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Gluttonous Consumer Society and Excessive Advertising Variety

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Ten years ago, a major northeastern newspaper reported that nearly 60% of survey respondents complained about the excessive nature of American corporate advertising. Voluminously incessant, viewers said they felt not only overwhelmed but also annoyed. Many indicated they would not purchase products from companies perceived as overpowering them with ads. After a decade, technology to push sales and promotional gimmicks has changed. Every electronic means of human interaction is inundated by ever-increasing advertisements. From phone apps to “tubes”, a promo for something, anything, stuff to be sold, is up close, in the face, and personal.

In a gluttonous consumption oriented society, increasingly materialistic, the grotesque nature of such informational schemes should not come as a surprise. From spam to “stealth” advertising by sneaky product placement, in addition to “hero worship” sales gimmicks, or “guru celebrity” endorsement, pervade the reaches of social media. In another survey, while stats are inclined to serve subjective validation, 70% of participants wanted to find ad blocking apps in order to avoid as much advertising as possible. Such responses are increasingly antagonistic years later.

Of a particularly insidious usage, is the ad that appears during a documentary of a serious social issue. For instance, in this case, the “social issue” cited here is one of hideous human infliction upon others. This includes criminal acts of violence, like murder, rape, torture, or terroristic beheadings and so forth. Before the film clip can be shown, using one of the major “tube” networks, or other network outlet, a 15-30-second sales pitch is offered. The examples are numerous, callous and condescending to the serious subject matter that may unfold. All of which perpetrates consumption.

Before you can watch a movie at the local theater, the moviegoers are subjected to a barrage of advertising. Sodas are marketed with clever cover stories about helping the environment or promoting world peace yet contain unhealthy “poisons”. At the same time, most food commodities are potentially deadly over time and dangerous to personal health. Other ads sell communications equipment using condescending stereotypes supposedly exhibited as some form of comedy. The list could be endless as the gluttony is never-ending the finality is terminally descending.

Barrage of advertising gimmicks floods the airwaves, social media, online information sources, as well as the never-ending steam of cell phone apps. As the onslaught escalates, the subtle degradation justifies maladaptive choices, whereby there is an increasing willingness to allow a “dumbing down” atmosphere in which emotion stifles reason. More often witnessed by those more discerning is the loss of creativity and the celebration that stupid is funny. Meanwhile, scientific validation by way of evidence is shunned or overlooked. Foolish behaviors hasten social regression.

The dawn of future dystopia eerily looms closer. Some futurists from fields of science mourn the lost opportunities to transform human civilization. Once there was time by which storytelling sought a higher plane of virtuous encouragement. For fable, stories and parables, the intentions sought to inspire and motivate thoughtfulness for the sake of personal transformation. but, in post-modern America, what seems a regressive trend is the lack of creativity in telling any kind of story.

Fearlessness in boldly embracing the risks of pursuing the hard work of self-differentiation, by exceptional mental and physical change, instead is replaced by fearfulness. Frequently, this conception devolves to the cowardice of choosing the easy way out. Still though, as one might argue there are exceptions, of course there are noble examples of daring exceptionality. That is what “exception’ infers and it is the singularity of the exclusion that concedes its narrow definition. Such is not a universal attribute to raise the extraordinary potential of the vast numbers of humans.

For many, consumption rationalizes, satiates and over-simplifies the false sense of security in the bias of “success”. From a dystopic standpoint, it is about the emotionalism that reinforces the negativity of selfishness and disregard for others. In the aftermath of a major national holiday, to what extent does discourteous and disrespectful behavior increase? Self-indulgent condescension toward others can be seen in widespread zealousness to get something before others do.

The so called “black Friday” or “cyber Monday” symbolize the greed, corruption and excess of a devolving culture. Once great and once creative, such a society now devolves to the shallowness of easy acquisition and lazy ideologies. Overweight and bloated by the weaknesses of self-gratification, the vast majority depends on others to make them feel happy, safe and assured of a false sense of security.

While the illusion of “hope springs eternal” for the excess of self-gratification, the majority of consumers willfully satiate their desires by acquiring more and more. Most have accepted the deception of the “American Dream. For a large number of people, the luxury of such actualities is the largess for the middle and upper income statuses. There remains a portion of the population who, in spite of the wealth around them, struggle every day for socio-economic survival. For the upper levels, much of course is the amative indulgence in credit and debt expansion. In this regard as a side note, one business magazine pointed out that U.S. consumer indebtedness is dangerously high.

