Kai Motta writes about ‘throwaway’ culture in this extract from VIR(US)
We could throw away that guilt, because we had learnt to throw away everything, for our culture was inherently built on obsolescence.
Nothing anymore was of any value. Since the 1950s economists and marketeers had drummed into our skulls to keep purchasing, it was the new religion, minus the spirituality. We would dedicate ourselves to the god of consumption. Churches, cathedrals and mosques were once a place to pray, cleanse oneself of sin, lay prostrate to the Lord, engage in community and a form of spirituality, but in a short period of time we built bigger, shinier, more engaging cathedrals where we could all meet especially on weekends and devote ourselves to the consuming of more ‘things’. The shopping centre or the mall. Thou shalt spend spend spend and spend the rest of the week working working working so the following weekend thou can spend spend spend and buy more ‘things’. It was empty, vacuous and throwaway in itself. We were throwing away our lives. But we knew no different. We had been raised in an environment where value was based on money and consumption. It was taught in schools. Employment was based on it with bonuses so you could purchase, yes you guessed it, more ‘things’. In an environment where everything can be easily replaced a society struggles to evolve, struggles to move forward, for if we don’t like someone or something, it can be easily replaced, we throw it away, but because we were too used to this culture, so embedded in it, we replaced it with someone or something that was equally as worthless because that was now the bar, that was our learned behaviour. We didn’t need to work for anything spiritual or fulfilling because we could do that with ‘things’, but the feeling was only momentary, ephemeral. We easily brought in and threw away governments and politicians. So lacking of moral fibre, depth and any type of real challenge, with ease we saw through them. They were hollow, transparent. It was obvious to most that the position of a politician was a stepping stone, a rubbing of the shoulders, a handshake of avarice leading to the eventual employment with the big businesses that owned them. In essence they threw away the confidence of the people. Creating an egalitarian landscape was not on their agenda. They didn’t believe in it. They worshipped money and would throw anything away for it, including their own dignity. We moved through lovers via digital apps, so accessible had ‘love’ become and so swift that another ‘lover’ was always waiting on an app to fill those lonely moments. It had become too easy to find someone and discard when a relationship required work, that we just threw away lovers and moved on to the next hoping that this time the glove would fit, whilst confidently knowing there would be another the minute we opened up an app to start the shopping of love. We threw away our communities for life on social networks. The art of communication had been desecrated. A response could be summed up with a thumb or an emoji. We deemed our lives too important with too little time to converse and to think of others as we had ourselves to constantly promote every minute of the day as we climbed onto that social network stage. So swift were we to throw away time. Time, our greatest and most valuable commodity and yet so comfortably, conveniently and effortlessly did we throw it away. It meant nothing. In the blink of an eye we would be in the twilight of our lives looking back, but it would be okay because life meant nothing, we had simply thrown it away. We threw away the environment. So calmly did we move through each day as the planet we inhabited started to deteriorate and break down. So comfortably did we make those purchases of ‘things’ as sea levels rose, the severity of storms increased, fires raged across the planet, oceans boiled, ecosystems suffered putting a million species at risk. We had reduced our short time on the planet and dedicated it to ‘things’, not personal growth, peace, happiness, spirituality or love. No, we had thrown it away and we didn’t even realise, because we had been trained and domesticated to function like this. It was interesting to hear people talk about free will. But it didn’t exist. All you had to do was sit back and watch the population react in the period of Black Friday, the shopping event of the year. It had started as a day event, then moved on to a week and finally turned into a monthly affair every year in November. No one could ignore it. Social networks salivated with posts of what could be consumed. Collectively we ached for the month. We repeatedly deceived ourselves it was okay to purchase more ‘things’ and simply threw away any guilt with ease. It mattered little about the history of each product, for we needed the fix. October became the month known as White Monday where people would empty their houses of all the ‘things’ they could throw away, essentially ‘whitewash’ their lives and make room for more ‘things’. Yes, free will was in full effect. Never had people been so ‘free’ to devote the whole month of November to fill their houses with more ‘things’. You were ‘free’ to purchase more ‘things’ with your disposable income, if you were lucky enough to have disposable income, or like your friend, next-door neighbour, society, country, the world, you just joined the debt pool and tried to stay afloat. Debt poured down the streets, ran into the drains and throughout all our lives creating a huge flood. Anytime soon the levees, the dams, the barricades, the barriers were set to break and the great deluge, the tsunami, the incessant interminable downpour would wash away our ‘things’ that we so dearly clutched on to in our throwaway lives and in that moment, if we were lucky enough, we caught a glimpse, a shot, a brief exposure of what really mattered outside of owning ‘things’.