Why do we pay good money to advertise for massive corporations? Does wearing their conspicuous logos on our clothing somehow give us prized status? If we identify with the idea of wealth, will we become wealthy too? If we vote in terms of what we think the wealthy would do, does that mean that they will reward us? Some among us feel the need for conspicuous consumption, and ever new status symbols.
These questions pop into my head from time to time. They come most often when I see people who are dressed in nothing but expensive designer clothing (or good knock-offs), while riding in very expensive cars, and flashing some very expensive looking jewelry. They look out at the world through designer sunglasses, and usually seem to be acting for some camera that I can never see.
When I see this in others, and in myself from time to time, a certain sadness creeps up in me. I feel that I’m forced into a tiny box, where everything is controlled by fear. There are certain mandates that I must adhere to so that I can feel accepted, or even envied by other people. I derive power from this, and without it, feel as if I would shrivel up into nothingness, or cease to exist. So I try harder and harder to impress everyone who looks at me, to tell them that I’m rich, I’m cool, I’m hip, I get it. I also feel that by climbing into a very expensive car and clothing, I’m better than other people, and my judge is front and center. This gives me power as I compare myself to those around me, and judge others, but i all makes me feel very hollow inside…
Status Symbol Society
It is truly amazing how much I see this in Southern California. There seems to be a “fake it till you make it” culture here among a decent portion of the population. Given the current economic climate, I can’t help but think it’s all flash and no cash. In other words, people are willing to go into debt to live up to a fantasy ideal, to impress other people at any cost. At least they were while credit was cheap… but I still see it happening all around me.
At times, I feel the allure of the status symbol, but then I meditate, and it vanishes. I guess mindful practice gives me a deeper insight into who I am. I feel less and less a need to show off, and more of a desire to just be whatever I am at the moment (of course, there are always thoughts that tell me I “should” be something else, blah blah, blah…Notice them and let them pass). The only camera in my life is the one watching me passively from behind my closed eyes as I meditate or practice mindful breathing. It’s the witness consciousness that never judges, never waivers, and is always watching my thoughts and emotions go by.
I do feel a certain pity for all the bling chasers and status seekers among us. It’s great that some people can keep spending money in massive quantities to keep up with the latest ways to impress other status seekers. However, it just feels like a very cold and controlled existence. Maybe it’s just what it is. We all have our demons, and we all express the one same thing in millions of different ways.
Such is life…