Apparently I am riffing away on Tara’s 4-part series; maybe because the content of the series– “The Deconstruction of Ennui” — is like my own personal gospel choir Hallelujah-ing behind me while I work.
Consumption is one of those things I’ve written about before, but I don’t think I’ve ever connected it to boredom. When I read it, however, immediately I see myself. Although I try to be an “anti-consumer” — one who makes purchases consciously, thinking about how items are made and their impact on our planet– even I fall prey to consumptive ennui.
“We consume products, food, and information without thinking as soon as we start to get any inkling of ennui. We fill ourselves with meaningless action. We disengage from real life and seek out external experiences.
We consume to feel something other than our own voice telling us to get off our ass and do something.”
Who hasn’t found themselves soothed by a stroll through Target? I dreamt about Target when I was living in London and deprived of it.
The downside to buying things while caught in the trap of mindlessness? We tend to acquire way more things than we need. The outcome of this is one of three things:
- We throw things away, even if they are perfectly good.
- We have to go through the complex process of “un-shopping” — satisfying, but often sticky;
- We pile it all up around us, get a few dozen cats, and become this guy.
Eating the Tree
My brother– whom I adore, love, and respect — is very laissez faire about the consumptive life. He keeps telling “don’t worry so much! It doesn’t matter. Why are you wasting so much energy on all of this?”
And I really do pause, because, really, if you stop to think about it, just for a minute:
DOES IT MATTER?
If tomorrow I get up and decide to stop at every fork and say “Easy path for me! Why bother with the hassle?” who is really going to know in the end?
I mean, isn’t it just that Protestant work ethic poking me? That “environmental” cloak I wear, making me feel guilty?
Nah. It’s more than that.
Art made me do it
The burden of being an artist is a nagging persistence of expectation: We wake each morning expecting our talent and our passion to generate MORE.
More BEAUTY. More LIFE. More MUSIC. More LOVE.
Peaks and valleys come and go. And of course our angst and dissatistfaction overcomes us. Sometimes then it will be easier to lay back into the easy chair of consumerism:
MORE PURSES. MORE SHOES. More plastic hair gels and cats.
Don’t fret. Just drive on up the next peak.
Can’t you hear that gospel choir calling?