Friday, September 7, 2007

Hello, Consumer Units! Here's Today's Shopping Tip!

One of our biggest challenges in modern Western democracies is to become a human being and a citizen, something more than a Consumer Unit.

The Consumer Units (CU's) are everywhere.

They march down Cornwall night and noon with their Starbucks in their hands. Did anyone ever consider sitting down to enjoy his coffee?

They cannot walk down the street or sit in a cafe without talking, talking, talking on their CU cell phones. The cell phone - a handy and useful enough device if used sensibly - is easily the most oversold, overused, annoying addition to modern life.

I work in a college these days. Every of the of the 8,000 enrolled students walk through the hallways talking, talking, talking on his/her/its cellphone. Often the cell is on/in one ear and the ubiquitous white chord of the ipod is in the other. The brain that can absorb bad music and bad conversation at the same time is not the brain I want voting in a general election.

They buy SUV's, while decrying Global Warming.

They pay $600,000 for basement apartments, because the refurbished mini-kitchen has granite counter-tops.

Everyone believes in the mass-marketed illusion that he is a rare individual. Everyone is a sucker. Everyone buys more and more of the same stuff that his hateful neighbour with the barking dog buys.

Here's my challenge: Try to get through the weekend without buying anything larger than a watermelon or more mostly than a bunch of grapes. Do not buy anything electronic or that needs batteries or that poses as an aid to communication. Try to actually leave your car and take a walk and do not bring a cell or a radio or CD or DVD player.

Notice that the crows have mysteriously disappeared in the last few days - tanks god - and that the juncos, sparrows and other small birds, who have been hidden for months, have now come back!

Or simply walk and think and look.