Culture in Decline: Consumption-Vanity Disorder

Culture in Decline: Consumption-Vanity Disorder

2012, Economics  -   111 Comments
Ratings: 7.95/10 from 173 users.

Culture in Decline: Consumption-Vanity DisorderThe last thing that fish would ever notice in its habitat is the water. Likewise the most obvious and powerful realities of our human culture seemed also be the most unrecognized.

And it is only when we take pause, often at the risk of social alienation, to question the foundational principles and ideas to which our lives are oriented, a dark truth about our supposed "normality" becomes more clear.

Today we live in an ocean with enormous waves of status obsession, materialism, vanity, ego and consumerism. Our very lives had become defined not by our productive thoughts, social contributions and good will, but by superficial, delusional set of associations with the very fabric of our society that now radiates cheap romanticism, connected to vain competition, conspicuous consumption and neurotic addictions often related to physical beauty, status and superficial wealth.

In effect it is social conformity masquerading as individualism, with the virtues of balance, intelligence, peace, public health and true creativity left to rot on the sidelines. The cultural water we inhabit today runs deep with heavy pollution. It starts in our formative years when to be smart and achieving is to be a nerd or a geek.

Culture In Decline: Episode #3 covers a new epidemic disease rapidly spreading across the world: Consumption-Vanity Disorder. Other episodes: 1. What Democracy? and 2. Economics 101.

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111 Comments / User Reviews

  1. No, we did not have the option, at some juncture, to turn society into the Socialist paradise. Then things would have been even worse. Truth is, what underlies present-day neurotic consumerism is the fact that we retain a primitive psychology whereas technological development is running amuck. Our souls are poisoned with the plethora of products and amusement. We are like primitives caught up in a cargo cult. We need no Marxist conspiracy theories to understand the present situation.

  2. Bloody brilliant - synthesizing various strands of the contemporary dominant social pathology into 30+ minutes! Now here is some truthful, accurate cultural media.
    Skyrocketing mental illness is, in part, connected to this normalized madness.
    A dominant culture that abhors and ridicules self-examination is the culture we have.
    Meanwhile, millions remain unaware that a tradition that teaches and rewards instrumental behaviours of compliance and subjugation is a tradition that will eat itself.
    Thanks for this gem - congrats to all these creators!

  3. For the most part, excellent documentary detailing what ails all modern societies (NOT just the United States, although many of the innovations in industry and social control through advertising depicted were first started / tried in America). What the documentary lacked, though, was an examination of the attempts to combat these ailments in the last century...of the various socialist revolutions and some of the most notorious resulting societies (the former Soviet Union under Stalin, current-day Northern Korea under Kim Jong-un, etc.). Of course, it IS only a brief documentary, but a slight mention of the competing horrors wrought by past attempts to "bring down the oligarchs," "raise up the slaves" and smash the "mind control of the the Capitalist elite" would enhance its legitimacy. Peter Joseph (the documentary's creator and narrator) doesn't admit to being a Socialist (or, even a Communist), but clearly he has been strongly influenced by the teachings of Marx...which is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as one focuses on Marx's analysis of Capitalism and maintains a healthy skepticism toward his prophesies about workers' future utopias.

    But, the question not asked in the documentary remains: "What is to be done?" Clearly (at least to me) continuing along this path of hyper-global capitalism, hyper productivity, and control of populations through advertising (and occasional, strategic state violence), will lead to the ruin of the world, but a return to ideological socialism, as was demonstrated in the last century, is definitely not the answer.

    Is there a third, forth, or even fifth way? Pundits and elite on both the ideological left and ideological right claim that there is only one choice: Capitalism or Socialism. I think they're both wrong...there are other paths. We just need our best minds (or is it our best hearts? Best souls?) to imagine them.

  4. And if yopu find yourself on the weaker team....well just try to put out documentaries like this one and change the playing field.

  5. Everyone is not beautiful when they smile. Some people look a lot better that others. It's a fact. Get used to it. In all aspects of life. Some people are just going to do better at life no mater what type of life we choose to live in. Its just the way of the world. In all species....the weak get weaker and the strong survive. What we have to decide is what team we are on!