Over the years, consumer debt, credit cards and fixed loans, increased. For instance, in 2016, the reported liability, not government or corporate debt, but personal obligation, rose over 6%, to nearly $4 trillion. Some government officials will be quick to say that consumer debt, fueled by the “American Dream”, pushes the economy and contributes to economic growth. However, as with all things human, there is a dark side. A question arises as to how good or bad individual debt is for society.

Such claims are not without risk of pressing the regression of calamitous probabilities into a devolving nexus of extinction. The point of no return, or as some might suggest, human civilization is beyond the tipping point. All of which provokes ethical questions as to who, what, where and how many benefit from a contrast between increased debt and increased wealth. Not surprisingly, and it should not take a lengthy study to draw a conclusion. typically, more and more, the data suggest a small percentage of the population actually benefit in the long run. The point here however is to consider the excesses in consumption versus the advancement of the human species.

The obsession of the advertising and marketing realm has reached extraordinary proportions in the “techno-age” of social media and “infotainment”. As one writer in a major business magazine has pointed out, “branding” uses misery to simply “make more money”. In the wake of tragic events, natural disasters or horrific crimes, the arrogance of product promotion finds ways to interfere with informational and investigative processes. Everywhere, as mentioned earlier, all hours of the day, people are bombarded with one sales gimmick after another. It’s not enough to annoy a postal patron with an endless stream of unsolicited ads in the mail. Now, stop and get gas for your car. Instantly, you press the buttons, pick up the hose nozzle, and the gas pump talks to you.

No matter where you go, if you are connected to world in any way, from apartment to workplace, you are inundated with marketing gimmicks. Sometimes these messages are dangerous and represent tactics to defraud you or your computer system. Additionally, the mailbox outside your house, the “mailbox” in your computer, are stuffed with unsolicited advertisements. From inside your residence, by way of standard telephone line service, or cellular device, the marketing scams and schemes seldom stop. Front door knobs get hangtags, and plastic encased sales ads are tossed on the yard.

In a 2016 article in a consumer oriented online magazine, the question was posed as to how much is too much in terms of advertising. According to the “experts” it is estimated that the average person is exposed to upwards of about 6,000 ads per day. Now, considering that there is such a thing as the “average” person, and this data is a reasonable approximation, each person must consider protective countermeasures. One tactic is simply to get a diversion from the interruption.

Many ads in social media and “edutainment” venues appear at inappropriate times. On most occasions the response is to ignore the disturbance and click past the “commercial” break. Unfortunately, in some cases the ad won’t go away until 15 to 30 seconds pass, or even longer annoying interludes. Harassing, condescending, and insulting, advertising in the post-modern era lacks good taste and serious creativity. Naturally, that is one perspective, as others may share a different view. Regardless, one cannot completely escape the caustic obsessiveness with ad promotions nearly everywhere.

It would be somewhat strange if you could actually go to a movie theater and not be inundated with the preshow countdown of never-ending advertising. Sometimes, some wonder what group or individual, without much inventiveness, a derisive stereotyping, came up with the ad flashing before your face. Even though consumers, when surveyed, the majority, usually about two-thirds, indicated they felt harassed, stalked and insulted.

But, the marketing continues to increase, especially through emails, cell phones and laptop devices. One considers the gluttony of it all and ponders the decay of society in the process. Decadence, in previous “empires”, along with bloated consumption have been regressive factors that led to collapse. Not only the rise and fall of “imperial states”, but also comes the danger of extinction. Why would humanity think it is immune from a final demise? Over 90% of other species have already disappeared.

Even though a majority of respondents to national surveys conclude they are annoyed by excessive advertising, most consumers will do little or nothing in terms of rebelliousness. By rebellion, the emphasis here is on social advancement by diverse means of redresses of grievances. This suggests pro-social efforts toward a more enlightened populace. Naturally, such a perspective will only be of interest to a small group of those committed to a transformative self-evolution. By inclusion, transformation refers to personal willful differentiation by means of profound change in oneself. In the process, an individual strives to become a better version of the original. Where the preoccupation is materiality, there is little hope of transformational spirituality.

