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OfflineStrumpling
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Registered: 10/11/02
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AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC
    #1999447 - 10/11/03 04:58 AM (13 years, 4 months ago)

K I think its about time to make a thread about this book Affluenza and introduce its idea - I'm just wondering what people think about this:

From the back of the book:

"affluenza, n. - a painful, contagious, socially-transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged persuit of more."

"Affluenza uses the metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done - to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment - by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors show that problems like loneliness, rising debt, longer working hours, environmental pollution, family conflict and rampant commercialism are actually symptoms caused by the same 'disease': affluenza."
"Engaging, fast-paced, and accessible, Affluenza takes a hard look at a complex and serious issue, revealing ways of living and working that make more sense and are, ultimately, more satisfying. After all, the best things in life aren't things."

Some random quotes from this book that will hopefully help send its idea across:

"In 1967, two-thirds of American college students said 'developing a meaningful philosophy of life' was 'very important' to them, while fewer than one-third said the same about 'making a lot of money.' By 1997, those figures were reversed."

"For the first time in human history, children are getting most of their information from entities whose goal is to sell them something, rather than from family, school, or religion. The average twelve-year-old in the United States spends forty-eight hours a week exposed to commercial messages. The same child spends only about one and a half hours per week in significant conversation with his orh er parents"

"'We have people living in houses with one another but not connecting with one another,' says [Greg] Stanton. They're not interacting because, quite simply, they all have their own toys ot play with. 'Dad is on the Internet,' Stanton points out. 'Mom's upstairs watching a movie on the VCR. The kids are downstairs playing video games. Everybody is connected to something outside the home even though they are physically within the home.'"

"'Possession overload is the kind of problem where you have so many things you find your life is being taken up by maintaining and caring for things instead of people,' [Dr. Richard] Swenson says. 'Everything I own owns me. People feel sad and what do they do? They go to the mall and they shop and it makes them feel better, but only for a short time. There's an addictive quality in consumerism. But it simply doesn't work. They've gotten all these things and they still find this emptiness, this hollowness. All they have is stress and exhaustion and burnout, and their relationships are vaporizing. They're surrounded by all kinds of fun toys but the meaning is gone.' 'Tragedy,' observes Swenson, 'is wanting something badly, getting it, and finding it empty. And I think that's what's happened.'"

"Our demand for buildings, fuel, and consumer products sends huge draglines, combines, chainsais, bulldozers, and oil rigs blindly into pristine wilderness."

"Margaret Norris, codorector of the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, says the ethic among the low-income youths she works with is 'Thou Shalt Get Thy Money On,' and by any means necessary. Such desperation often leads to crime. - 'Never mind, just lock em up" seems to be our social response to this situation... The United States already has locked two million of its people behind prison bars, the largest percentage of any nation in the world, ten times the rate of most industrial countries. California alone now has more inmates than France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, and Holland combined. In some dying 'rust-belt' industrial cities, like Youngstown, Ohio, prisons have become the biggest source of jobs. Private companies like the Corrections Corporation of America now make millions running lockup facilities."

"The social scars left by affluenza are now being replicated throughout the entire world, as more and more cultures copy the American lifestyle. Every day, the television exposes millions of people in the developing world to the Western consumer lifestyle (without showing them its wards), and many are eager to be included."

"It is critical that we begin to set another example for the world, and quickly."

hopefully we're not an "example" for many places now deep into 2003.

Any thoughts on affluenza?
Any excitement you'd like to share about a product you've recently purchased?
Ever wonder if a whole generation of children who were raised on television and commercialism can actually derail this crazy-train?


--------------------
Insert an "I think" mentally in front of eveything I say that seems sketchy, because I certainly don't KNOW much. Also; feel free to yell at me.
In addition: SHPONGLE


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Offlinefireworks_godS
Sexy.Butt.McDanger
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Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 24,849
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: Strumpling]
    #1999568 - 10/11/03 06:26 AM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I took a risk and jumped off the train awhile ago.. landed in a beautiful meadow of happiness and fufillment, I did. :grin:

Metal for all!
Peace.


