Our society is a place where different communities reside, and everyone lives in great peace and harmony. People living in societies celebrate different festivals and enjoy their community activities thoroughly as well. This was the scenario of society around 50 years back. People went to meet and greet each other, and there were no smartphones to keep them cooped up in their homes. This was actual life. Nowadays, society has become so materialistic that people now run after the latest things, be it clothing, electronics, footwear and whatnot. They assume that having material things will make them look classy and earn them a high place in society. But, this is not so. Material things give only temporary happiness; afterwards, that happiness has no meaning. What truly makes us happy are the relationships we form and maintain with our family, friends and society members.
People now think that being materialistic is the way to move forward. But, this is not so. Our society need not be more materialistic than it is now. If this craze for materialism continues, it will bring nothing but only doom. Nowadays, children as old as 2-3 years old are being given smartphones because they are getting addicted to these things at such tender ages. Children have lost the ability to read books and write with a pen on paper. They now have laptops and Kindles to do all this work for them. This is shameful to see as new parents are not able to raise their children properly. So, this is how materialism has impacted our lives.
Examples of materialism in society:
Materialism is new in thing. Wherever we look, we can see countless examples of materialism. The best example of materialism is a shopping mall. In malls, we see a variety of shops selling everything from footwear, clothing, electronics, and having food courts where we enjoy eating our favourite dishes such as pizzas, burgers, chhole bhature, chaat, etc. So, malls have become heavily commercialized as they try to tempt the consumers into visiting one or the other shop to buy stuff. Even our local market sells many things which tempt us to go straight towards that item whether it burns a hole in a pocket. People have now earned ample amount of money that they cannot spend properly and thus end up using it to buy useless stuff that they don’t even require. We want to keep up with the latest trends, and thus malls and markets are always tempting us to keep up with the trend. Let’s see how clothing affects materialism. Nowadays, boys and girls want to wear the latest styles of clothing which will make them look cool and fashionable in front of their friends and increase their followers on social media. They even want the latest hairstyles to go with their clothes so that it appears classy. The footwear industry has also grown rapidly because of commercialization, and the demand for newer styles of footwear is on the rise. Many people now prefer wearing sneakers, heels, and various other footwear styles that suit them best. Even electronics have gained importance in today’s material society. All smartphone companies are launching the latest smartphones every day. We see these advertisements countless times on television during sporting events or while watching news channels.
Even sports have become commercialized. With the advent of tournaments such as the T20s, cricket has become materialistic and richest. Even others such as football, hockey, kabbadi have become commercialized. People now enjoy these leagues more than ever.
The youth has especially become more materialistic, and this rubs off even on their parents. But, because of being materialistic, the demands of the youth have also gone up exponentially. If they don’t get what they want, they become agitated and even take drastic steps such as taking their own lives.
Disadvantages of Materialism:
There are more disadvantages than advantages of materialism. This has become a sort of cancer that will not leave us till we die. We are hooked to the monster of materialism. We want to have all the latest things, and we follow various celebs who own expensive cars, clothes, jewellery and whatnot. We also start wishing that we must have those things. This type of thinking is not going to get us anywhere. We must stop daydreaming and wishful thinking and give more time and efforts to studies and hard work, which will enable us to become better human beings. We must start helping the needy who are genuinely in need of help. Nowadays, even beggars have become materialistic and act in a fake manner to extort money from people to buy things that are of no use to them. The people of not so well-off households are also addicted to the concept of materialism. These tendencies are very harmful in the long run. Some other disadvantages of materialistic tendencies are sadness, depression, always putting on a show of fake happiness, wanting the approval of others on everything that we own whether we need it or not, judging people quickly, expressing our fake opinions on any issue etc. This has become the norm of society. People have become way too materialistic with themselves, and the whole world has become a sham. Everything in this world cannot be bought with money, for example, happiness. We must take lessons from the past and start connecting physically with people. That’s not possible currently because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. But still, through the virtual world, we must try to be genuine and show as much affection as we can for our family, friends and relatives. In this way, they will feel loved and cared for, and their love will come back to us multiplied. Our well-being now depends on how much we consume our materials. When we lose our belongings, we become unhappy. This can be explained with the help of an example as well. Suppose we lose our mobile phone, we immediately become frantic and start searching for it everywhere, and when we are unable to get our phone back, we become unhappy and depressed as a result. Snobbishness has also become a part of our lives. To gain more money, we are working long hours in offices to buy more useless stuff to show off on social media.
We are using our natural resources also in a very inefficient manner and depleting them quickly. It’s predicted that in the coming decades, we might have to depend on other sources of energy that are sustainable and will be with us forever.
We often become targets of people’s envy as they also want to get those similar things that we have, and when they are incapable of getting them, they abuse and show jealousy towards us.