The quest for independence, through wiser reaches of liberated selflessness, means separation from the “herd”, and greater self-reliance. By contrast though, more reactionary and collusive in the “anti-social” status quo regression will be the many who will acquiesce to continued excessive consumption. In a 2005 articles on global issues, and particularly consumerism, urban planners suggested there are always negative aspects to disproportionate consumptive exploitation. This translates into extraction or construction, which infers the transfer of natural resources into materiality that can be consumed, or otherwise utilized by means of acquisition.

Population expansion, technology and subsequently consumption are recognized contributors to environmental containments, socio-economic disparity and pollution. Over time, and in the near future, the human species eventually reaches its demise. The decadent expanse between rich and poor becomes more pervasive. For those who can consume more and not contribute to responsible change, or conservation, they collude in the corruptive practices that drive the mechanisms eventual species extinction. The hypocrisy has no boundaries or limits, and exists wherever there are humans.

Coupled with massive schemes of advertising for relentless satiation of consumerism, the constant stream of soon to be obsolete products and services inundate the senses to ingest more and more. In the face, the barrage advertisements insult the viewer moment by moment all day long. The suggestion of a “consumer society and advertising excessiveness”, where bigger and better, and more is more, means the regressive basis for willful seductions to an endless bloated feast upon a perpetual world. Such a cornucopia for the few, who overspend and overconsume, ignores the dystopic consequences.

Yet, there is a dark side to that flawed perception, as the world is not without an ending in relations to its current occupancy. The costs of exploitation add up. at this point, the reality, not the misconception of “hope springs eternal”, instead, this is to suggest that where human are concerned, there is an end. And, in all likelihood, the finality will not be pleasant, will happen probably sooner than later. That irrevocability in a world of finite resources means human extinction.

In the folly of unlimited consumption, as if there were such a thing as the “American dream”, where resources are exploited beyond reasonable necessity, “empires” eventually collapse at a point of no return. History demonstrates testimony to such events. As such, arrogant ignorance has fatal consequences. The cost of human stupidity has been devastating throughout the centuries. Of particular concern is the flagrant and intentional perpetration of greed, corruption and consumptive decadence. Not only, but collusive intentions to ensure the perpetual “enslavement” of the vast majority.

The depth of deception, or the reach of the primal expanse, is pervasive. The once rich artifacts of adventurous creativity now wanes to the dismal realms of a few determined artists. Meanwhile, for the masses, the social disparity of divisiveness broadens in willfully spiteful counter-productivity. As such, mass-marketing impetus to exploit materiality to every possible extreme has become insulting and condescending. Recently, in article appearing in a major online business magazine, the writer expressed fascination with the escalating abundance of the advertising barrage.

In the examples provided, once you get past the frequent popups, and the loading of ads on the left and right of the screen, a point of reference suggest how the intensity of advertising has changed. For instance, some forty years ago, the average person might be exposed to as many as 2,000 advertisements a day. Today, that number is in excess of 5,000. As that proliferates in the race to promote and possess, consumption increases, and desperation of indebtedness widens. From haves to have-nots, consumer indulgence is encouraged every minute of the day. The abject debasement for the many is an ever-spiraling plummet into a social abyss, from which civilization may not recover. Most ads are not only condescending but also insulting. Many promote a high-schoolish simplicity that sounds stupid. Rather than embolden an expression of creativity, self-reliance and personal wellbeing, the denigration of responsible thinking is discouraged.

Defying and belittling the honorable light of self-development, the incessant admonition to cure everything, acquire more and achieve less, values a debasing persistence of consumption for the sake of consumption. As everything has a “diagnosis”, it follows that everything requires remedy. The gamut of deception to ensure profit continuity is similar to a global “organized crime” operation. For the sake of immediate gratification, the gain is in the acquisition of something. In short, several thousand years of human existence, where human behavior is concerned, has generally fixed nothing. The same rudimentary “plagues” continue to “plague” the planet.

Traveling from the market place to the town hall, by television screen, laptop monitor or cell phone, for the stage play of socio-economics and politics the promotion is greed. The mantra is often by clever sleight of hand manipulation by the surreptitious tactics of marketing. An ancient principle once advised a person to be content with a focus on self-evolving enlightenment. In pursuit of that, one was also encouraged to have satisfaction with what one has and not what someone else might possess. By inclusion to those two things, the notion promoted the idea that one should expect nothing from anyone.

