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Materialism. Does It Create Selfishness? Or Does Selfishness Create Materialism?

rp_5798468679_59ea50286a_m.jpgHow often have people been led astray when they develop covetousness?  People see what other people have or they are taken in by advertisements that promote buying something new or different that everybody will want to have next.  I am a helpless fan of HGT TV and think that I want to have a kitchen with granite countertops and should paint my walls in shades of gray instead of beige.  Both you and I know these decorating trends will fall out of fashion and demolishers will take their sledgehammers to perfectly good counter tops and cabinets and trash them to make room for whatever new trend is being advertised.

It is even worse with women’s fashion and I am guilty of this too.  I can tell when my wardrobe is looking out of date and throw away or give away things that are not in style anymore that I still could wear.  I read a high-level fashion magazine where items of clothing and accessories sell for thousands of dollars.  Some of them are very attractive and I would like to get one of them but don’t have the dough.  I did buy a name brand fashionable purse once and was very proud of it and I carried it until I wore it out.  Surprise, surprise.

I am not offended when people pay more money for well made, name brand shoes and purses that they will keep longer than a less well-made item.  The same can be true of clothing, but sometimes I see skimpy fashion items without linings or support of underlying supportive material that ordinarily would add cost to the dress, blouse, or skirt.  I am not surprised that men, however, seem to do this and their clothes, however,expensive, seem to last longer than women’s clothes. and their styles do not change that much.

rp_374315433_150_150.jpgCars are also set up for planned obsoleteness.  I, however, would like an attractive, well-made car with good mechanical reliability that I could not wear out quickly and/or not replace until it did or until I found a newer car with features not available when I bought my first car.  A sign of the weakening of the economy is when older cars begin to have more value because people can not afford to buy newer cars.

It is interesting to note that people are now seeking out and buying vintage items of clothing, furniture, and accessories.  Things are still not considered to be antiques until they are much older than things considered vintage.  Wouldn’t it be nice if people developed their own tastes and focused upon buying things that were genuine and well made because they could not be easily replaced?

Do we focus on things rather than experiences?  Do we rate experiences by how expensive the things that we use in these experiences are and not how it felt?  Consider weddings, for example, people often value their wedding experiences based on how much they cost.

rp_AVaP8ps9-q4L3Kdb3ETm_150_150.jpgFor example, there was a wedding on the farm on the lawn and a simple fried chicken meal catered by the local grocery store which was served buffet style in a newly built hay barn.  There were individual cupcakes instead of an expensive wedding cake. Appetizers were served from an ice cream bar manned by some of the bride’s friends.

The bridesmaids all bought their matching sundresses on sale at their local J.C. Penny stores.  The lovely music was provided by the local church’s bell choir.  The wedding dress was a sample and was not specially ordered. The only participant in a fancy dress was the bride’s shepherd dog as the flower girl.  The guys wore khakis and polo shirts in coordinating colors.

All the cars were parked in an open field.  Folding chairs were set up on the front lawn for the service.  The officiant was a family member.  Just imagine what the whole thing would have cost if the bride had it catered, used a wedding planner, and had rented a special venue.  Would the memories have been the same?

materialismmoralandsocialMaterialism leads to clutter and the need for more and more space to store the stuff in.  Often these things require special care and take up time that could be used to do other things.  The Vanderbilt Mansion  in North Carolina is something to see and contains many rare items which you might not see anywhere else, but it  and its contents cost so much to maintain that it is almost too expensive to visit because of the entrance fees that need to be charged to maintain it.

Materialism can also lead to people seeking the fame associated with having such rare and expensive things.  Things can also become obsolete and need to be replaced by newer, betterer and rarer things. Materialism is the love of things and can depend on the reinforcement provided by others.

Materialism would have trouble existing in a vacuum where no one cares about it.  Imagine sometime in the future and some useless object that was part of a fad was found by someone from the future.  For example, what would that person think if he or she found a stash of hula hoops?

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