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Keith Farnish: How Important Is Your Identity?

Who are you?

No, I mean, who are you really?

Keith Farnish took a look at our values, our consumer culture, and himself and found his own answer.

From Culture Change:

I have found an identity.

Is that really such a big deal? The thing is, I didn’t realize I was missing one. There are so many things I could call myself: a human, male, a father, a husband, a writer, a thinker, a gardener, a campaigner… so many things that I feel pretty comfortable with, yet until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t realize there was something missing; something that yawned inside me, empty and lacking substance.

As consumers we feel so fulfilled; everything is within arms reach, or just a short drive down the road in the shopping mall, or on the internet by next day delivery. Everything we could possibly need. Consumers are the lifeblood of the industrial economy: it is the confidence of the mass of consumers that characterizes the health of the economy, for without an optimistic buying public there is recession, slump, depression and, finally, collapse. A perfect symbiotic relationship: the consumer has everything she wants, and the economy rises on the continued satisfaction of the consumer.

It’s not quite that simple, though, because without one critical hook, the consumer will quickly start to question the nature of the relationship — maybe it’s not so fulfilling after all, given that all that hard-earned money has to keep being pumped into the rumbling belly of the infinite beast. Unless there is something more, then the consumer might understand the absurdity of this endlessly cyclical, destructive, mind-hollowing culture: we all feel that emptiness and sense of pointlessness from time to time, don’t we? It doesn’t last long, though, because to question the consumer culture is to question ourselves: more than anything, the consumer identifies with the culture; the consumer is part of that culture.

Consumer is more than just a word — it is an identity.

Read the whole article here.


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