Self-reliance, and historic “rugged individualism”, powered by selflessness in personal growth and maturity, has stagnated into the demoralizing satiation of whining, sniveling and weakling maladaptation. The grotesque aberrations of materiality defame any noble conceptions of self-sacrifice for the sake of mature and wiser differentiation. Instead, regressive, devolving and counter-productive tendencies willfully choose the bloated aspects of consumption. With valiant and brave exceptions noted, the majority of interactivity across societal and global expanses is regressively gloomy.

Over the imaginative energies of creativity, constructive individuality and innovative transformation, post-modern times suggest perilous deteriorating tendencies. All of which come down to intentional acceptance of deceptions so that feelings are maintained within a pleasurable spectrum, as in the common cliché of “hope springs eternal”. Such is part of the malevolent intonation of gluttonous consumption to feed distorted perceptions. Instantaneous communications, from the vastness of “infotainment” sources stream a bombarded of over-generalized and unsubstantiated data as fiction in place of fact. Sometimes called “news”, other times called “studies”, or maybe even “opinion polls”, the superficial nature usually says nothing of substantial content.

While social decline is the result of many factors, it is a complex and diverse process. Likewise, no single factor alone that contributes to eventual societal collapse. Many people, acting in foolish and irresponsible ways willing collude in a multiplicity of degradations. Of significance though, in this devolving equation, is the undisciplined and unrestrained consumptive element of bloated consumerism. Such as it is, the willful disregard for productive conservation and creative rejuvenation of human behavior provokes the incessant and degrading spiral of eventual catastrophe.

In the words of one societal commentator, American society has transformed in the past two generations from producer nation to gluttonous consumer culture. Prior to that, innovation and creativity in science and industry displayed significant accomplishments. Yet, now more than ever, mass consumption exhibits greedy excesses, where “wealth building”, along with material acquisition expresses an entitled selfish arrogance.

Everything is for sale and anything promoted for the satiation of overfed consumerism. To maintain the perception of imperial lifestyles in the deception of the “American Dream”, borrowing to consume perpetrates the burden of increased personal financial liability. But, the quest for riches continues. Unfortunately, we refuse to learn collectively, yet sustain the creativity of individuality, to embrace diversity in the rectification of those things that lead to societal collapse and extinction.

According to one scientist, real science not pseudoscience, environmental exploitation is a key factor in eventual social catastrophe. Abuse of physical and social infrastructures, at odds in divisively competitive ways, compounded by urban sprawl, over-development, and exhaustion of natural resources, hasten regressive inclinations. Failures to enhance creativity that encourages cooperative collaborations for productive change, adds to the deterioration of human interactivity. Meanwhile, stagnant unimaginative political, social and economic processes, parts of which remain antagonistic and counterproductive, aid the eventual collapse of the human species. Selfishness pervades every aspect.

Self-satiation for immediate gratification in the arrogant ignorance precludes the viability of enlightened ascendency. Where the wealthier members determine outcomes based on short-term enrichment, the greater number of others tend to suffer the long-term consequences. Collusions, conspiracies and other illicit complicities by societal upper echelons, typically perpetuate devolving processes that end in calamity.

This Is Why The World Doesn’t Need More Successful People

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Hidden Problems

Everywhere you look nowadays there are entrepreneurs, start-ups and successful people rising from obscurity to outlandish success.

Judging from the title, you would be forgiven for thinking I’m proposing there’s no place for successful people in the world. But that is not my intention.

The point I wish to underscore is the view of promoting the peacemakers, healers, the storytellers and the socially responsible.

This is about considering whether an alternative definition of success is possible and sustainable in the coming decades.

Lama Surya Das says in The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life’s Essential Mysteries: “Mahatma Gandhi said that this world has enough resources for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”

In a rising globalisation and consumption obsessed world, most people are concerned with the next smartphone device. So much so, that the anticipation builds for months before the release of the product.

Scroll through an Android or Apple store and you are inundated with millions of apps to choose from. At the time of writing this, there are between 2.2 to 2.8 million apps available.

So it begs the question: Do we need that many apps?

Do we need more start-ups or products claiming to make our lives easier?

Many of these services are forced onto consumers and marketed in such a way as to convince people of the need for them.

It was author Chuck Palahniuk who wrote in Fight Club: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

Apps and services that claim to make life easier come with hidden problems that impose on our freedom.

