Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Book I'm Reading

It's called Radical Homemakers. In many ways, it's simply validating. It tells me that we are not the only ones trying to live this deliberate way and helps me feel a little more sane. Also, the author manages to clearly say things I've brooded over so that I feel like I could better argue my point by borrowing her words. So, here are some of her words.

On page 96, she says, "We see images of happiness, and they are connected to things that can be purchased. Family together-time is linked to fast-food restaurants. Meaningful friendships are linked to soft drinks. Fun is linked to toys. Prestige is linked to automobiles. This practice convinces us on some level that the objects we see in front of us will bring us the happiness and fulfillment we crave. But the data on happiness cited above (or, perhaps more accurately, the national misery data) indicates the reverse is true.

"Even when the commercials aren't running, our mass media pushes us to aspire for more than we currently have. It raises our standards for comparison. Research has shown that happiness is a relative phenomenon. Thus, in determining happiness, one's perceived status in comparison to others' is often more important than actual amount of income. Television programs or ads depicting lives of prosperity inflate our ideas about what everyone else has, and therefore what we should aspire to."

Why do we tolerate the merchandising of our lives? What are we subconsciously comparing ourselves to? Someone in real life? Or someone on television just following a script written to bring audiences back for more? Are people so depressed because there is an overwhelming amount of laundry and dish washing and not that much drama in real life? Not that many surprise bouquets and sultry stares compared to beds to be made or trash to carry out?

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