Resisting the urge to buy

sweatshops comic

I haven’t done too well resisting the urge to buy, but I am doing better.

One could make the argument that no one growing up in a capitalist society has a chance. Or even a non capitalist society that is materialistic. Isn’t it strange that as much as we claim we are superior to animals, we are more materialistic than they are.

Animals can only gather so much, and then they stop. Bears eat as much as they can to survive the winter. Humans on the other hand eat more than they could possibly need and kill themselves because of their inability to control their hunger. Is it greed when squirrels gather nuts, or it is nuts we allow billionaires to gather at the detriment of society?

I’ll give you an example. I love solar power as you might be aware and I found a new solar generator and solar panels that could triple my capacity for storage and collection. I would love to buy it, but I don’t have $5000 for that setup. Yet part of me is trying to find a way to make it happen. Now the system that I have spent $2000 is a few years old and so much better than having nothing. There is nothing wrong with my current system, but it is not the “new thing”.

As a kid I wanted the newest and best and I saw the folly in that long ago. We don’t need the best to be happy, and we often find that what we bought doesn’t make us happy. I would not be happier I know after buying that, yet part of me wants to. It is irrational. It is more likely that I will need cash than a solar system, so why isn’t saving a value?

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Strangely as a kid I was a big saver. Then something switched and I saw people spending and savers looked stupid. I felt silly holding onto money when people were enjoying it. Yet for years I didn’t save enough partly due to how life works and my own fear of the insecurity of money. My grandmother told me how in the depression all of her families savings disappeared and that impressed me greatly. Yes, there is some protection in banks for this yet we see many people losing money in “safe” investments.

To me the only safety seemed to be in material things, yet those were unsafe as well. My grandmother had a fire and lost most of her material possessions. Clearly this means there is no safety in things nor systems.  So why do we think and believe there is? The only real safety we have is in what we know, and the relationships with people who care about us. All else can be taken away.