These material things will not improve our personal life in a great manner but will temporarily enhance our lives.
The problem of having false or fake friends is also prevalent in today’s world. Until the time we have money, good social status, and other materialistic things, our friends will also multiply and stay with us. But as soon as these things go out of our life, so do these fake friends.
Mental issues such as stress, depression, paranoia are also becoming common because people want to keep all their material possessions with them and don’t want to share them with anyone. This gives them a lot of mental stress with which they are not able to cope up. Mental issues are on the rise, and that’s why the role of psychologists and psychiatrists has also become important.
The problem of deprivation and plenty also affects the world. Those who have ample amount of money waste it on buying expensive things which give them temporary satisfaction whereas deprived people don’t even have enough money to feed themselves.
The environment is also getting affected because of this materialism. Endangerment of species, pollution of air, water and earth and such other problems affect people’s health around the world.
Thus, these are some of the disadvantages that we are facing because of materialism.
ALSO SEE | Money: Reason for One’s Happiness or Sadness
Causes of Materialism:
Some of the causes of materialism are as follows-
- We always hear the age-old proverb that “Grass is greener on the other side.” This proverb has become ingrained inside us, and we also want to have all those things which wealthy people have. We want to have the latest cars, bikes and whatnot just to compete with our peers and outshine them. Competition is rising because of materialism, and people are always in a rat race to beat all competition to come out on top.
- Products are more easily available than ever before. We don’t appreciate the value of things that we already have and are always running after things that we know are beyond our budget and not of our use. We must start appreciating the things which we already have and stop running after materialistic life. We try to copy celebs and are always unhappy with our current lifestyle. The same happens in relationships. We often leave the person who is good and true to us and run after the person we know will deceive us and leave us for good.
- We are lovers of hoarding things. Whether it be eatables, clothing, or anything else, we always want to hoard and hoard to gain a monopoly over others. Later, the same hoarded things become useless, and we cannot understand how to use them properly. They ultimately rot. This hoarding instinct is extremely harmful and can lead to greater unhappiness than happiness. We must buy only that much quantity which is sufficient for us.
- We all want to fit in the society and show our worth to others. That’s why we try weird fashion trends or buy expensive electronics just because we want our friends to know that we also follow all the trends and are not old-fashioned. But it must be understood that having the same things like that of our friends leads to toxicity and doesn’t show anything different. It doesn’t help us stand out in the crowd.
- Commercials or advertisements also increase materialism. By seeing advertisements almost daily, we become attuned to buying that particular item whether we require it or not. Our minds are brainwashed by these advertisements. We must buy according to our needs and not just because the advertisement is compelling us to buy it.
- Glorification of one’s status has become one of the major things in today’s age and time. People now want to show off all of their possessions to the outside world. A great example of this point is marriages in India. People spend off so much money in marriages to show how much wealth they have for their guests to be floored. But these things can be made simple and without spending off too much money. The ongoing pandemic has taught us that this is possible.
- We crave a lot of things in life like acceptance, love and status. We want all of these things quickly, no matter however we wish to get them and damage the path we may take. Ultimately, these things are for a limited period; after that, we have no fondness for these things and continue to live our normal lives.
So, these are some of the causes of materialism.
Effects of Materialism:
The effects of materialism on human beings is harmful and leads to bad consequences. Firstly, we are never happy because we always are craving to get something or the other. When we get one thing, we desire the next. Secondly, materialism doesn’t give us satisfaction. Thirdly, it damages our relationships with our family, friends and relatives as we become more materialistic, we often leave behind our precious relationships which suffer badly as a consequence. Fourthly, materialism has made us blind to the sufferings of others and also taken us away from performing our humanitarian actions. Fifthly, it is making us destroy our natural resources and not allowing us to conserve them for future generations. These and many more are the effects of materialism. We should try to be more minimalistic instead of materialistic as it will be beneficial for us in the long run.
Meaning of a Materialistic Society:
A materialistic society is one where people attach high value to money and other possessions and pay less attention to values, ethics and relationships. These societies are thriving nowadays because of money only. They aren’t bothered about maintaining relationships and care only how much money they are making and spending. Such societies will never be able to survive for long. Once their possessions are snatched away from them, they will be nowhere. Only societies where equal importance is given to money and relationships will be healthy and happy and thrive for a longer period of time. These societies should be more in number as they will help us move forward and give us peace of mind and satisfaction.
In conclusion, societies should stop running after money and instead focus on strengthening their relationships which will be fruitful for them and the people around them. This will ensure that they are loved and cared for. People have to realize that money is not important in this world. Friends and families matter as well. Thus, we have to start becoming minimalistic and reduce our spending on expensive and useless items.