a brief social commentary #4. (i think therefore i consume.)
upon arrival to the states i had the opportunity to stay a couple days in new york city before i came home to florida. i was hanging out with a friend in soho, new york city and on the way to meet up i saw the most gratuitous store i may have ever encountered in my life. it was an entire store that was dedicated to dog clothing. sweaters, trendy t-shirts, even upscale collars that were studded with random diamonds and jewels, kept in a glass case for display.
normally i don't think it would have been a big deal to have seen a store like that but having just arrived off a plane from kalcutta, india this was utterly shocking and like i said before rather embarrassing to know that in mexico city thousands of people are looking through the trash for spare pieces of aluminum or other types of metal so they can afford a meal tomorrow. in africa today a boy's stomach pains are keeping him inactive; with no energy to even cry out for help. in kalkutta i saw with my own eyes a man walking on his knees, his back had been broken and now he hobbled on all fours and used rags around his legs so that the impact of the asphalt was minimal because he had no money to afford any type of medical attention.
we are beyond survival, we have met all the basic needs of cloths, shelter, food, and clean water; we are so frivolous that instead of buying a pair of pants for $19.00 at GAP we have moved on to $119.00 at nordstrams, and i am guilty as well. i refuse to point fingers or single anyone else out because i am one such consumer. i love starbucks, i could make the coffee myself at home, but instead i drive my suv across town and get my (almost) $4.00 cup of coffee.
i don't know whats next, something has to change in my life. i think this is just one area where i am out of balance. i don't have the answers either, i don't know what the medium is between enjoying life to its fullest and being a conscience consumer aware of the worlds needs and problems in ever fiscal transaction.
a lot in our society that we view as a normality or even a cause now appears to be a luxury to me now. take for instance PETA, an organization that i believe is a bit eccentric at times but overall i am against cruelty towards animals. PETA to me now appears to me to be a first world countries luxury more than anything else. we are now living so above our means that we can not only eat on a daily basis and choose what we eat, but now we can label what we eat 'good' or 'bad' morally. men, women, and children all over the world would give anything for a morsel of food today, and they could not care less which way it was or wasn't prepared or whether it was vegetarian, vegan, or whatnot.
i am not here to criticize the cost or moral deliberation of items or organizations, i am simply pointing out that there needs to be a reformation of all consumers in our culture. i am not the leader of this revolution because the cost of my wallet alone could have fed a small village, and the cost of my daily coffee half of what a farmer is paid in nepal for the purchase of his daughter being sold into sexual slavery. i am not the leader of this change but am willing to be a participant in the rising tides of change.