Consumption of Life, of Eternity, of Self-glory and Hate Toward Dissimilar Others

Consumerism as a behavioral orientation existed, as it’s well known, long before the so called consumer society. People owned slaves, serfs, servants, women, children, land. They consumed flora, fauna, human bodies, muscle work and skills. They consumed the sky in the form of clouds or the promise of life after death. Even the poorest of the poor consumed the inexhaustibility of a Paradise that was generously keeping its gates open for them through the magic of their belief. The longer the human species was settling on Earth the more people learned how to enjoy not only the physical but also the psychological consumption – how to consume the power of the powerful and the beauty of beautiful through imaginary identification with them, and how to enjoy their own glorious ability to kill and torture another people, to dominate, manipulate and fool fellow human beings and be passionate about all of this. They use their own inflated self-image as a potent drug making them feel euphorically high.

With technological growth our consumption of the commons has reached the point of destruction of the physical environment. With the growth of pharmacological competence people got the ability to function completely artificially. Belief in god started to be measured by the degree of protection the supernatural powers can provide and by the material success the believer has obtained “with God’s help”. The belief in life after death didn’t become less cathected – nobody can refuse a pie of the size of eternity. The feeling of life as “my property” develops in parallel with the growing greed toward “my” eternal life. People fight for their survival in earthy life with the same clenched teeth agitation with which they try to persuade themselves in their immortality that crosses death as the Santa Claus crosses the snowy frozen space to arrive at our Christmas parties.

Of course, the need to appropriate, possess and consume doesn’t start with “human nature”. It’s the orientation of a whole politico-economic system today, which is greedier than any animal or human predator. Strategically thinking members of the top social stratum in order to keep intact and enhance their control over the lower strata and other nations are naturally prone to treat technology and money as tools to help themselves. Decision-makers plan the future and define the present. They decide which jobs are available and which are not. Since the 80s the language of Democracy in U.S. (of sharing wealth, of tolerance, of politeness and orientation on humanistic education) started to steadily deteriorate. The consumer society became a strategic tool to shift people’s orientation from democracy and the right not to be abused, to consumerism – right to appropriate and consume without limits.

It is very easy to desire “democracy” if you live in a totalitarian system where strong people directly command what you should believe in and how to think. It is as easy as to desire consumption while living in democracy because to function as a citizen of democracy is much more demanding and difficult than to be hooked on consumption – to be in tune with democracy you need to go through education and learn how to think about life scientifically (which will seem boring and unpleasant because you lose all the narcissistic pleasure of being in the center of the world). Consumer society is a kind of a “positive” totalitarianism where self-aggrandizement need is satisfied through adding to your identity the goods and images you consume and the property you possess, and where scapegoating is “outsourced” to corporate/governmental international adventures. In a population made of consumers the awareness of totalitarian behavior of their leaders is absent as Ibsen or weakened like chickend.

The importance of Bushmerican period of American history (that can easily become a reality again in 2012) is exactly in intensification of traditional totalitarian features – crude patriotism, hateful scapegoating and primitive self-aggrandizement that were a bit softened during the liberal historical period that was more occupied with the development of the population’s consumerist orientation (Late 50s – late 70s). During Bushmerican totalitarian times, on the other hand, the majority enthusiastically joined the hateful scapegoating that then became as popular as the consumerism of the previous (more democratic) epoch had been.

The slick slogan of “war on terror“, the financial crash, the collapse of the housing market, and growing joblessness are the strategic points of making the population desperate until people regress from consumerism of goods to the consumption of their bombastic primordial emotions of self-aggrandizement and passionate (indiscriminate or pointed) scapegoating. Suspended (latent) fascist tendencies become obvious (overt) fascist tendencies. Rich usually find the way to keep their wealth not shared with others (after destroying or silencing the intellectuals and the most stubborn – politically active, among the poor). This can happen if Obama will not find a way to return the country to consumerism as the majority’s dominant orientation and the global conquest of the big bosses will continue.