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Chapter 2: Materialism

In the past few months, I explored the interconnectedness’s of Death, Purpose of life, Work, Spirituality, Joy, Family and Society. The trigger was the death of my father.

It started with an exploration into materialism, consumerism and how it affected by life. I read about Freeganism and Buddhist economics and much appreciated the frustration’s that a consumerist economy has brought upon humans. Initially, it was disgusting to see people dumping into garbage cans to eat left overs, but as I read more about the reasoning behind this outcry, it all made sense. It is pathetic that people have to take such desperate measures in such ‘modern societies’ to remedy problems that stem from greed. In a world where, animals are treated as machines in factory farms — not chickens, but “egg-laying units”: and children used to make our shoes and all the shit at Walmart that we don’t need, is intolerable. Ofcourse, this is all tied back to global warming, environmental problems, poverty, large gaps between net worth of the rich and poor.

The lesson I learnt from here is that I am a functioning unit in this monster system. How could I change myself so that I cultivate a discipline to not get pulled into this rat race? How can I simplify my own life so that I consume the minimal that I need? I took a few concrete steps:

  • Cut down to one credit card
  • Cut down to one bank account
  • Buying only things that I absolutely, really really need
  • Bought nothing for the new apartment we went into. Waited for things that we could borrow from friends or get them free from Craigslist
  • Eat less
  • Got rid of cable TV – there is no sense wasting precious time on earth on the sofa and hearing ‘bad news’, ‘scary news’ and ‘sex scandal’s” all the time
  • Took eggs out of the diet – If chicken are treated so badly, subjected to mental torture and most of the time eating their own shit, have all these diseases, why would you ever eat chicken or eggs?

Ofcourse,I felt that I should join in on the Freegan revolution or some environmental protection and make my contribution. But I was not convinced yet as I was still struggling with the purpose of my life.

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