Buy, buy, buy. Get, get, get. We’re all buyers; consumers of stuff. There are things we need and things we want. Separating our wants from our needs has become more difficult with the growing ideology of consumerism. The encouragement of acquiring more and more stuff at an increasing pace continues to change our society. The “one who dies with the most toys” philosophy has propelled the age of consumerism as our appetite to acquire things has skyrocketed. I wonder though if this is healthy for our society?
I’ve watched over the years, as people become less likely, or unwilling to engage with other human beings due to the “great and powerful Oz”, otherwise known as the Internet of Things. We’ve done an excellent job of removing the people from the business of buying. You can buy shoes online, get a college education online, and buy a car online, all without speaking to, or looking another person in the eye. What will the eventual repercussions be 10, 20, 30 years down the road for this shift in how we interact with one another?
What will happen to our negotiations skills, our conflict resolution skills or our ability to nurture, coach, treat, and develop one another? Our interpersonal skills have already been numbed by texting and surfing. Now there are sites like ibreakup.net that will actually tell your current boyfriend or girlfriend you’re breaking up with them. Unbelievable. Are we lazy or just scared as hell of conflict? I’d argue though that those awkward and uncomfortable moments are critical to the development of the human mind. We learn more from mistakes and adversity than we do the happy stuff. Taking away life’s difficulties isn’t making us better, it’s making us less valuable, less effective, less human.
So as we enter the Holiday season – whatever Holiday you celebrate – think about your own gift giving habits. If it’s cheaper online, I get it. That’s simply being fiscally responsible. But if it’s not, I’d challenge you to go to the store, walk the aisles, smile at others and say hello. Let’s not slip so far into our rabbit holes that we forget that the difference between living and being alive is the amount of interaction and experience we have with one another. Would any of us really want to be walking around this planet alone? Would that be alive? Not me. Make the choice to live alive. Connect with someone. Today.