I think we all are guilty of falling into the trap of instant gratification, but our present society largely thrives on it. As such, breaking this pattern will be difficult, but from an individual and societal front, it is necessary to avoid dangerous repercussions in the future. In a society that glamorizes luxury, we often don’t see or even want to see the ramifications of our actions. I think the phrase ignorance is bliss, unfortunately, rings true for a lot of us. My hope for a better future is that people go out of their way to remove themselves from their social bubbles and seek discomfort. Welcoming a state of vulnerability is the only way that we can foster growth and change to hopefully move away from some of the instant gratifications of luxury placed at our fingertips. Socializing with different circles and people from different walks of life, ideologies, and backgrounds could help foster a sense of community back into a world that is so highly networked but fosters such little true human connection. It is so easy to fall into a cycle of instant gratification because it always ends up leaving you wanting more due to the lack of long-term satisfaction. For example, the reason that Tik Tok is largely as successful as it is today is due to its ability to cater specialized content to its consumer through short-form content that can be scrolled through for hours. We consume what we think we desire through popular trends that allow us to become puppets driving what is the next big thing that fills a new niche, resulting in more sources for instant gratification. The only thing that holds any semblance of meaning in this world is what we as humans give meaning to. Arguably, social constructs like diamonds are only as valuable or necessary as we deem them to be compared to other rocks. They are rooted in tradition signifying matrimony that in my opinion isn’t necessary. The chokehold that we allow materials and consumerism to hold over us as indicators of power, identity, status, and relationships can change if we slowly deviate from their symbolic nature that is spoon-fed to the masses. While I think it is natural for humans to indulge in the occasional want versus need depending on their values, nowadays the want has become prioritized as a need. I envision a positive future in which people allow themselves to be open to vulnerability, seek discomfort, and question their consumption of materialistic goods relative to their own values. If we as individuals can identify triggers that drive our desires for instant gratification, we could truly mobilize change in consumer culture. Not only is the potential to benefit our environment immense, but the social change, mental health awareness, and healing that it could bring to so many people is an irrefutable step towards healthy living that should not be ignored. #UnleashValues @cosphereproject
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I think you know the definition of "luxury" very well. This is a really difficult problem to solve. Personally, I think extravagance and unnecessary waste are bad but not easy to give up. Maslow's theory of needs, which I personally obsessed with, states that some humans have fully satisfied their underlying needs (i.e. physiological needs and safety needs), and in this case they are bound to pursue higher needs, namely social needs and respect needs, Hence the birth of the "diamond" this absurd mineral with strange meanings (and these meanings are caused by people's spiritual needs). People who meet the needs of the bottom will no longer care about material satisfaction and must pursue spiritual satisfaction, which leads to the emergence of symbolic "luxury", which is wasteful in material terms, but is a symbol of status and dignity in spiritual terms (although it is not actually). So, I feel like there's still a long way to go before we can completely solve this problem.
This is so well said Ravleen! I totally agree with you on the instant gratification culture, TikTok has made it way too easy for us to get our "fix" within 6 seconds and move onto the next thing. You can see that pattern in the social media content we take in but also in our purchasing habits. Have you seen those $700 Shein hauls where people go nuts buying all the new trendy clothes, make a youtube video or TikTok on it for views, and then move onto the next fad within a day?? And viewers just eat that stuff up, it's crazy the kinds of content we push for and what is deemed "popular" or not D:
this is a bit too deep for me, it took me a long time to read everything through.
But I agree with you, in this period of time, what can we do? nothing, just try to change something on us instead of the outside world.
I'm wondering if you could expand on what "seeking discomfort" looks like? I agree that the transition to a just/more sustainable path will need to be uncomfortable for privileged/rich folks in the global North (including myself here). But I don't think the idea that everyone should seek discomfort is broadly applicable–many people have enough discomfort already. Perhaps this is overly cynical but I am concerned that we may have trouble building an environmental movement that hinges on asking people to genuinely make themselves uncomfortable (as opposed a movement that changes norms, trends, etc). Curious to hear your thoughts!
Hi Ravleen, I enjoyed reading your post. I agree that breaking the pattern of instant gratification is needed to ensure a safe future free of dangerous repercussions, and that it is extremely difficult to get enough people on board for it to make a difference. One person, or a few people will not result in much change, everyone has to give up a small piece to create a future worth living for the generations that follow.
Honestly I couldn't agree more! I agree with your vision for the future and your values stand true with my own. Supporting one another and identifying our individual roots for gratification are truly important if we ever want to enable this type of change in the world. It was great to see the thoughts of a like minded and self aware individual.