Capitalism has given us a lot of cool stuff. We have mechanical dishwashers, snap-together furniture, smart phones, and finally,

now US$6.92

A future alien civilization might ridicule us for having destroyed our own planet, but even they will have to concede: not before we accomplished this.

We have a consumerism addiction that functions like a drug addiction. We work at jobs that bring profit to some and meaning to none. We feel empty inside, and we start thinking about the little high that comes from getting new stuff. Once we realise that the new stuff did not bring meaning, and that even the happiness was short-lived, we feel empty again.

The importance of new stuff is revealed by Lulu, and stuff like it. It is not important that our new stuff be useful, just new.

It is in the interest of capitalism that we thus live. We must be distracted from every attempt to find meaning or happiness that cannot be purchased. There is no conspiracy. Think about it. The system gets stronger as we focus on work and consumerism, therefore the things that make us focus on that are going to be promoted and sold to us. The natural selection pressure is there, so it would be surprising if it weren’t happening. It would be surprising if there were no evidence of it. But in fact, there is plenty of evidence of it.

Once we opened the capitalism box, we were inviting it to create a ‘matrix’ reality with which to enslave our minds, so how can we be surprised if it did just that?

The Matrix must seem real, that is the precondition of such a thing, so if this essay seems like an exaggeration, you have to ask yourself, is it, in fact, an exaggeration, or is the Matrix telling me that?

Think about it.

You must permit yourself the freedom to ask yourself, for perhaps even one moment: is augmenting my consumer status making me happy, or is it making capitalism happy?

You might answer, perhaps, but if I can’t get new stuff, what can I get?

The answer is, you don’t know, either because there is no such concept, or because capitalism doesn’t want you to know. If you continue reading this essay, you are making a decision.

The answer is that happiness isn’t material. We indeed have material preconditions for happiness, like physical security, food, shelter, and warmth. In this matter, we are all equal before the task of happiness. None of us is going to involuntarily miss a meal tomorrow, nor freeze this winter. When I say ‘we,’ I mean EU citizens, because there is no other (political) group of humans with these assurances, and there never has been. In some ways, we are riding the crest of human history. Just because our conditions are special does not mean that we may ignore them; it means that we must make the most of them, in order to show other humans what is possible.

The answer is that happiness is mental. Once our physical needs are met, no matter how minimally, we are free to cultivate our happiness. Anyone, who has experienced happiness as a result of his own thinking, knows there is no other form of wealth.

This essay is not meant to provide all those answers. But they are hinted at in this blog, in the forms of management of similarity and lucid dreaming. This essay is an invitation to think about the drug-addiction of consumerism and dead-end of capitalism. When you truly believe that you have no alternative, you will look to your happiness.


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Switching Off

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