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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Invisiblezee_werp
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 User Gallery

Registered: 03/25/03
Posts: 1,026
Loc: Aotearoa
Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: Strumpling]
    #1999703 - 10/11/03 09:56 AM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Hey,
That book sounds really interesting. I'm keen to read it. I agree with a lot of the little tidbits you posted. Infact, every day I look around me and think to myself, look at us, us human beings, we're fucked, we've fucked ourselves. And I wonder, is this simply the natural progression of events? How much has chaos been involved in this collapse of personalities? Is this change inherantly evil, is it bad? And where is this leading?
And I guess this leads me to the question, as was mentioned before, is it too late for us to 'turn around' and gain back our selves, as human beings, or is the world already irreversibly fucked?
I tend to arrive at some kind of meditation upon the yin yang. And that is where the answers seem to flow to.

Your description of this book reminded me of an excellent book which I just read recently. It's called 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hesse. Very cool book, its pretty short and really easy to read, has some good philosophy in it. Also Alan Watts' compilation book 'Does It Matter? Essays on materialism' (Along those lines, someone is borrowing it off me right now so I dont know the exact title). And one of the essays in that book is centred around psychedelics.

Anyway dude nice post. :wink:


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OfflineCleverName
the cloudsshould know meby now...

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1,121
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: Strumpling]
    #1999737 - 10/11/03 10:55 AM (13 years, 4 months ago)

most of the worlds problems stem from the feeling of not being whole.


--------------------
if you can't find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?

this is the purpose


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Offlinestart25
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 111
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: Strumpling]
    #2000079 - 10/11/03 02:03 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Sorry but from what you posted about that book it sounds like a waste of time and money- another intellectual that thinks too highly of himself, and starts pointing out the painfully obvious nature of our current society. I have not read the book so maybe he does give some sort of solution, but from this post he offers absolutely no solution or real idealist philosophy to aspire to in the future. I do not like this materialistic world, I even fantasize about withdrawing U.S. citizenship, claiming a plot of land, and living as a hermit farmer, but damning the world in a dramatic fashion with obvious statements just seems a little blas? to me, it reminds me of books like Alan Wolfe’s Moral Freedom- another expose on the painfully obvious.


"In 1967, two-thirds of American college students said 'developing a meaningful philosophy of life' was 'very important' to them, while fewer than one-third said the same about 'making a lot of money.' By 1997, those figures were reversed."

Not a good stat. They asked American college students in the 1960’s about money. First of all most college students back then had money, they came from well to do families. Kids from well to do families do not care as much about money because they have had it all their lives. While they are at college, they still do not care about money (especially in the era of the hippie movements, right after the summer of love, which low and behold was driven mostly by college students and university intellectuals), because their parents are still supporting them. Therefore, this survey asks a ridiculously homogenous body what is important to them. If you asked baby boomers (53-60) today what is most important to them, you would probably get the same response- finding a happy life philosophy. Yes, believe it or not, baby boomers are starting to question what true happiness really entails as they reach each old age.

"For the first time in human history, children are getting most of their information from entities whose goal is to sell them something, rather than from family, school, or religion. The average twelve-year-old in the United States spends forty-eight hours a week exposed to commercial messages. The same child spends only about one and a half hours per week in significant conversation with his orh er parents"

What? This just seems like pure garbage. Religion (especially the predominant ideologies in America), are never good for children, unless you want them to live in an ideological cave that they are so bound to that they have neither the courage nor desire to leave. School teaches kids slanted, incomplete history- WRONG HISTORY, which is the worst aspect of it, but there is even more. Many teachers (especially at the k-8 level) are nice people, but they are not very bright- yes, I have seen it- and restrictive of children’s creative abilities. When was the last time an elementary school class had a great discussion on something affecting their lives (I know it’s still a young age, but it’s then that we should inspire, not dictate what should be). But you can’t even do that because every touchy subject has to be censored and ignored so that kids become a sterile, non thinking entity- in affect they become likened to what the media and main stream dry-grounded society conditions them to be. School and Religion are not the places to search for your being. In addition, commercials are not teaching children what they ought to be, they are just there, they encourage kids to spend, to accumulate (which is a way of being), but not what to be, not answers to real questions- that inspired people desire. Youth today, we have the greatest tool of understanding ever: the Internet. You get to search through millions of other’s philosophies and questions and opinions. You reach boards like this that can change the way you look at the world. I always thought the moon landing was probably fake, but after participating on that thread, I really have broadened my perspective. That is the future of the conditioning of youth- questions and answers and an open mind. Not ideologies and idea-sterile school systems.