  6. This doco states one of the purest truths in its purest form.
    Bravo 'Culture in Decline'...

  7. Zeitgeist was my intro to YouTube. I never blogged before that and I can't blog on YT now because of the Google ownership (facial recognition software and drone tech).

    Anyway, Peter Joseph is really amazing. I thank him for all he has done and will do. Be safe PJ.

  8. You are so a bad-ass Kane C&C95 wannabe!!! I mean that in a good way though!

  9. ahhhh the 'freedom' of a dichtomous political system...

  10. A 30 minute documentary that is bang on regarding the insanity of humanity, and strips the wheat from the chaff exposing the root problems that are destroying society as a whole. Great job TDF, and keep them coming!

  11. AWESOME DOCUMENTARY well" all I can say is we have one that can SEE US. It's not everyday that the two legged human sheep actually, began to wake up to their sleeping waking zombie state of mind. Mind controlling a mass population is greatly, needed we must train the sheep to do as their told. Don't have independent thought. I guess we need to turn up the secret ELF waves that's coming from our so-call cell phone towers on high alert now. We must be in control of you at all times. Tell you that flouride is great for your teeth when it's a poison but no sheep ever protest why we poison your air food & water just to keep you from reproducing like rats. Spraying your planet with chemtrails to keep you sick & believing that there's nothing in the sky invisible watching your development. But if you ever woke up to our species you might be surprised that we look just like you. Take care & please wake up!

  12. 'The century of self' by Adam Curtis is a much better
    documentary on this subject— more information, less crap attempts at humour.

    1. also, adam curtis does not put himself in his films, so the subject is not cluttered by the ego of the presenter and all the more powerful for it. here is a guy doing a tired critique of materialism whilst wearing trendy sunglasses and clothes and with some anodyne faceless rage-against-the machine type music in the background. 5:13, i am bored already of this schtick... when the matrix film has become the main stylistic referent in these programmes it's goodnight vienna

  13. He should do one on education too, on how we are molded from a young age
    to be subservient and obedient, be conformists and productive wage
    slaves; by having useless information drilled in our heads, instead of
    being taught to embrace and develop own curiosities, interests, and passions.

  14. I decided to watch this again when it came up today on my browser page.
    If you're considering watching this doc, be warned that it is very DIFFERENT.
    The host, Peter Joseph, is hilarious.
    Using wry humour and sarcasm, he points out our society's obsession with "things" and our "image", while he's snacking, changing his clothes, and fiddling with his glasses.
    He backs up his observations with historical facts and footage.
    There is never a dull moment.

  15. Have had these very seem ideas for most of my life. Glad to see someone put it all together in something for everyone to understand. Freedom is only free when your free. I doubt there will ever being a place where that can happen though.

  16. It's not only Americans. It's a world culture of rabid, irrational consumption inspired firstly by the thinking and motives of early philosophers, economists and property owners and secondly by neo-liberalism that imitates and consolidate the economic foundations on which that pre-industrial society was constructed. It next proceeds very successfully to influence world culture and systems. Marshall McLuhan did say that coca cola bottles would end up in remote corners of the world. Well, they have. I drank a coke yesterday and I did buy my new eyelashes too.

  17. hey, it's a white {j/k}
    a MUST Series for classes, schools, Colleges,& any institute of "Higher Learning"

  18. No! Tis main theme from stronghold legends!

  19. The scene with the Wall Mart incident features a soundtrack from a computer game Vampire the Masquerade Redemption )) a really old game- touch of nostalgy ))

  20. I don't know why he goofs on such simple facts. The Phoebus light bulb organization took it down from 2,500, not 25,000.

  21. You're trying to listen to what is being said, absorb the ideas and digest the information so that it's possible to decide on a degree of agreement or otherwise.

    But then, while ideas are being expressed, there's this s*upid drum beat in the background.

    Chukity-chuck, chuckity-chuck. Bang-di-di-bang-bang-bang.

    How on earth can a person think about what's being said when the background noise is clearly designed to stop all forms of thought or inner reflection?

