Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not Consuming

About a week ago, a thought occurred to me - what does it mean to stop consuming?

We are asked, as citizens, to keep spending to keep everything afloat, even though we also know that it is this very drive, the drive to keep everything afloat, which is the cause of all pretty much all our problems.

So how do we get off this treadmill? I understand the Adbusters mentality of culture jamming, but I also understand that they are pretty much an established brand who would really like you to consume their magazine and t-shirts, and so on and so forth. In other words, they are not even hypocrites, but the G.E. Moore of the sustainability set, who think that by raising their hands in the air that they can prove they are more virtuous than bad producers.

But what is a more righteous path? What constitutes a reduction in consumption? Is it where every individual, er produces more than they take? But produces more what? If say, I wanted to try to stop consuming next year, what would that look like? How would that take shape?

I am not just talking about frugality here. And perhaps this is the stupidest blog post in the history of blogdom, but I am asking these questions in as naive a way as possible because I honestly have very little idea as to what being a non-consumer would look like.

Being a non-consumer. That's sounds really stupid, does it not? I have to eat, find shelter, but beyond that, what? What about consuming second hand things? Does that count?

In some strange way, I feel as though no one I know or have encountered has ever asked these questions. We all seem preoccupied with how corporations and governments ask us to consume, yet there's also lots of public pressure not to consume, but how does one actually not consume?

There doesn't seem to be much of a grey area here.

Because here's the thing, if I'm not consuming, I am still producing, right? And if people are taking my "produce", so to speak, am I not obliging someone to consume what it is that I produce?

It seems as though the only solution is to become a Buddhist subsistence farmer-hermit.

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