly busy, increasingly anxious and increasingly isolated from one another, despite the advent of social media: of facebook, linkedin and twitter.
Our society, which is meant to have freedom as its backdrop, is chaining us down, imprisoning us in a way of life that can be depressing. It is a life seemingly filled with limitless choices, but are we happy in our consumption?
As individuals we are caught up in the treadmill of trying to be in control of our existence; to succeed in our careers; to own our own home; to have enough money to provide our children with the myriad of opportunities that present themselves, not ever pausing to think whether they are real opportunities or just more stuff to do. We are fed the line that if have problems in your life that you have to overcome them yourself.
Our governments and workplaces have become increasingly draconian. Rules about work place health and safety and political correctness whilst having an aim of protecting us from ourselves also bind us into restrictive social, moral and physical behaviours. They also engender in us a sense that humans can be perfect and when accidents happen, as accidents often do, our first task is to find someone to blame. We live in an exceedingly and increasingly litigious society.
Advertising continually feeds us the line that we are not good enough; that we need more to be complete people; that our kitchens are not clean enough and that germs are all pervasive; that unless we eat or drink this product somehow other people will see us as less; that unless you wear clothes made with this label somehow you don’t quite make the cut. Consumerism strikes at the core of our self value and undermines us, it builds our anxieties expontentially as we are taught to covet.
It is a world not of freedom but of chains; it is a world not void of morals but imposing rules and regulations; it is a world in which people are drowning and are hungering for transformation. It is a world that leaves us trapped in the notion that the most important person we have to worry about is ourself.
But there is good news. It is the story of Jesus of Nazareth, who was fully man and fully God, who lived and walked among human beings declaring a message of hope and of love. It is he who sets us free to live as we were made to live; not trapped by the expectations of this world but gifted with a life to live in communion with God and with others.
Photo Creative commons Tambra "Kitchen Makeover 3"