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You are Not What You Buy

You are not what you buy is easy enough to say, but it’s another thing to act on. It’s becoming a harder credence to follow in the culture that we live in. Because the culture that we live in is compelled and driven by consuming. Every day, around every corner, we are sold the idea that we are what we buy. The fancy house, the big car, the expensive clothes; they all parade to the world that you’re taking care of yourself and that you’ve got the money to have it all. Our public image is largely built on what we have and what we’ve bought, which makes us not only feel that we want more, but that we need more.

I shop therefore I am

This is a slippery slope to follow and it’s the one that has created our society, where it’s ok to buy with borrowed money and it’s ok to live beyond your means. Our society where we consume more of the earth’s resources than anywhere else in the world should be cause for alarm, and yet we continue acting in the same patterns.

Although most of the spending that’s being done is done with little thought, one would do well to take a moment to think about who is really benefiting from it. While more of the growing middle class slip farther into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses’, the already swelled incomes of huge companies get even bigger. The only gain we get from spending our money on an excess of things is a fleeting sense of superiority, until it’s quickly replaced by the sense of anxiety that arrives with the next Visa bill.

In order to win back a feeling of independence from possessions, a day where people are encouraged not to spend money was thought up, and Buy Nothing Day was created. Originally started in Vancouver in 1992, the event has spread to a number of different countries and is largely endorsed and championed by Canadian magazine AdBusters. While it might be a simple idea, it’s one that most would feel is beyond their grasp, because they simply have to spend money, for food or gas or whatever.

But I believe that it’s important that everyone should try, just for one day. It’s becoming clearer that the lifestyle that we’ve become used to is not sustainable. We’ve got to realize that we don’t have to go through life with wallet in hand.

participate by not participating

participate by not participating

This year’s Buy Nothing Day in North America is November 28th and International on November 29th.