I’ve been blogging for over eight years. A couple years back, through a friend’s blog I believe, I found Waving or Drowning? Lately I have been checking in on those old blogs I used to read. On Monday, I found a great post on the site called “A Theology of Enough.” In his post, Mike quotes an author I’m unfamiliar with – William T. Cavanaugh, author of Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.
“Detachment tends to characterize our attitudes towards the products we buy. Far from obsessively clinging to our stuff, we tend to buy and discard products easily. We don’t make them ourselves or have any connection to the people that make them; increasingly we have no connection to the people that sell them either, as small local businesses are replaced by gigantic chain retailers. Under these conditions, our connections to products become very tenuous and fleeting as well. The products we buy are mute about their origins, and the people we buy them from can tell us little.
…Such relationships are not made to last. There would not be a market for all the goods that are produced in an industrialized economy if consumers were content with the things they bought. Consumer desire must be constantly on the move. We must continually desire new things in order for consumption to keep pace with production. The ‘extreme makeover’ is an ongoing process in the search for novelty, for bigger and better, for new and improves, and for different experiences. The shaving razor with one blade had to be supplanted by the double-bladed razor, which was bested by three blades, then four, and now an absurd five on one razor.
This is more than a continuing attempt to make a product better; it is what General Motors called ‘the organized creation of dissatisfaction.’ How can we be content with a razor with a mere two blades when the current standard is five?… The economy as it is currently structured would grind to a halt if we ever looked at our stuff and simply declared, ‘It is enough. I am happy with what I have.'”
Christian or not, Cavanaugh gives us something really important to think about (especially those of us living in incredibly consumerist, materialistic America). This definitely provides some motivation for me as I start the 100 Things Challenge. Figuring out what’s important to me while I am deciding what to get rid of AND while I make purchasing decisions.
I am definitely ready to say “It is enough. I am happy with what I have.”