Friday, 30 April 2010

Projecting the "me I want people to see"

By Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

(Note that this post is a re-vamped version of an earlier post in my personal blog on simple living, consumption and identity)

I wonder though what other people see when they see me and my home? I wonder if they see that I do this out of choice - to avoid human exploitation as much as possible? Or do they think I've fallen on hard times? Or do they think anything at all?

I have a feeling it falls into the latter category. I think that many people see so much stuff that they become kinda blind to how much they can see ("stuff overload"??).

My theory of "stuff overload" can be supported (I think) by the experiences of Alex who wore the same brown dress every day for a year...and she said that most people (especially those at her work) didn't even notice she wore the same dress every day. I also know that I don't really notice what other people wear or have either unless if they themselves point it out to me (and even then I usually have forgotten about it by the end of the week.)

"Too Much" Photo by Joe Madonna

So where am I going with this? I am starting to develop a theory (or should I say further develop my original consumption and identity theory).

I believe that consumerism has become a major way for us to project our identity - in this context:
  • the me I want people to see; or
  • the me I want to be.
The problem, however, is that in projecting our identity in this way we start surrounding ourselves with lots and lots of stuff....and we all develop "stuff overload blindness" (let's call it SOB).

And because we become blind to stuff, we then don't understand why the stuff we have do not seem to be projecting "the me I want people to see" or the "me I want to be".

Which leads us to think that our stuff must be "wrong" and so we get more new stuff. And we think "great! this is the stuff that will finally get people to see!!" or "great! this is the stuff that will finally project the me that I want to be!"

But the reality is that no matter what stuff we get, people (including ourselves) still have SOB and therefore won't be able to see for any meaningful length of time what we want to project...

So the whole thing is a pointless exercise which leaves us feeling dissatisfied.

...anyway, I hope I've made sense in this post. What do you think about my little theory?

I wish you all a good weekend.