    Maybe this fella wants us all to agree with him without first thinking about what he says.

    1. You're easily distracted... I wouldn't recommend you watch many Documentaries on this website, since a bunch are independent made, and there are A LOT of documentaries with music in the background. You thought this distracting? You haven't seen much... ............................................................................................................ Maybe if you would pay close attention to what is being said, you'd realize his vocabulary and established opinions are very well built. Agreeing without thinking is almost impossible.

  22. The reality is, for someone to recognise that they have become extremely brainwashed throughout their life is far too confronting. The truth is cold and it appears, to the conditioned mind, to be a lonely road. But if one can face their fears with peace, they will see the insanity in the world and feel completely whole, but on the external level, everyone may think of that individual as either insane or a hermit!! I feel like shaking people at times, like I shook myself. But it would be rather unloving, in a sense

    1. Yes!!! I've "fantasized" on grabbing people by the shoulders and shaking them until all Cognitive Dissonance and denial is gone. Maybe a couple of White-Gloved slaps could help as well. ......................................................................................................... Like in the old days, when you would bump the TV to make it work or bumping the public telephone, so the quarter would fall. Most people need to be shaken out of comformity

  23. The amount of information available these days is simply unbelievable, scientific and technological advancements build up every day, and the brain-washing advertisement to promote products and values we don't really need makes it even worse. Whoever absorbs it all without filtering, simply becomes dumber, lacking ability to distinguish useful information from the tons of informational garbage. The children are the primar victims of this.

    These days, you can watch any TV series and movies from a rental/purchased DVD or over internet. News are abundantly available over Internet as well. So, what's the whole point of television then?! Dumb entertainment shows? Advertisement after every 10-15 min of whatever you are watching?

    I have a friend, in whose family all kids were not allowed to watch television until they turned about 12 or so. Instead, they would play board games / quizzes / etc. in family circle, read a lot of books, watched some selected movies, took trips, etc. Guess what - all 5 kids grew up remarkably intelligent and very well educated. The older ones are already successful in their career. A good luck or just common sense?

    1. My daughters were raised in a similar fashion.
      Unfortunately, in their teens the outside world took over, and all hell broke loose.
      They are very unhappy people now, living on the fringes of society.
      My only comfort now is that I did the best I could.

    2. I have seen similar situations happen way to often. It's like the classical stereotype of the "Catholic School Girl". Completely separated from society and reality. So much so, that when exposed, it's too much to handle. ............................................................................................. Another classic example is with drugs. It's way too common for children to be told that "DRUGS ARE BAD". Suddenly, one of those grown-up children happens to try a drug, and finds it wonderful... and not so much as a bother to the body/mind. That's when they start to wonder if everything they've been told is a lie or deceit. That maybe those who educated you were wrong, because they didn't know what they were talking about. ............................................................................................. I find the best thing you can do with a child, is to tell them the truth, and nothing but the truth from the very start. Helping them understand ALL VIEW POINTS. ......................................................................................... Tell them how wonderful drugs are, tell them how good it feels, tell them how this feeling makes you loose control over yourself.... Tell them how great sex is, how good it feels, the bond that is made. So that they know what they're getting into, and can understand how these (and other things) can "control" our impulses. So children can know that these sensations can make any person do ANYTHING.

    3. Hi Pepe, What I meant was, my girls were encouraged to think for themselves and to question the way things are in our society.
      We discussed all kinds of societal issues and they were able to talk to me about sex and drugs.
      I have led a very interesting life and encouraged them to do the same but to respect themselves and others, and to stand on their own two feet.
      I never dreamed they'd get addicted to prescription drugs.
      They're into their mid to late twenties now and their father has died.
      I never thought we'd end up alienated from one another like this.

  24. This series simply gives a very clear and concise overview of pure facts that belong to common sense.

    Some people, who did recognize the problems addressed in Culture in Decline, pointed out that Peter Joseph "did not give solutions". Well, why would he?! He already does a heck of a job summing up what should be taught to each and every child in school and at home. He gives away information, so an intelligent being can perform a very basic analysis and find his/her own solutions. (Moreover: never trust someone who offers you a ready-to-implement solution.)

