As a 29 year old I have known nothing but the consumer mentality. I was born into it.
At a very young age we are bombarded by advertisements during our Saturday morning cartoons, on our cereal boxes, or in the stores themselves. These advertisements are directly marketed to children, teaching them at a young age that what they want/need comes from a corporation. Worse than that, our children are trained to want anything and everything, especially what they do not already have.
They are taught to covet.
Then when our children get to school age they are told they need everything from a “back-to-school” wardrobe to the latest lunchbox to the highly industrialized food sold in cafeterias or packed in those fancy lunchboxes.
As teenagers we are taught that our next move is to get an education so that we can go out into the world and make a “decent living”. We become highly specialized at one thing or another. We might be able to program computer software or analyze the molecular structure of a new chemical, but to do so we have to outsource every aspect of our lives.
So we pay someone else to grow our food, to make our clothes, to build our homes. And it is hard to see that all along we have been convinced that this is what we need to be – consumers.
It might be hard to swallow, but the corporations that sell you stuff don’t care about you. What they do care about is your money. They want you to want things. They train us from an early age to covet the latest and the greatest thing they have to offer and encourage us to live a life of making money in some specialty and forego the production of our own basic needs.
Our own government does not refer to us as people, human beings, or citizens. No, they most often refer to us as “the consumer”.
The consumer is someone who doesn’t know how to supply their own very basic needs of food, water, and shelter. It is someone who often must go into debt in order to remain in the consumer system. It is the vast majority of our population, and the corporations that supply us with these goods would like to keep it that way.
If we all woke up one day and said “You know what, I don’t want to buy your stuff anymore, I want to produce/make/grow my own,” we could say good-bye to the need for student loans, credit cards, coupons, time away from our families, jobs we don’t like, and stores we have to drive to to buy all of this stuff.
It might seem far-fetched, but we have that choice. We can choose to transition from consumers to producers one day at a time. It starts by saying no to the stuff and choosing to make-your-own. It starts by asking ourselves how can I live without this or that and how can I do this myself?
To not be a consumer starts with our thinking. The production that follows is a natural consequence of the change in our attitudes.