I have determined that it is not the mere wow factor that will influence a consumer, but a variety of factors, all just as ridiculous. Let's take two examples, Microsoft and Apple.
Microsoft - a trusted name? Not likely. If not a name then what? Ask "why Microsoft?" and most people will reply "because everyone else uses it." When presented with a superior and free option like Linux or OpenOffice, they are suspicious and fearful and dismiss it with this comment. This leads me to assume that due to the fact that everyone else uses MS Windoze, that they believe this justifies that they will not even consider another product. Is this the way that they go through life: just because everyone else is?
Apple - a trusted name? More so than Microsoft. Not the trust thing here as the cool thing here. Apples are cool, iPods, iPhones, i-yi-yi. They are all the latest craze and are cool, and they are expensive, more so than their counterparts. People line up for days to get these things; how did marketing gain such control? Media: the magazines, TV Shows, commercials, billboards, sponsoring; all designed to make you feel this is a cool purchase.
I believe this price differential also allows the consumer to feel an elevated sense of pride at enabling themselves the purchase of this expensive item. One might even say, "elevated above others". I suppose that one could get this feeling of elation, or entitlement, through various forms; driving an expensive gas guzzler, buying a new car every three years, living in a mansion with your wife and two kids, having summer/winter homes beside friend's summer/winter homes, constantly buying the latest phone. What are we missing in our lives? Why do we keep buying the crap. There is no dream capitalist system. It is based upon constant expansion and flow of money from one pocket to another.
When did we all have to compete and why? Who are we competing with? I used to think that it was just with everyone else, but a lot of the hordes seem to be actually competing with themselves.
I don't even have to go on about the environmental impact that this kind of lifestyle has. My mind boggles at the damage being done to the planet, so that we can compete (with whom ever we choose) and feel like we “came out on top”. On top of what? This shitpile that we, the civilized nations, call life? This lifestyle that we have the audacity to call “democracy” which we shove down developing countries throats with IMF and World Bank conditions and promises of riches? Consume until you die or the planet self destructs, whichever comes first.
I watch the Lemmings when I go out. I hear them talking about that other person, or the product that they just/would like to buy, their jobs, their homes, their families, TV shows, movies; all inane conversations in the desperate attempt to hold a conversation and convince themselves and everyone around them that they have a good life and enjoy it. I also see the sadness, loneliness, self-loathing and emptiness in their eyes. They are zombies, with no direction. Not able to think for themselves, they rely on the constant bombardment of information and direction to comprise of their education and purpose; they are Lemmings. Watch out for that cliff, it is coming.
I suppose that my biggest gripe is how can a sane person go through life without really thinking? I have had friends tell me things such as “you think too much”, or “happiness is (insert shite here)”, “just worry about your life”, or “you just need a good woman”. This baffles me, especially when I tell them that I have literally heard this exact comment from many others word for word (while explaining programmed responses and brainwashing in simple terms), to which they respond “well it must be true then”. (picture me with a stunned look) I admit, I may be new to brain washing, but did not realize that it also disabled any logic function from performing in the human brain. I suppose if one wanted to, one could try to define the word sane; as I am told, it is defined by society.
As we evolve as human beings (and I hope that I am not the only one here), we will require the use of that chunk of gray matter that rests on the shoulders of more than 6 billion of Earth's inhabitants. The species cannot evolve without it, are we meant to be the crazy little consumers that Corporate America wants us to be? I don't think so, I think we are destined for far greater things. First thing we have to do is take care of our own. We have the resources on this planet to feed, educate, house, clothe, etc. every person on this planet, we simply CHOOSE not to. Along with the first thing, we need to clean up our act; destroying the very thing that sustains our very existence is beyond stupidity. I know that death is the only true outcome to life, but I don't want the species to really end. We have to break down the obsessive competition that exists amongst us, we have to get rid of money.
I do not subscribe to society or it's system, I am Canadian by birth, not by choice. I claim my rights as a world citizen, as a natural being; I claim the laws of common sense. Don't follow the Lemmings, follow what's right; only then can a system be changed.
Thomas Paine's Corner published version http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=126