|From the desk of Rabbi Brian.
I went to a lecture by David Walsh, Ph.D., who is the President of the National Institute on Media and the Family. He spoke quite eloquently about the adverse effect advertising has on our culture. As you know, our society is and has been quite consumer focused.
(Did you realize that the mass media no longer refers to us as citizens and instead calls us consumers?)
His book, No. Why Kids-of All Ages-Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It can be found here.
This consumer focus unduly dampens our spiritual-religious lives.
Dr. Walsh mentioned four concepts used both explicitly and implicitly in advertising that impact and influence us perniciously. You’ll recognize these four ideas that keep us from feeling whole: More, Fast, Easy, and Fun.
I’m going to talk about each message, the truth, and then give some possible spiritual-religious antidotes.
We are led to believe that we need more and that more is better. We are encouraged to get things we don’t need in addition to new and improved versions of things we already own.
In truth, we know that less is usually more.
Next time you are told you need more, focus instead on the fact that life is filled with both abundance and sufficiency. Remember that chasing more will never fill the emptiness we all occasionally feel inside.
We are led to believe that we shouldn’t have to wait. Delayed gratification is frowned upon. We are encouraged to enjoy now, pay later. We live in a world that celebrates “instant” everything.
In truth, we know that Gandhi was right when he said, “There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.”
Next time you feel you ought to rush (like at a meal), take a moment to notice the compulsion, perhaps simply take a breath and contemplate what’s making you feel the need to rush.
We are led to believe that life ought to be easy.
In truth, we
know that things that are easily gained are neither as pleasurable nor
as appreciated as those things that take some effort.
Next time you are led to believe that a certain something will simplify your life, take a look around and marvel at all how simple your life already is.
We are led to believe that our life experience ought to be fun all the time.
In truth, we know that pursuing fun is equivalent to taking a drug that will never satisfy.
Next time you are lured by the promise of fun (a drink or other escape activity), think about which aspect of reality you’re attempting to avoid.
A Prayer / Reminder
I pray that we all remember that a healthy spiritual-religious life needs to include unconditional acceptance of ourselves and the world as it is – without changing it to include more, fast, easy, or fun.
|The 77% Weekly
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