Photo Credit: scataudo, sxc.hu

Have you seen stuff of yours lately and you can’t help but question their existence? “Why are you here? What are you for? Why I even buy you in the first place?” It’s a good thing that you noticed the excess, because many people are drifting with the excessive consumerism ideals of our culture nowadays. Ads on TV, radio, internet, billboards, or even on escalators are constantly shouting many subliminal messages - some of them are true, but many are not. We’re living in a culture of senseless affluence.

What is senseless affluence? It’s overstuffing your life with the unessential. It’s having more material things but failing to extract the priceless from simple things. It’s the constant pursuit of more without even questioning its premise.

Here are the things that some people buy that’s undeniably unessential:

  • Multiple game consoles. PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One - why so many? Choose the best, sell the others or give them to your cousins.
  • Multiple phones. I think I would never understand why in the world some people carry two phones around, switching in interrupting them with notifications every minute. The common reason is they use one basic (dumb) phone for texting and calling, and the smartphone act as their smart companion. But why not use the smartphone for all tasks? Afraid of snatching? Then focus on the real world and not on the screen world when you’re supposed to.
  • All versions of iPad. The older generations are gathering dust somewhere.
  • Extra cars. They don’t even touch the old one.
  • 10 pair of shoes. But only 2 are being used regularly.
  • Goliath-HDTV. Do you really need a 50 inch screen for “immersive viewing”?
  • Vacation home. Vacations are temporary, so why buy an expensive home for that?
  • Apps. Yeah, some downloaded all the top 10 in each category in App Store or Google Play so their app drawer looks like an evacuation center. They only use 15 apps regularly, but afraid of uninstalling other unused apps for fear of missing out or because of the “someday I might use this” syndrome.
The culture wants us to believe that having more is equivalent to being more. Though it takes a lot of work and dedication to have those luxury things if you started poor, having more = being more is not never been the case, it’s giving more = being more, loving more = being more. Beware that sometimes, in our pursuit of more, we sacrifice the very essence of our being - getting more but feeling less. And that’s tragic.

The next time your body is shaking in temptation to buy the latest this-guy-will-change-your-life smartphone, please ask yourself if the upgrade is worth of the life you spent on earning the money you’ll pay for the purchase. For example, do you really need to upgrade from Galaxy S4 to S5? I don’t think so (I believe that you don’t even need to upgrade if you’re using an S3). Drooling for the latest Nike sneakers? Please take a hard look at your current one, more likely than not, those 1-year old sneakers can still run hundreds of miles. If your purchase is not solving a problem, then it’s not worth it.

Think. Wait. Then buy or not.

Own less. Live more. Learn to have the essential things only, because if you’re not distracted by the stuff you own, then it’s easier to focus on the essential things and people in your life. It’s always better to live a meaningful existence than merely survive with senseless affluence.

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
-Jesus

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