    Those, who did not understand the series and are attacking its basic principles: well, there is really no point of arguing with a blind. First of all, get a decent education, then test and challenge all you have learned in practice with an open mind and, hopefully, you'll see the reality and understand.

  25. While the film makers expertly articulated and illustrated the problem,the premise of this film is flawed. While capitalism and consumerism may very well enable the pathology the film makers coin as Consumption-Vanity Disorder, capitalism and consumerism certainly do not create it. Such maladies have haunted the human condition since recorded history. While the documentary makes salient points in relation to obsessive and compulsive consumer behavior, the film makers go astray by indicting the very economic system that made it possible for them to make this film. While no direct reference was made to the principles of Marx or communism, between the lines was a persistent and pervasive message that socialism/collectivism would solve the societal decay addressed in the film. While thoughtful and introspective people will agree that the West's infatuation with status and materialism will lead to ill ends, blaming a system, and expecting a new system to enable a type of healing seams a bit specious. What has become of personal responsibility? If we blame capitalism for creating too much wealth, then lessons from history demand that we also blame collectivism for creating too much poverty. In either case the few still rule the many. Pick your poison.

    1. Market economies, however distorted, do technically allow solutions to the problems created by corporatism and plutocracy... if those solutions are designed to work within the system. This is something we're beginning to see now with fuel and energy production [but improvement didn't begin until the diseases in the supply chain and environment grew painfully acute; it's anyone's guess how that could have been better].

      The things we need and want, from food and housing to plastic surgery and full-body lattes, are indeed a part o f the human condition no matter how we're influenced by our surroundings. Captialism and socialism are irrelevant: personal responsibility and action is what really provides wealth [and if this series boils down to Marxism in the end, I owe you a Coke].

      I like almost all of the ideas suggested in these films, like local community ownership of relatively high-cost and low-use items, but that idea could be misused just as easily as market economics were abused to create disposable and wasteful wealth. In any top-down political or economic redesign, I expect that they WOULD be misused.

      The alternative as I see it is a holistic system that better connects the individual to the world on subjects from food to frivolities, and the key there is the communicative and educative structure.

  26. That is a very good point, as many jobs are being lost to people being imported, which is why there are so many doctors now working in the United States from places like India. On a side note, several years ago a relation of mine lost her job because her company decided to export its entire programming department to some place in Asia. But here was the clincher: My relative was told that the only way she was going to receive any kind of severance package was if she trained her replacement! How is that for a kick in the teeth?!

  27. was this made for a college project??

  28. i think Devon Griffiths is just an example of what this series shows and the blind believe on the establishment...

  29. I feel liKE I am the only person that can ride a bicycle without spandex or the rest of the advertised accessories

    1. reinforcing a stereotype is not helpful-however spandex is not a right but a privilege. If you're so fat you feel insecure wearing it I'm glad you avoid too. nothing worse than a big shiny 3 ft. wide rump barreling down the road in front of me, looking like puppies fighting under a blanket.

  30. These are extremely divergeant problems. He does not offer real solutions, but is clearly effective at outlining the basic problems that need fixing. Solutions can create more problems, but there is no absolute cure to everything.

    That said, these documentary episodes are informative and necessary. But we also need serious people to watch them and do something about them. It's perfect that we can now spread the word through the internet, a massive form of communication emerges and implicated parties can have a hand at implementing solutions.

    These kinds of documentaries are key to the evolution of our culture.

