“The most beautiful lives, to my mind, are those that conform to the common human pattern, with order, but without miracle, and without eccentricity.” – Michel de Montaigne.
The unlearning to live is always getting easier in our capitalist society. As a child, we just needed our parents to read us a book or the taste of an ice cream and the formula of happiness was perfect. Today we always want more. We were taught to be non-satisfied with basic things. We see stars and starlets who sunbathe at the pool on their 200m² garden estate of their luxury villa in the middle of Ibiza. Gucci-handbags, Manolo Blahnik Pumps, ostentatious Lamborghinis. A life of which so many dream. Laura Weisberger was right when she tried to emphasize with her multi-award-winning bestseller, “The Devil Wears Prada” that money and fame are not the most important values in life.
Nevertheless, it appears that the media tries to convey just the opposite: materialism and consumption are apparently exactly those components whereby mental satisfaction can be achieved. Invest in our newest products and they will make life more beautiful, seems to be the motto. Open happiness when you drink Coca Cola.
Do you smell the rainbow when chewing Skittles? And is not life juciy with Starburst? All these slogans try to hoax us into believing product purchase is the solution for every life crisis. They promise a good lifestyle and make happiness therefore buyable.
Consumption. This is what today’s thrill-seeking society needs. And yet, those promises of happiness are grand illusions, wrapped in glitter and gold. Anyhow, they can indeed be truly effective for as short time. But the indulgence is short-living. Because then, old things are worn out and we thirst for more. Again the feeling of dissatisfaction, the appetence for stimulation. As a result, we are seldom ever satisfied with what we have and strive after the newest products that evoke significantly even more luck.
I am not saying that materialistic things are bad. But what I say is that our obsession with buying things makes us discontent. We are living in an age identified with moral decline, the collapse of culture, the disintegration of society – reinforced by capitalism. The perpetual attempts to gain satisfaction through material goods often end in disillusionment.
The small, simple things in life that could make us happy lose their value, they are not enough. Family, friends, a roof over our heads, the smell of spring… because there is more outside. And as long we are humans, we will always strive for more. We are taught by the media and big companies to never stay satisfied as long as those things are available to us. We compare ourselves to others. Too often. If we are short, we wonder what it means to be tall, if we have the talent to dance, we wonder what it would mean to be a great painter. Children wish to grow up fast, adults wish to be children. It is a world of contradictions with most of us unable to find a balance. And in this world, it should be never forgotten that the simplicities in life are most times the most beautiful.