"'We have people living in houses with one another but not connecting with one another,' says [Greg] Stanton. They're not interacting because, quite simply, they all have their own toys ot play with. 'Dad is on the Internet,' Stanton points out. 'Mom's upstairs watching a movie on the VCR. The kids are downstairs playing video games. Everybody is connected to something outside the home even though they are physically within the home.'"

Another silly statement. Let us just go back to the average family before the advent of modern media possibilities. Do you think they spent all their free time talking with one another? Heck no, fathers worked long hours just as today (only it’s both parent now), smoked their pipe in quiet solitude, while the children were off reading their school books and the mother was off cooking or sowing or something else. It has nothing to do with individual pursuits of solitude. You want to blame something for the disintegration of the modern family; blame the liberal programs that want to give teenage, irresponsible children the right to dictate their entire sexual lives. Blame the drug programs that aim to scare the hell out of children, lie and distort the facts in any way possible, and give kids the impression that all authority is lying to them from a young age, when they grow up and learn the truth. Blame the hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh that deride thinkers/artists like Jerry Garcia for years, and then get addicted to pain pills- a drug that has no mind-expanding qualities. Blame the liberal Hollywood that teaches kids the most important things are sex, violence, power and money- through both programming and the lives of celebrities. What I am trying to say is that kids do not have a damn role model in sight now days. Media is a powerful programming tool, it can be used for good or bad, but we have to change what we value seeing there first, or we have to have concerned parents there with their kids telling them what is right and wrong.

"Our demand for buildings, fuel, and consumer products sends huge draglines, combines, chainsais, bulldozers, and oil rigs blindly into pristine wilderness."

Well we are still trying to avoid using the wilderness, but unless you want all society to standstill and suffer harsh economic times, somebody better invent a hydrogen powered car, or make stricter regulations on oil companies. I do not even see how this fits into the context of the author’s argument- it is another unrealistic ideal without a solution- oil and resources run out and there are almost 300 million people in this country.



Margaret Norris, codorector of the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, says the ethic among the low-income youths she works with is 'Thou Shalt Get Thy Money On,' and by any means necessary. Such desperation often leads to crime. - 'Never mind, just lock em up" seems to be our social response to this situation... The United States already has locked two million of its people behind prison bars, the largest percentage of any nation in the world, ten times the rate of most industrial countries. California alone now has more inmates than France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, and Holland combined. In some dying 'rust-belt' industrial cities, like Youngstown, Ohio, prisons have become the biggest source of jobs. Private companies like the Corrections Corporation of America now make millions running lockup facilities."

What is this trying to say? Let us try to get to the real core of this statement. Minorities (blacks especially and Hispanics) in the cities are not progressing, because they see three alternatives in the media- sports, music, or crime. If they saw more images of people working hard and making a better life for themselves honestly, then maybe more would be inclined to do the same. A large percentage (not all, I don’t think even half) of the people in prison are in there for drug relates offenses. Decriminalize drugs- the people selling them are no worse than the people in Hollywood selling sex and violence, and the people using them are either in a bad place and need help (narcotics etc.), or generally want to expand their minds and are ready for different states of consciousness’ (psychedelics/actives). Why should these people be persecuted? It is a waste of money and lives. Still this has nothing to do with materialism gone awry, rather the basics of self preservation. Currently, money equals self preservation.


"The social scars left by affluenza are now being replicated throughout the entire world, as more and more cultures copy the American lifestyle. Every day, the television exposes millions of people in the developing world to the Western consumer lifestyle (without showing them its wards), and many are eager to be included."

