Sometimes I marvel at how much time I spend in the role of the consumer. Whether it’s scrolling through Instagram, reading the news, shopping, or watching TV shows, I consume a lot - and a lot of it is mindless. It makes sense, when you consider that the purpose of the war economy is the accumulation and enclosure of wealth and power, and consumerism justifies this purpose by getting us to buy into the idea that the measure of our own worth is our mini-accumulations. The only way to be happy is to buy happy.*
Indulging in mindless consumerism is easy and comfortable, and it makes me feel like I’m being productive. But in fact, my mindless consumption is not actually doing anything for the world, and it gives me a sense of dissatisfaction - kind of like how I feel after eating junk food.
It’s a lot better if the information we consume is high-quality, but we also need to do something with it in order for it to be effective. And that means we must balance our consumption with creation.
We all have an inherent desire to create, to contribute. It’s what makes us feel most alive and fulfilled. Since recognizing this, I’ve started to swap scrolling my newsfeed with journaling, listening to recorded music with singing, eating out with cooking, and watching TV with friends to creating our own games. And I wonder: what would happen to the war economy if all of us stopped feeding its addictive cycle, and grew our powers of imagination instead?
Today, reflect on 1) how often you find yourself in the role of consumer versus creator, and 2) the quality of the content you consume and create.
Identify one or two places where you mindlessly over-consume, and replace that time with creating something meaningful for you and your community.
Thanks for all that you are,