Society leans toward materialism


Justin Toumberlin

According to Merriam-Webster materialism is defined as, “a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress.”

Story by Sarah Day, Writer

Materialism — a value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project. It is nearly impossible not to be focused on items in today’s world, but it has gotten to the point that a person’s objects take precedence over their personality and abilities.

It is expected that money-making adults would feel the pressure of owning the latest knick-knacks, but children do as well. Especially during the teenage years, “popularity” seems to be determined by a person’s clothes, devices and their first car. We use items to judge people even before speaking to them — just take note of the glance a girl gets when she wears knock-off Uggs or Birkenstocks. In reality, though, logos do not make someone more of a person.

It is much easier to have the latest and greatest items when you are not the one paying for them. Today’s children often have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of money, courtesy of their parents. Nearly every wish is granted. Children are losing the value of money, as well as the value of hard work. This only allows our society to become increasingly more lost in objects.

We should not be more inclined to boast about what we own rather than highlighting our personality. People who attach themselves to possessions instead of to members of their community are much less likely to have positive relationships within society.

Social media acts as a catalyst for this issue, forcing constant comparison, even if that comparison is only subconscious. Users are constantly posting photos that highlight their lives, making it look as though they are always up to something fun. The more objects that society deems to be valuable that are included in the post, the better. In all honesty, the purpose of posts of this nature is to incite envy within the person viewing the image and to provide an opportunity for the person posting the photo to show off.

As people become more materialistic, they experience changes in their psychological health. These actions are both socially destructive and self-destructive. Materialism eats away at our happiness, relationships and empathy toward ourselves and others. It increases our anxiety, depression and negative feelings toward others. Materialism contributes to a lack of self-peace and self-love.

What will matter in the end is what is the most precious and permanent— memories, time spent with loved ones and the impact you have on the world. You cannot wear or own happiness. There are so many better ways to spend your time than obsessing over current trends to the point that it consumes time that could have been used for a much better purpose.