Materialism Is Ruining Us

Ann-Marie is an 18 year old Political Science and International Relations student. She has a YouTube channel called SpeakOut Generation where her and the co-founder highlight social and political issues in the life of the youth today. She hopes to go on to inspire the up coming generation to do more and to be more.

Materialism is defined in the dictionary as a preoccupation with or an emphasis on material objects, comforts and considerations with a disinterest in or a rejection of spiritual, intellectual or cultural values.

As human beings we are creatures of the eye and therefore is natural for us to see things that we like and immediately want it. We want what looks good to us. Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with creating and wanting nice things but we as humans have turned this natural inclination into a form of worship and this is sadly only getting worse from generation to generation.

We are constantly taught by society that the more you have, the more you are worth, the better you look, the happier you will be. This is not only taught to us by the world around us but is also reinforced by the TV and media. So girls go out to buy bags with letters on them to show that they are not worth less or worthless. Guys go out to buy cars, designer shoes, belts and jeans just to impress. We don’t care about the condition of our souls, the states of our minds or the errors in our ways because nothing else matters along as we get the latest gadget that we will care about for only a few days.

We have the ability to change the world the technology to do it too yet we use our innovation to further increase the already good quality life of the ‘haves’ instead of helping out and improving the quality of life of the ‘have nots’. Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day yet we in the developed nations are buying things we do not need because we are obsessed with materialistic things instead of appreciating the essentials that we have! If you are reading this right now you are probably in the richest 10% of the human population. You have a roof over your head, food in your fridge, a bed to sleep in and even a laptop/iPad/phone to read this on, yet you still complain because your house isn’t big enough or you don’t have the latest iPhone.

This constant want for more and more things isn’t healthy. Studies have shown that as people become more materialistic, their wellbeing (good relationships, independence, sense of purpose and more) diminishes. This is because people are driven by the desire to consume rather than experience. People would rather buy the latest phone instead of travelling and experiencing the world, children would much rather be glued to their iPad, laptop or games console than play outside. The sad truth is that we are wasting our lives in this consumerist, materialistic world we live in. We continue to do and buy meaningless things because whoever loves materialistic things never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.

But I fully believe that our emerging generation could be the generation to change this, if we all wake up and see that none of the stuff the stuff that we accumulate will matter in a few years but the memories that you create, the people that you meet, the experiences you have and the impact you have on the world for good are everlasting.

So I say go out, invest in culture, buy an experience, do something meaningful and change the world for the better.