Strip down all of the things that you own, the brand names you associate with, the car you drive, the clothes you wear. Remove the music that you listen to, the movies that you watch, and the sports teams that you follow. Take away your affinity for wine, or for television series, or that politician that you recently voted for.
Who are you left with?
Most people define themselves by the job they keep, the car they drive, the brands they buy, the food they like to eat or the places they like to go.
Very seldom when you ask a person “who are you?” will you get a response of any substance or meaning beyond “this is what I do, these are the things that I like.”
See the average person’s dating profile on any of the ’apps’ and you’ll get vapid introductions, stating how much they like to party, drink, smoke weed, have an affinity for X sports team and watch Y show.
We have been conditioned to identify with the things we have rather than become the person we ultimately see ourselves to be simply because it is easier to be a guy with a beard that likes coffee and Marvel movies than it is to become a man of fortitude and resiliance.
One requires deep introspection, work on onself, and suffering - the other requires you to not shave your face, buy coffee everyday, and watch the latest release on Netflix.
One requires becoming. The other is available to anyone willing to go through the trials and tribulations of going down to the nearest Starbucks and sitting on a couch.
This phenomenon is seen in all classes of society, in all walks of life.
Much of our work is pissed away on purchasing the calling card of this identity or that group - simply by the way most people dress you could pin point their politics and their viewpoints on the world.
This is by design: how else would we know who is part of our team?
More sinisterly, the goal of whittling everyone’s identity down to surface level menutia is a way of pulling the soul from the body, replacing it with a deep nothingness that most people never come back from. They are lost simply because they consume mindlessly.
They consume because it is easy. Being is hard
In reading Meta Nomad’s Exiting Modernity, - the author makes the very cut and dry statement that most people are no longer personalities, they are simply culminations of the things that they have recently bought, the shows they have watched, the opinions of those they follow on social media, and effectively what they have consumed.
Most people are no more than their favourite sports team and the job that they keep. To me, this is desperation personified. It is the definition of “dying at 25 and being buried at 75”.
I’ve fallen into the trap before.
Because I have been in the real estate profession, it means I "have to" dress a certain way, drive a certain car, and live in this building or that building, right?
Because I use this operating system over that operating system, I "have to" identify with this ideology or that ideology (even if they could very well be good ideologies). I "have to" actively hate the other ways of using a computer, otherwise I don’t belong to the club.
I’ve lived for the weekend before, where all I had to do was make it to Friday and then I could drink away my problems (even though I’ve never really enjoyed drinking)
I’ve thought being a hockey player was all I needed to be. Or a guy who goes to the gym.
Only when I understood that I could be all of that, and so much more did I start to become completely who I thought myself to be. (Some evenings meditating or on substances helps with this, too).
You begin to question why you bought this thing or that thing, you begin to see that you don’t have to fit in to this box or that box simply because that is what everyone else is doing.
You don’t have to go full contrarian like myself, but you begin to dislike the mainstream so deeply that most people inevitably see you as that ’contrarian’.
But be careful - Being a contrarian becomes an identity unto itself.
The biggest issue I have is that we use things to mask our underlying shortcomings and sadness.
We look for the next thing that will sedate us just a little bit longer so that we can forget how sad and unfulfilled we actually are. How many people have you heard talk about ’retail therapy’? It’s because when you’re sad, or of really any emotional state, you are far more likely to purchase something to sedate the emotion - all marketers and salespeople know this: create an emotion, capitalize on that emotion.
The whole minimalist meme as I like to refer to it as is not necessarily the correct way forward, but what it does is set a direction which is productive to your overall life.
Care about the things that matter, stop caring so much about ’things’ and more about people, events, experiences, just being.
Simplicity is the aim.
If you can whittle down the things that you don’t need, nor that bring you any joy, then you will have much more room for the things that do make you happy and fulfilled in this life.
I personally don’t own a television. I don’t see value in living in a high cost city because it’s “cool”. I don’t want to own a house here, perhaps in another place, in a forest somewhere where I have my own land to know what I’m eating every day.
I don’t spend money on things that I don’t value.
I spend a lot of money on the things that I do value.
Perhaps we should stop being impressed by clothing, for the clothing covers up the shell of a person wearing it.
Perhaps we should stop caring about cars because the car houses a person deeply in stress, worried about how to make the next payment on said car.
Perhaps we should begin valuing hard work, soul, desire, purpose once more.
Then we will care less about the new computer and care far more about what the person is creating on it.
Become an UnConsumerist.
You'll be far more fulfilled - Trust me.