When something is new or different it is often seen as better than what one has and as something that one can look forward to owning or experiencing. Once something has become ‘old’ and one is familiar with it, its effects usually lessen. So what was engaging and interesting at one point in time, soon becomes boring and even ignored as time passes by.
And the modern day world reflects this dynamic perfectly. This has lead to what has been described as ‘the throwaway society’. The days where people used something until it was worn about and not longer usable are not as common. This may not apply to some people or in certain circumstances, but it is often the exception.
It is no longer a question of something being out of use or no longer having a purpose before one gets another. All that matters is that one has it and now has the urge to get a newer version or just a new one.
Intellectually, this may simply be put down to boredom and that one does this to experience more excitement in their life. This could partly be the case, but what it doesn’t go into is what is taking place at a deeper level.
One of the biggest areas this applies to is consumerism. So here one can buy new clothes once they are bored with the ones they have and get rid of the old ones somehow. These clothes don’t need to have worn out or to no longer fit.
They could then be given to friends, family or a charity shop; so something productive could come out of it. Fashion promotes this attitude; with clothes coming in and then out of fashion relatively quickly.
Phones are another common area and new versions are being made all the time to keep up with the demand and to keep the demand high. Additional features on new phones are often minimal and so aesthetic changes are made to maintain and increase interest.
And as well as these two examples, it can also relate to: cars, televisions, computers, furniture, jewellery and many others things. However, this approach is not only seen when it comes to inanimate objects or technology; it can also be seen in relationships.
At times a relationship will be going fine and running smoothly; just like driving a new car. And then will also be other times when it won’t; just like a car that is having a few problems. But this is part of life and not something that one should try to avoid or remove from their life completely.
And yet just how clothes are thrown away after a certain time, relationships are often facing the same consequences. They are not always seen as having good and bad times; they are often expected to be good all of the time.
So once some kind of conflict arises, the relationship then comes to an end. And another person is soon found to create the good times once more. This doesn’t mean that one should stay in relationships that are abusive; it means that relationships will have challenges from time to time.
It is then not something that only is seen consumerism; it is a way of being and a state of mind. And something that can exist without one having to think too much about what is happening and what is not.
This then becomes a natural way of life and as it is so normal, one is unlikely to reflect on what the consequences may be. As this is so common and society is built on this approach, there is not much of a contrast available that will enable one to see how destructive it can be.
If someone is in touch with themselves and questions life they will be able see that something is not right. As well as people who are from different cultures and who are more connected to the earth.
Each one of of lives on a planet with finite resources and so this way of life is not natural or sustainable. This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t buy new clothes or embrace what the world has to offer. What it does mean is that a new approach is needed and one that takes into account how the earth works. Recycling is also imperative and something that can’t be overlooked.
There is going to be all kinds of reason as to why today’s society is like it is. And something that at least supports this way of life, if not created it, is the avoidance of emotional pain. In this instance, these external objects and even people, are being used to regulate how one feels and as soon as their affect wears off, another thing is needed to change how one feels.
Pain is then kept at bay for a while and as soon as it appears once more, another thing is needed to push it down again. One can then up in an addiction cycle that causes them to lose all self control. This way of life can also cause one to come to the conclusion that nothing has any real value; everything is then disposable and worthless.
If there was a greater awareness and understanding of emotions in today’s world, perhaps the throwaway society wouldn’t exist or be a lot less severe. So instead of people looking outside for ways to deal with their emotional pain and using external options, they would deal with them in a more direct way.
This could be through one being able to regulate their own emotions and when this is not possible, seeking support through friends or by the assistance of a therapist or a healer. And if one didn’t learn how to regulate their emotions in childhood, then the education system would provide an education in how emotions work.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.