Materialism refers to a collection of personality traits. The modern world is full of people who possess the need to be materialistic. Many have a belief that owning things and having the right to acquire everything are the main ingredients to happiness. These people think that success is judged by the amount of possessions owned. Philosophers have been complaining for long that materialism is not needed in moral life. More often the goal of gaining material wealth is regarded as an empty joy and in result prevents a person from being involved in a normal lifestyle. The consequence of pursuing a materialistic lifestyle is the issue in attaining a state of true happiness in one’s life. The empirical studies conducted have shown that there is no connection between materialism and real happiness.
Imam Ali warned his followers about materialism, saying that it would “blind them from the life in the hereafter in two ways.” It would lead them to believe that only this world matters, and getting anything a person wants would not be able to satisfy their needs. Secondly, it would lead to excess, which would lead to human suffering, a truth which has been discovered by many and is the main principle of Bhuddism. If one becomes too materialistic, then this would cause them to try to do all that is necessary to get what they want, not what they need.
Being materialistic is a bad trait to own, as it leads to the creation of the world of difference in the way people treat other human beings(although everyone has a slight habit of materialism in them). The materialistic people rarely treat others as their equals and often try very hard to show off their wealth. They hardly care about anyone but themselves and frequently tend to exploit and ruin people only to get themselves put higher on the social ladder. It is, in my opinion, important for people to read and follow the teachings of the Bible and try to posses morality. The little traits we own, we must share with the poor as this will try for equality in the society. Materialism causes society to be impoverished.
In today’s society, materialism takes part in almost every ones life, no matter what social class they may be labeled. The idea of being materialistic can be considered immoral (I consider it immoral), but there is a fine line between morality and personal interests. It is safe to say that everybody is materialistic in some way, whether it be from buying the same brand of jeans because they fit nice, to purchasing a wide variety of very nice cars. It is obvious that the more obvious of the two is the one where you might say they are crossing the line.
Buying some nice clothes here and there is normal for people and most try to do it once in a while. While on the other hand, buying five or six sports cars can be considered quite materialistic. Many factors go into a person being immoral based on the materials that they have. Greed and too many luxuries are what can determine the immorality of a person. Growing up in a fairly poor community, it was easy to distinguish the differences among different levels of social class and the way which they are shown in the community.
Thoreau believed in “Living deep and sucking all the marrow out of life,” and so he lived on Walden Pond for two years to see how he could simplify his own life in order to live life to the fullest. I wish I could create my own “Walden,” a place I could go to in order to escape the materialism of my society. The place that I would like to create to go would be a place where there is no materialism and I can be myself and be who I want to be. It is a place that’s far away, deep in the woods. This is a place that anything is possible. All around me I see nothing but flowers and animals, beautiful green grass and my own little house to spend my days in. Out there I don’t need to struggle with having to pay bills or having to find and be able to keep a job. All I need to do is sit back, relax, and do what ever I please. I would like to fish for food, but I would only catch what I could eat, because I wouldn’t want to waste. I will sometimes hunt for my dinner and look for food on the ground like bushes of berries. Out in the forest no one has to worry about materialism, they only have to be themselves. I would choose this place because I love the forest and I love animals.
I don’t want to put up any fuss about doing anything that I don’t want to or enjoy doing. I could enjoy living out there in the wilderness, only listening to nature and the birds and all the things that surround me. I bathe in a river that flows with fresh water every day. I’m quite happy that I would have pets with me because if I didn’t then I would be lonely all the time and I would have no one to share my many secrets with. My home would be rather simple, but it fulfills my needs, and out there I wouldn’t need much. All I would have inside is a chair to read in, a toilet under the tree, and a bed. I would only possess the necessities that I need to live. I will build a fire every night to keep me warm and to cook my food.
My house would be just a cabin that can only fit me and my dog (I’d get one to live in the forest alone) just the way that I want it. I would surround it with flowers to make it look pretty and interesting around my cabin. It’s something that’s cozy and something that I could just go to and think and be by me and never have to worry about the pressure of the world, my society or community, and the materialistic crowds that surround me. Materialism in my eyes, and many others’, creates a world filled with chaos and stress. Everybody needs a place to go and relax to get away from it all. What I gathered from my research was that there is always a need for someone to have a place they can go for comfort and relaxation.
Materialism weighs down the real, true value of life and causes many to take for granted what they have. When you compare someone who owns many items high in cash value, who rarely gets to see their family or spends an inconceivable amount of hours at a job they hate, with someone who doesn’t have as much money, but spends their life doing the things they love, who is really truly happy? This question haunts us all, for it is hard to know what real happiness is when surrounded by such a commercial world. But I, for one, will work on my materialistic traits. I wont be able to rid myself of them completely, but changing my lifestyle and values will hopefully heighten my feeling of self worth, and I think every one should live by this philosophy.
Belk, R.W. (1985). Trait aspects of living in the material world. Journal of Consumer Research, 12, 265-280.
Novack, George (1979), The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press
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Topic: Materialism: Want and Life
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