Needs and Wants

Oliver James, who wrote the book AFFLUENZA, a theory based on a virus of shop-till-you-drop mentality, says that placing too high a value on money, possessions, fame and outward appearance is bad for mental health. He says that it’s time for cold turkey and in the short term, as with any addicts cleaning up their act, there will be pain. In the UK, with a change of government, mega debt & world recession we are about to experience the worst government cuts since World War 2. I hope we receive food parcels from overseas.

It takes courage to face the unfaceable, but when you stop to think about it, shopping has no boundaries for many shopaholics as they have learnt to confuse real needs with disposable wants.

It’s clear that we don’t need a lot of what we buy, we could reduce without too much pain but like a child who refuses to go to school the mouth says ” Why should I? “. A real need is for things like emotional intimacy or to feel emotionally secure: a new HD TV are wants stimulated by the “must have” advertising industry. My Fisher TV was purchased in 1986, from John Lewis and it still works perfectly; I am rigged up for digital but I don’t have time for 4 channels let alone multitudes of cable adverts. I just don’t need it, nor want it. Traveling three months of the year in homes and hotels shows me what crap sat TV is anyway. Having said that, many a night I have sat comatose watching BBC News on a loop in a foreign hotel.

Two new studies on the psychology of spending concludes that buying stuff is the ” heroin of human happiness “and that shopping malls and pedestrianized High Streets have replaced parks and other forms of nature to have a day out. We may want to go to the Mall to fill time but do we need too? Do we need to buy another pair of trainers, a handbag or a sale bargain. Most people are bored when they shop, lacking motivation or imagination in spending disposable time. Like the addict they are desiring a quick hit, and a mode of escape. Cinema’s and Food Courts in Malls complete the addicts junk day out. This so called ” Family ” Entertainment is like processed cheese, yummy but no long-term nutritional value.

I have hit hard times in the past as a recovering bankrupt but 5 years with no credit was what I needed to sort my habits out. You don’t need to go this far but it may be of value to see what you can live without, or what you need to feel gratitude.

These 2 links may be of interest :

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/all-consuming-by-neal-lawson-1728878.html

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227121.900-review-ispent-sex-evolution-and-the-secrets-of-consumerismi-by-geoffrey-miller.html

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