Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Do yourselves a favor and try to understand consumerism. We're material beasties, with bodies and needs for things like food and shelter. We're amaterial ghosties as well; whatever you believe, there's something non-physical about us. Whether you like calling it spirit, imagination, thought, energy, or whatever your choice of moniker, there's something in people that sees not only what's there, but also what might be. As that's the case, there's an empty in us that is hard to fill with the simple material things that the beasty in us requires for surviving. We only need food, water, bit of shelter and warmth. When we've got that covered, the ghost in us sees how it can be better. The ghost in us has some vacancy unfillable by that which mollifies the beasty. What it is fills the ghosty's vacancy cannot be drawn, rarely described, never quite touched. There is something in other things that fulfills the ghost's vacancy, and the beasty feels the fulfillment in other things. In clothes, in cakes, in sex, in toys--never sure wherefrom, but always sure something in other things fills the ghosty for a time. And the ghosty drives the beasty.

So the beasty fights for more stuff. Consumerism, the desire for more crap, is driven by wanting something more from what there is. Consumerism is driven by an instinct to think there is something greater to be had, some fuller feeling, than mere satisfaction. Consumerism, this need for more crap, is not itself a bad thing. All the ghost wants is the vacancy to be filled.

This Black Friday, think on this while you shop for your hams and Optimus Prime transformers and iPads: your whole self wants these material things, ghost and beast together. The beast finds what it thinks will fulfill the ghost. The ghost is mollified for a time. So is it the ham, the Optimus Prime, or the iPad that the ghost wanted, or something in them?

Ghosty and beasty ascend hand in hand
to the lighted place all surrounded by glass.
They look about, mid slow-falling sand,
and they ponder the core of material things.
"When nothings left and all's brought away,"
Beasty to ghosty said, pondering mass.
"Something's still there: an essential stay."
Ghosty to beast smiled. "Think of wings."

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