  31. The assumption that capitalism is defined as profit at any cost is one made by the money-grubbing elite and those who blindly embrace this very mean-spirited, treasonous credo. American businesses which export jobs overseas and then accrue huge profits are the very same money grubbers who refuse to pay any taxes, and then deposit their profits into off-shore accounts. The result is rising unemployment in the United States, and also a massive loss of money available in the U.S. economy. But the real crime is the exporting of jobs. This undermines decades of efforts for fair labor practices in the United States. It also relegates all workers in the U.S. to groveling at the feet of businesses, particularly mega-corporations. Workers are all too often told, "well we could just move our operation to China," which is in essence a veiled threat to shut up and keep your head down. This practice of American businesses reaping the profits of overseas labor needs to come to a screeching halt. The real harm this causes is just not worth the cheap goods we end up with. And the only ones really making any money in the United States are the tiny handful of corporations who believe that profit at any cost is acceptable. At one time we had tariffs in this country which protected our businesses, but with the rise of the Neocons since the early 1980s (under Reagan and Bush) all laws which protected American businesses and American workers have been gutted. Sadly, under Clinton and Obama, the trend has continued and actually sped up, gaining momentum with each barge-load of foreign goods exported to the United States. And the more we crawl into bed with China the more we are looking like a Communist country, where workers have absolutely no rights. Is making a profit at any cost really worth it, with that said? Profit at any cost is too high a price for any society, and relegates workers to the status of veritable slaves. Anyone who believes this is an acceptable way in which American capitalism should be conducted is morally bankrupt. Wake up zaphodity and smell the exodus of jobs from the United States and loss of dignity of the American worker.

  32. When you stop watching network TV with all it corporate programming and adertisng, you, like myself, will eventaully discover you are changing into a thinking individual and will come to see others as increasingly shallow and neive.
    You begin asking yourself why you need anything the store is offering. You may come to question the quality and taste of the fast foiod industry.
    How could seemingly intelligent people be so manipulated? How embarrassing to realize you had actually been manipulated on a subconcious level. Baffled.

  33. Prior to 1980, when Reagan and the NWO Neocons began their assault on the American worker and American industry, we used to define a third world country as one which did not produce its own goods, and was thus held economically captive by those countries exporting their goods. Isn't it ironic that the U.S. is now in that very position, held captive by the barge-loads of goods shipped over from China and the like. We also have factories springing up as fast as they can be built not only in China, but in Mexico right on the U.S. border, so that low wages can be further taken advantage of, thus displacing more American workers. The only way to stop this trend is to stop buying these goods. It is that simple. The global economy feeds upon ignorant consumers who refuse to look at where items are produced and their harmful consequences. On a side note, I no longer exchange gifts (hard goods) on holidays such as Christmas. I also do not believe in gift giving on birthdays, in terms of giving hard goods. My idea of a "gift" has transcended into inviting someone over for a nice dinner, or an offer to detail their car or help rake their yard. Gift giving, as it is currently viewed in the U.S., (i.e. giving some cheap foreign-made item, as is 95 percent of goods now for sale on U.S. retailers' shelves), is just more rampant consumerism.

    1. It's called "capitalism", I believe you're familiar with it being an American. Capitalism after all only means "profit".

    2. Oh that's right, you keep up that partisan drivel that it was Reagan and the Neocons who sold our future to the Chinese.
      Just pretend it wasn't "Beijing" Bill Clinton who relaxed countless trade barriers while his commerce Sec'y Ron Brown sold seats on trade junkets to the PRC to US corporate heads in exchange for campaign contributions, while he and Gore held meetings over coffee with his long term immigrant buddies from Little Rock who were directly funneling bribe money from Chinese nationals to the DNC campaign war chest.
      Chinagate AKA Campaign finance scandal of 1996... didn't you hear? Or were you too busy peeing on the grave of the last US President with the integrity and balls to do the job with our best interests in mind?

    3. batvette & sundog1978: Everybody had a hand in it, including us. Deal with it and stop this state of denial, as if things would be totally different if someone else had been president at one point. No one is blameless.