Take for example online dating, which has allowed people to choose from a wider pool of prospective suitors. However, whilst it has liberated modern-day dating, it has brought with it downsides such as people content to play the field, inauthentic connections, loneliness and sometimes isolation.

Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener states in The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment: “A faster pace of life is also related to lower rates of achievement and money saving. The more convenient everything is, the less likely people are to engage in troublesome self-control.”

When I read about start-ups that claim their product is an essential offering, I remind myself they haven’t carefully examined the implications until it stops functioning as intended.

Avoiding Pain

So if the world doesn’t need more successful people, what does it need?

Success is a narrow-minded term defined by society. If you don’t abide by its definition you are considered unsuccessful.

Beyond that description, material wealth is judged as the pinnacle of success.

Scroll through the question-and-answer site Quora on any day, and you are flooded with questions like:

How do I become a billionaire?

What is the secret of being a billionaire that most people don’t know?

What does it feel like to be rich?

Admittedly, they are posted by a younger demographic who consider billionaire status to be the elixir to happiness. Little do they know, wealth and fame do not equate to happiness if their intentions are self-centred and hedonistic.

“The truth is that you can create success in the material world by working hard and being smart, which I did! But if you’re not authentic within that success, the experience will be unsatisfying,” states Colette Baron Reid in Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility.

At the time of writing this, a popular female artist has released her latest single with over 250 million views on YouTube and rising.

Yet, a search on environmental issues or those confronting humanity is unlikely to gain a 10th of those views.

Sure I get it, issues like these are not sexy topics. We defer our attention from what is important and focus on what entertains us.

Known as the psychological pain-pleasure principle, it is defined as the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoiding of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs.

We avoid pain and focus our attention on the pleasures of the day while the pain intensifies, the longer we ignore it.

Lama Surya Das explains: “A Tibetan lama once told me that the main problem with worldly people is that they are constantly seeking happiness and fulfillment outside themselves, where it cannot be found.”

There must come a point where we can no longer ignore the important issues. The world cries out for people to influence humanity in the slightest way. The scariest part is: no one is listening.

Most people prefer the self-indulgence of music, television, celebrity scandals and gossip while the real issues slip through our fingers.

What can we do to get our attention?

Have we become so sensory overloaded that we fail to notice the slightest human suffering?

Success Is Near Reaching

I cringe when people say their product or service will change the world. To my knowledge, there’s been notable individuals in the last two centuries who have delivered on that promise, but not as many as we’d like to believe.

I remind them, the world doesn’t need changing, that each person needs to change themselves first to affect the lives of those around them.

“We are the ones who will create the vision and bring into being the world we seek. And we have to do this individually as well as with each other. The more authentic and real you’re willing to become, the more you have the power to co-create a much better world not just for you but for all of us,” affirms Colette Baron Reid.

The world will not be saved by the promise of more apps or services to make people’s lives easier, since easier does not translate to a more fulfilling life.

The real work in the decades to come will come from our personal growth if we are to sustain humanity, not simply line our pockets or raise more capital to be the next Uber.

Author Jan Frazier explains in The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is: “If you want to lead a more peaceful life, the primary focus should shift from external events to the inner, as a general practice.”

The defined standard of success sustains people living in developed countries, but does nothing to enrich the lives of those in underdeveloped nations.

Cultivating your personal growth has the potential to affect others. The late Dr David Hawkins, a renowned psychiatrist and consciousness researcher showed a change in awareness from the level of Force to Power has the capacity to impact humanity on a global scale.

The message is simple: we must nurture our personal development foremost instead of being driven by success alone. Your success is near reaching and affects a smaller population compared to humanitarian efforts which have an international reach.

Sustainable farming, clean water, accommodation, helping children, community efforts, disease prevention, reducing crime, global warming and refugee crisis. These are the major threats to non-industrialised countries that will be a burden on the people of tomorrow.

The next generation will inherit our disasters if we don’t dedicate our time and financial resources to these movements.

“People from Asian cultures are often referred to as collectivists, because their basic social unit is the group rather than the individual. Collectivists are more likely to put their desires on hold if that contributes to the larger good of the group. Collectivists are more likely to want to fit in than to be unique,” state authors Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener.

It is this collectivist idea we must harness if we are to create a world worth passing on to the generation of tomorrow.

If we continue to rape and pillage our planet at the current rate, our economies and environment we will be nothing more than a hostile and uninhabitable place.