Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
– Edwin Arlington Robinson
There a many (and great) forces pushing us toward Materialism.
I am thinking of a “simple” billboard image. There is nothing “happening”. It’s just an image of a woman. She is beautiful. She’s about 28. She’s lounging back in a slinky dress. Maybe the ad is there to sell us perfume … or maybe jewelry. (It does not matter.)
This model’s job (and she is RICH, of course) – is not really to convince us that we should want what she has. It is ASSUMED that we want what she has. It’s HER JOB to communicate to us that, now that she can AFFORD the diamonds (or the expensive perfume or whatever), and that NOW THAT SHE HAS IT … she finds that – it is, without Any Question – Absolutely Fulfilling!
Such ads contain almost no words. But they are subtle … and powerful.
I wonder whether ANY industry has, in the past 40 years, learned as much as has the Public Relations Industry! (which SHOULD, of course, be called – the Public MANIPULATION Industry)
WHO WE THINK WE ARE is Big issue. And in the Great War of Ideas, the Advertising Industry knows Quite Well – that they ‘have a dog in this race’!
I just now tried to get some useable stats – on ‘deaths due to anorexia and bulimia’ and I did not succeed. But we all KNOW that it’s a problem
I DID learn though – that anorexia is our most fatal mental illness – with a mortality rate FOUR times that of clinical depression.
And What Else do we know? We know that the Advertising Industry is complicit in these (many) deaths.
Of course – what they do is NOT ILLEGAL. And from their point of view, I suppose it’s just ‘unintentional’ … just ‘inevitable’ (and acceptable) Collateral Damage.
These deaths … these are Casualties … in the Great War of Ideas.
Suppose you hold your hand out in front of you (a foot or so) – palm down … and you want your hand to float upward (a foot or so) – it will DO SO!
For me, this is adequate evidence – that the Soul owns the Body … and NOT the other way round!
If the Ad Industry can convince an entire population of young girls that they ARE their Body … they will have achieved a Major Step in making them into Proper (& manageable) Consumers.
Many times have I witnessed young parents telling their young girl-child (or saying so in FRONT of her) – that she is BEAUTIFUL.
(And NEVER have I gotten the sense that they felt that they were doing ANYTHING WRONG.)
Even so … it’s a BAD IDEA !
That child will take those “compliments” to mean that THAT’S what’s GOOD about her! That it’s important. That that is what makes her lovable!
(Surely we don’t want to assist the [already too powerful] Public Relations Industry!
Bill Watterson says [through the mouth of Calvin] – that “We’re so involved with our corporations, that WE pay THEM to advertise for them!” Mmm? )
You should compliment your child on their CHOICES … on their CHARACTER. (NOT on their genetics)
[You might want to watch the film – “Circle of Friends” (1995). It’s a ‘coming of age’ story about 3 girls in a village in 1950’s Ireland. It becomes clear that the most beautiful one in this group has been ‘spoiled’ and is inclined to abuse her power. It’s a good story. Minnie Driver, et al.]
I just now added a certain Maxfield Parrish painting to the ‘Images’ section of the References page. (It’s the 2nd image there.)
I did this because I realized (while I was a student at MIU, and was doing a lot of meditation) – that we are meant to understand that the CHARACTERS in Parrish’s paintings clothe themselves the WAY they do – because of WHO they construe themselves to BE.
And then I realized that if (hypothetically) some certain morning … if we ALL (everyone in all of Western Civilization … without thinking about it) were to go to the closet and don a simple (Maxfield Parrish style) garment (which somehow just ‘happened’ to be there)… and then wear that all day … just that – would Change the World.
Here’s what I think we should do –
WITHDRAW support from Materialism (in the Great War)
Think twice before buying a T-shirt which will turn you into a ‘billboard” for any corporation.
Maybe, sometimes, wear loose-fitting and graceful clothing. (Let me know if you’d like me to make you a dress.)
Meditate regularly and/or do other spiritual practices which will provide you with an experiential Basis rooted in the truth – (that we are spiritual beings).
Take care when complimenting your children (or other children).
Do whatever ELSE you think might help us ‘win the war’.
“Circle of Friends” (1995) – film w/ Minnie Driver