    4. American citizens are being used as pawns (consumers) in terms of being baited to purchase more and more goods, with the vast majority of goods being produced by workers in Asian countries. That is the reality of our current economic culture. And to really look at why we are at this point in our culture, it is necessary to see how we got here. Since we live in a country with a government (politicians), which also entails companies, businesses, mega-corporations, as well as powerful lobbyists, the issue at hand is not so simple as this documentary implies. The reason why we have such a glut of goods in this country, with the vast majority made overseas in countries like China, is not a simple one. That is why I have been mentioning the politics which gave impetus to this scenario. And if you read my last post and pay attention to what I am saying, I am implicating both sides of the aisle in terms of political parties. But it is important to see the seeds from where this scenario arose, specifically the rise of the Neocons to power in the 1980s under Reagan and then Bush.
      This is where this mess started, with an assault on any sort of
      organized labor in this country. That is not rhetoric, but fact. The
      culture of targeting unions as the ones to blame for the collapse of American manufacturing also simultaneously began at this time. A good example is what happened to the textile industry, which was highly unionized and the first to go down. Then the steel industry went (also highly unionized), followed by electronics and pretty much everything else we consume. By the 1990s the downhill trend was firmly in place in terms of saying good-bye to our once blossoming manufacturing sector. Under Clinton things did not improve, as he did not have the nerve nor desire to challenge what was taking place. Instead he simply hopped on the band wagon (and hopped in bed with China). The same is true for Obama. This is why we are where we are today.
      Then there is the issue of the American public, i.e. the consumer. But to take a look at consumers one must also look at how we have fallen victim to spin doctors (aka economic psychologists) and the Madison Avenue advertising crowd.
      Take also in consideration a continued lowering of IQ in this country thanks to deteriorating public schools and the insidious drugging of adults and children (primarily boys) thanks to the myths of ADD / ADHD, bi-polar disorder and supposed depression, and we have a large group of over-medicated, under-educated consumers who are continually bombarded with advertising.
      Gutless parents who bribe their kids with electronics or toys to get them to mind are also not helping matters.
      Another aspect of the dumbing down of this nation must also include a large amount of adult narcissism, which then feeds the need for bobbles and cars and homes. This is what led us into the whole 2008 real estate / stock market bubble and crash, as this need to consume (beyond ones means) to feel better went out of control.
      This is who we are as a nation. To stop this trend we must immediately stop consuming mind-altering pharmaceuticals; this industry is insidious and causing terrific harm to this country.
      We must then also stop consuming any and all goods unless they are absolutely necessary.
      Stop buying new goods and start buying used is the best way if you need something, by shopping at thrift stores and garage sales, as well as going to auctions.
      Start bartering for goods with friends, relatives and neighbors.
      Run an ad on Craigslist or Freecycle if you need something.
      There is so much out there in terms of used goods right now, that there is no need whatsoever to buy new goods.
      This is what needs to be done to stop rampant consumerism, and to put the global economy demagogues in check.

    5. While there is some superficial truth to the basis of some of the points you raised you take it to such an extreme it's hard to take seriously.

      First to get a minor point out of the way, you assert ADHD is a myth- while it may be overdiagnosed or used as an excuse for some it is all too real. I guess it's easy enough to mock or doubt something that doesn't affect you. (I'm probably guilty of it when I ridicule fat people who say it's hard to lose weight)

      On to more salient issues, you seem to place great blame on Bush and Reagan (aka "neocons"- a self discrediting description in itself) for busting up the unions. Give me a break, the unions are one of the things that's helped kill manufacturing. I was a member of IAM back in the 80's, all they were good for was skimming $2 an hour off my pay and getting us to strike to protect the jobs of the oldest, highest paid guys who refused to adapt their skills to more modern CNC equipment. Union leaders looked for every way possible to create division between management and labor, evidently to justify the union's existence.

      Hey in the 1800's they were probably vital but now they're a joke. Oh my friend who is a longshoreman loves his union. "we're not allowed to touch anything before we spend at least an hour drinking coffee. and if we show up and the ship's not ready to unload I get paid for four hours for just reporting."

      and..... "This is what led us into the whole 2008 real estate / stock market bubble and crash, as this need to consume (beyond ones means) to feel better went out of control."

      Absolute nonsense! The loss of manufacturing jobs and Chinese patent theft did that. People bought homes they couldn't afford and when they lost their jobs they defaulted. Chinese patent theft means Wall St. no longer has actual ideas and products to invest in so they have to make up shaky investment opportunities- junk mortgage bonds were one.

      "To stop this trend we must immediately stop consuming mind-altering pharmaceuticals; this industry is insidious and causing terrific harm to this country."

