Sunday, June 29, 2008

'The easy way to stop being an ego driven, all consuming sap on the environment'

Selfridges has lots of good ideas, even to the point that they can turn the big brash sale signs that they use into an art-form. Fashion loves irony because it creates exclusivity i.e. are you in on it or are you one of the uncool people who don’t get it. In this case its the quasi-religious nature of shopping in modern life that is being sent up.

To the the greater extent its just smart humour but it must say something about the condition itself that it does not stop people in their tracks. I was there over the weekend and like everyone else I was not questioning why I was there or what I really needed. And like everyone else I was a little caught up in how much money was there to be ‘saved.’

The double irony is that looking around the signs are pretty close to the truth. To be held in the grasp of wanting more stuff is the natural disposition that keeps the economy burning. And its hard to image what will replace it in the future though replaced, modified and reshaped it surely will need to be. I am starting to see it like smoking.

-Short term chemical compulsions i.e. adrenalin, the buzz, the instant gratification,
This acts like a nicotine deficiency and regularly wants to be topped up.

-Coupled and blurred with an array of longer term mental addictions which keep ticking over in the background i.e. I will look better and be more successful if i buy this.
This is not unlike the smokers phycology that tells them they need to smoke to have a good time or to enjoy a meal.

I gave up smoking using Alan Carrs book ‘The Easy way to Give up Smoking,’ that takes the opposite approach of most methods. It does this by ignoring the reasons why you should not smoke which everybody knows anyway, and isolating, explaining and ultimately revoking the reasons why you do. I am probably in the top quarter of people who actively learn about and try to change their behavior in order to live more sustainably yet frequently succumb to fast fashion. In other words I fully understand why sustainable lifestyles are necessary but this does not always translate into actions. Perhaps the other side of the coin i.e. isolating the reasons why you feel compelled to spend a Sunday in Selfridges would be more powerful. After all smokers know they are killing themselves quite imminently and directly but it fails to stop them. When I have worked it out ‘the easy way to stop being an ego driven, all consuming sap on the environment,’ is the book I would want to write to explain the process.

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