Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Materialism and its dragging feet

On issue #118 of Shrinkrapradio David van Nuys interviews Tim Kasser who has done a lot of research on well being for people. His findings are that materialism, exterior life goals he calls them, do not contribute to happiness. In addition, materialism seems to go hand in hand with a less social attitude and with less ecological awareness and readiness to engage in ecologically sound conduct. People who strive for money, stuff, status and power are less emphatic, more polluting, more consuming, more destructive to the environment and after all they are less happy and more prone to depression and anxiety.

The way Kasser sees it, materialism drags people down into striving for what they cannot acquire, or if they can, will not satisfy and in the process, they are less attentive to others. They care less, have fewer long time relationships, more divorce, are competitive and ready to make decisions at the expense of others. Eventually they are less prone to cramp down on their spendings, their pollution and the way their life style affects the environment. They feel worse in comparison to people who do attend to interior goals and who are more social and more ecologically aware.

What is another profound dragging factor of materialism is that people intuitively feel they should care more, spend less, attend to their more personal goals and think of the environment. But they do not know how. The materialist life style seems the only correct one. There is no alternative. At least no genuine one, if you rule out turning Amish or soviet-communist, so to say. Van Nuys gets Kasser to discuss his ideas of alternatives. His thoughts are very interesting.
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