      You mean like the ones that made you say this?

      "We must then also stop consuming any and all goods unless they are absolutely necessary."

      You sound like a communist to me. Seriously your whole plan is against all human nature and I guess you said so in not so many words. But I can't possibly top this one:

      " a large amount of adult narcissism, which then feeds the need for bobbles and cars and homes."

      Only narcissists want a roof over their head and transportation to their work place? Never mind this:

      "There is so much out there in terms of used goods right now, that there is no need whatsoever to buy new goods."

      Logical phailure 101: Why are there used goods at thrift stores? Because people bought new goods.

      OH, SNAP. (been wanting to use that for a while, seems as good a time as any- sure is annoying isn't it?

    6. Both sides played their roles in this batvette. You can't counter partisan drivel with partisan drivel and expect to get anywhere.

    7. That's all I intended.

    8. Excuse me...The last president who had lent integrity to the concerns of the welfare and security of the American people was JFK. Here we go with another belly aching apologist for Reagan, attacking the Democrats for doing the exact same thing. And that was: the gradual but continuous sell-out of the American Middle Class over the past thirty or so years. Let me guess...being an apologist for the neo-cons, I might expect you to be a supporter of Citizens United? If so, then I wouldn't complain about China now since "undisclosed" private/corporate campaign contributions can come from virtually anywhere in the world. You want to keep playing "they did, we did"? Then stop wasting everyone's time. Both parties have way too much to be accountable for and until people realize how similar they are, nothing will be accomplished. They will all be bought and sold until we get the money and influence peddling out of politics. Thank you for your consideration.

    9. JFK was a lech and a dangerous vanity obsessed leader. Read "Dark Side of Camelot" if you still have a sliver of respect for that dirt bag. However I was just irked by the misportrayal of Reagan. Not perfect but a damn good man.

    10. He brought the world to the brink of nuclear anniliation. He never was anything more than a 2-dimentional facist fundamentalist puppet. I refer you to his persecution of the third world and deregulation of Wall st. He should be tried postumously as a war criminal, as should every US president since Woodrow Wilson. You should take a look at "The Power Principle" and read Bill Blum's " "Killing Hope". Thank you.

    11. "He brought the world to the brink of nuclear anniliation. "

      you must mean JFK, right?

      " He should be tried postumously as a war criminal,"

      What would be the point? What would this accomplish? You only display complete irrelevance.

  34. Worth watching, considering - a solid B performance. IMHO reading the comments here only serves to support the message of this film; He's pretty much talking about "Americans" and he's pretty much right on target. Merry buying season

    oh, ps, Jack1952, yes, putting your head in the sand might help, good luck with that

  35. I am virtually a non-consumer at this point in my life, except for buying groceries. All else i find at thrift stores, and it is just bare necessities. I drive a 20 year old Nissan truck that was paid off years ago. I agree with the premise of this documentary, but the hipster host and his hipster friends totally undermine the message. It is like when the hipsters descended on Seattle in 1999 to protest against WTO global interests, all dressed in their hipster jeans, and holding their Starbucks drinks while their Jeep Grand Cherokees were double parked with the engines running. Get it?

    1. I understand what you're trying to say but i think you've misinterpreted him. I hate hipsters and plebs who are easily sucked into trends as much as you, and what's disgusting is that even hating hipsters has become fashionable, so does that make us hipsters??!

      With regards to the hipster friends, are you referring to the h.g.s girls? I didn't like that scene either, he could have approached compulsive consumerism in a more professional manner instead of using a sexualised satire as done with the girls. Unfortunately he might have felt this was necessary to appeal to the masses. Anyway, I don't agree that he's a hipster. Maybe you're labeling him a hipster due to his kind of smug demeanor, which i don't think is smugness either but rather disdain. You see i'm trying to look at it from his position and i feel for him the same way i do for Dawkins when i see him trying to tackle the religious. Imagine seeing the world systems for all their inefficiencies, backwardness and knowing that it is inevitably going down the tubes if these systems stay implemented. Then when you try to warn others, or even passively enlighten them, as i feel he does, everyone simply ridicules you and labels you a utopian fairy.

