You know, it’s funny.
I can remember a conversation between two elderly people that I overheard probably 30 years ago while riding a city bus. I don’t recall the topic of the conversation, but one of the people made a statement that has always stuck with me.
“Everyone keeps making money the most important thing and pretty soon, money will be the most important thing.”
That statement has always been in the back of my mind, reminding me that I’m supposed to care about people more than things, relationships more than influence and compassion more than personal benefit. It’s a way of thinking that I always took for granted. People are smart, everyone wants to be kind and compassionate, don’t they? I mean, who wakes up in the morning and decides that they’re going to be selfish and oblivious?
Fast forward 30 years to today.
Marketing and the marketing mindset has so insidiously infiltrated the public psyche that we don’t even notice it. Social media, instead of being the place to FREELY share knowledge and ideas in the spirit of community that was promised, has instead become a shopping mall of human psychosis.
“Check out my content stream!”
“You have GOT to see my next video - here’s a link to my patreon so you can fund it!”
“I have a website with lots of useful information that can help lots of people - and for $20 a month, you can have access!”
“Like what I’m wearing in this picture? It’s for sale!”
Obviously, there are exceptions to this. There always will be (I hope), but late-stage capitalism and consumerism certainly seem the order of the day. It wasn’t always like this. At least I certainly don’t remember it ever being like this before. Somewhere along the line, we became conditioned to market and brand ourselves. Somewhere along the line, everything went up for sale and if your idea, knowledge or resource was freely available, someone would come along and - after a few slight tweaks - slap a price tag on it and call it their own.
I suppose there are those (most?) who will say that I’m just ‘crying because it’s raining’. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m just whining and wishing for an ideal that will never manifest.
But I still can’t get what that elderly person said out of my head.