Not true. I don’t think this author ever left America. If anybody else has ever traveled to a place like Japan, a place that is supposed to be fascinated by American culture and tries to copy American standards, they would see that while the country in general adopts some aspects of American culture, they preserve their own ideals. Really outside of Tokyo, there is practically no American influence. Even in Tokyo, it is more of a fascination than a drive to be just like Americans. And actually, that is starting wear off- the whole Shibouya (sp?) girl thing is practically dead, and they still keep there social values intact. Need another example? How about Canada, a country right next to us, and undoubtedly highly exposed to our media forms. I’m sure people here have been to Canada. Outside of the major cities, the atmosphere is quiet and simpler and there is significantly less crime in their country. There is a different feeling when you’re there. No, the American culture is not taking over the world. The American economy and globalization yes, but not the culture and media. Like I said, in the countries that do monitor our culture, they do it more in fascination than anything else. I’ve traveled to five counties and never has it seemed that any were overwhelmed by American consumer influence and culture, except maybe for the ex-pats living there!

"It is critical that we begin to set another example for the world, and quickly."

Let’s not flatter ourselves. We should stop globalization, multinational trade pacts, global government, reveal the truth behind the World Bank and IMF. We should set an example for our kids, take back our sovereign rights as men and women, free drug related prisoners, let parents raise their kids by their morals, not the states, expose them to real role models and thinkers, and start to teach people to question. That’s what we have to do just to save ourselves; the rest of the world is just watching us because we are so powerful and rich, not because they want to be like us.

If we want to do away with a material society, it begins in the home, it begins with introspection, and it takes a massive change in all facets of society. I don’t know how to execute this strategy, all one can do is influence the people around them, but writing a melodramatic book with no solutions seems purposeless.


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OfflineStrumpling
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: start25]
    #2000458 - 10/11/03 05:26 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I was encouraging people to check out the book - there is a spectrum of methods the authors suggest we can use to lessen affluenza. You ahd said "It begins in the home, it begins with introspection, and it takes a massive change in all facets of society. I don't know how to execute this strategy, all one can do is influence the people around them, but writing a melodramatic book.."

Ha the books discusses how it begins at the home, how it requires introspection, and discusses massive changes that would be required in all facets of society.. Their plan for executing this strategy is to write a best-selling book and send their message and beginning solutions to not just the people around them, but all over the world thought book and television form. This book is actually an elaboration of a wildly-popular television special that discussed Affluenza and got tons of people questioning their ways of life and looking to help this turn-around.. The book is basically more detailed and offers more solutions to assist us, while undeniably supplying a large amount of cash to the creators. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, making money, if lots of it is used to help snap people out of this money-zone - they've gotta be partially in the money-zone to have access to the spenders' minds.

As for the rest of your post - It looks to me like you're trying to ignore the issue.. Perhaps I didn't choose the best "samples" from the book, but you seem to be avoiding the possibility that OUR MODERN OBSESSION WITH "STUFF" IS LESSENING OUR PREVIOUS FOCUS ON "EACHOTHER!"

I recommend Culture Jam (Written by www.adbusters.org founder) to whoever realizes the idea of Affluenza or enjoys the book - But I wouldn't recommend it to you, Start25. I think you'd be arguing with every paragraph in your head


--------------------
Insert an "I think" mentally in front of eveything I say that seems sketchy, because I certainly don't KNOW much. Also; feel free to yell at me.
In addition: SHPONGLE


Edited by Strumpling (10/11/03 06:27 PM)


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Offlinestart25
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Registered: 09/11/03
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: Strumpling]
    #2001145 - 10/11/03 10:18 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I said I agree with the author didn't I? Who can honestly disagree, with people rolling around in gas guzzling super-vans with automatic trunks and television sets? If you don't mind briefly detailing any of the ways he/she proposes to counter this "epidemic" then I would gladly retract my accusation that the book is pointless. Seriously, lately, any half-wit thinks that because they observe something and have a degree (or sometimes not) it requires them to write a book that states the obvious. And that is no better than the materialism this author is damning.


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OfflineStrumpling
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Re: AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC [Re: start25]
    #2001175 - 10/11/03 10:35 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

"it requires them to write a book that states the obvious."

You shouldn't require any more info on this book if you feel it is simply stating the obvious.


--------------------
Insert an "I think" mentally in front of eveything I say that seems sketchy, because I certainly don't KNOW much. Also; feel free to yell at me.
In addition: SHPONGLE


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