It's not just consumerism gone crazy it's much deeper than that.
Our search for recognition is probably the biggest motivation....No one wants to be a 'nobody'. It's terrifying!
The main idea in capitalism and advertising is the push towards creating new desires so that people want what they've never wanted! It’s good for our market economy but it daily threatens our fragile sense of who we are and what really matters.
As the possibilities of achievement rise in our world, we HAVE to be professionally, financially and sexually superior to those that have "made it". I often think about what our forefathers must have felt. Were their expectations lower? And if so, was that normal? Makes me wonder if Mukesh Ambani and Warren Buffet suffer from status anxiety!
Most of us will only see ourselves as fortunate when we have as much or more than the people we grew up with, work alongside and people in our public realm. I mean seriously, none of us spend sleepless nights comparing ourselves to Bill Gates! He's not our immediate competition!
However we may wish to ignore the real reasons, it's a disease_this anxiety over status...a worry about our standing in the world. Whether we are winners or losers it all depends on our capacity to gain others love or respect. Why?!! Because we feel we're not good or confident about ourselves if other people don't tell us so! Our ego is like a leaking balloon forever requiring external love to remain inflated. We are vulnerable to the smallest pinpricks of neglect...we feel we can be OK only if we're acceptable to others and only then may we allow acceptance of ourselves.
We invest in luxury because we want people to be nice to us! This hardly gets mentioned but the reality is that we live in a world of snobs.... Where we are treated nicely, where we can show we're 'doing well' and we are ignored when we cannot demonstrate rank and power.
So it isn't the luxury goods but the KINDNESS OF PEOPLE WE BUY!
"What do you do? Where do you live?" determines whether people will be pleased to see you or abandon you as though you are plague-ridden! Which really saddens me because I realise that who we are, deep down, goes unseen....we may have the wisdom of the sages or the intelligence of Einstein but that will not necessarily give us the social badge of recognition.
The bare, very basic reality is that it is our collective human need to be loved and accepted as is, in our naked, impoverished condition as babies. Fancy, overpriced brands are only necessary when respect is dependent on your ability to buy and spend.
So next time I see a person salivating and buying an Hermes bag I needn't think they are greedy but extremely vulnerable to being ignored!
Until next time!