An Age Old Message

This morning I was browsing Reddit and came across this 80’s movie called They Live by John Carpenter. Although one would assume it would be a relatively dated film, it contains an age old message that is surprisingly relevant to today’s modern society.

I had never heard of the film up until today, so I suppose this was not some culturally significant or aesthetically outstanding movie, albeit with a slight cult following.

Or maybe people just don’t want to be woke.

There is a famous scene in the film where the protagonist first puts on a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see the subliminal messaging that is prevalent in all our media, with luridly straightforward messages like Obey and Reproduce!

They Live (1988) dir. John Carpenter | BOSTON HASSLE

I found it rather apt and timely considering our modern generation still has a screen addiction, albeit a slightly smaller, more compact one. We take comfort in anonymity and virtual validation, find pleasure in mind-numbing experiences through our eyes and ears in the safety of our homes.

And so we should all stay home and remain the obedient, conforming consumers, rendering our service for the good of society and reproducing to continue contributing cogs to the machine.

Thank you for your attention. That is all.

The Consumer Is Always Right

Do you consider yourself a consumer? A healthy, wholesome consumer?

Aren’t we all? All our lives we are taught to be jolly, obedient consumers, fulfilling our duties and our every need with the necessary stuff, the good things in life. Supporting our local companies and stimulating our national economy and making the world go round.

Well, I don’t want to be a consumer all my life.

I mean, of course part and parcel of living in a humankind society requires interactions of a fiscal nature, requires transactions above the basic social exchanges. There requires an exchange of money and goods and services. A comfy capitalism society.

But what about creating, producing, adding value?

Isn’t that what our jobs are for? Contributing and creating value for society? Let me ask you a simple question: do you feel your job directly contributes to adding value to another person’s life?

In our modern day and age, sometimes that feeling of contributing to our fellow human, to our society becomes blurred in bar charts and graphs, beautiful spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. We see numbers instead of names, KPI and targets instead of people.

What does that have to do with being a consumer?

Well, when we’re in the mindset of the consumer, we only see what we can get out of someone or something, what’s in it for us. We focus on the boons and benefits and how does this further my goal of a lifelong dream of hedonism and pleasure?

We become laidback and languid, waiting for the world to pander to us, to provide us with sustenance and entertainment at our beck and call. All we have to do is wave our credit cards and phones, and voila – we have it all instantly! Or if it’s not instant, we get mad.

In a way, consumerism promotes self-centeredness and materialism. I mean, that much is obvious, but what about the effects of it on the rest of our outlook on life? Is it the reason we have become so entitled, so self-righteous? Because we believe the adage that the “customer is always right”? Customer, consumer – they’re basically the same thing.

I’m not saying that we should deny all forms of consumerism; I’m just saying we should create more, inject more of ourselves and our gifts and our craft into our lives and our work.

People often lament about their lack of talent or God-given gifts, but I believe that if you look long and hard you will find many things that you can do well or have a knack for, if only you gave it a good hard try. Or maybe two or three.

Deep down we all have a yearning to do something good with our lives, do something noteworthy, something memorable. We yearn to create something or contribute in a meaningful way to the people around us. And perhaps you disagree with me, but that’s alright, because at least you’re thinking. Keep it up!