      Imagine how disheartened you would be if you were trying your best and dedicating your life to better humanity and all people do is try to shlt all over your work. If you knew that you could have a utopian-esque world immediately with the implementation of these ideas but yet it will never be achieved in your lifetime as people are too egoistic and short sighted to change.

      That kind of stress could make even the strongest people descend into apathy and depression.

      Also, for people who sh;t on the idea of utopian society, try to acquire just a microgram of vision and objectivity for a fleeting moment. The human race, if we survive these primitive times, will inevitably fulfill the utopian ideal. It's simply a matter of how fast you want to do it. In a sense we are moving towards it right now, but very very slowly. And for the plebs who say that it isn't possible due to human nature, this is simply a refusal to change, and by refusing to change you are just perpetuating the same tired old sh't and slowing down humanity. Think of what you could do with a single generation of students, teaching them from an early age that it's wrong to hurt other sentient beings, to value honesty and collective well being etc.
      For me utopia isn't about everyone running around hugging each other, it's about efficiency. We could implement utopian ideals right now today, by reforming the education system first and formost, ensuring that our children are ALWAYS smarter than us and never succumb to regressive action, yet instead we are stagnating as a species by succumbing to consumerism, inefficiency in thought/action and herd psychology in general.

      There will come a time when money is recognised more as a hindrance than an impetus. It's simply up to us to decide when that time is.

      Remember we are supposed to be building utopia here people.

    2. Utopia is a foolish idea - because utopia is a perfect system, and therefore stagnant, and therefore not utopic at all, but dystopic. That's how such ideas play out in the real world.

      Most ideologies, whether they admit it or not, are attempting to impose a static utopia by changing people so that they fit into a stable system. Stability, like utopia, isn't natural and doesn't truly exist in the real world - and human beings cannot be made to be more perfect through an ideology. It is imperfection and imbalance that drives progress, and never is a society in more trouble than when someone who wants to stop the pendulum from swinging, actually succeeds.

    3. The aim is not to 'fit' people into a stable system or force them to do anything. When people are sufficiently educated they will realise that their current system is unsustainable and that this is the solution. You're view of utopia is so limited that i don't think it's even your view, i think it's just some rhetorical anti utopian logic you dug up.

      As i said before utopia is about efficiency. In a utopia people would be free from menial and meaningless work to pursue their intellectual passions, what ever level they may be. So if a population is free to use the maximum of their available time to pursue their intellectual passions across the spectrum (sciences, arts etc) the system is not stagnant and can never be so but rather is the most efficient pursuit of progress possible.

    4. So who gets to clean the toilets? Does the food grow itself in utopia?

      This is the problem with utopia ... we can't all just sit around enjoying the smell of our own brainfarts. Someone has to work. Someone has to get things done. Someone has to produce things.

      What I desire is the precise opposite of what you desire. What I desire is to expose the leisure classes who relax and consume and dream at the expense of others, expose them to reality, extinguishing them permanently and discrediting the sort of ideologies which permit them. A world where even presidents, bankers, and high priests have to do their fair share of menial toiling - perhaps even clean toilets - just like anyone else. A world where there are no more "hewers of wood and drawers of water" because all are.

      In that world, all would get a more or less equivalent share of toil and leisure. No more loafing around for the very rich and the very poor, no one above a degrading task. This is the only way that leisure can be distributed to everyone - not through the rejection of menial labour, but through universal embrace of it.

    5. "So who gets to clean the toilets? Does the food grow itself in utopia?

      Answer to your first question: automated cleaning toilets already exist in Japan. Answer to your second question: the premise for which you place it in is not Utopia, the food will be grown by automated machines probably in a skyscrapper. Look up vertical farms.

      "This is the problem with utopia ... we can't all just sit around enjoying the smell of our own brainfarts. Someone has to work. Someone has to get things done. Someone has to produce things."

      Except its not a Utopia and this is not the subject for which this video discusses. Yes people have to work to keep the society running, but no it is not a Utopia, that is your own projection. Is a Star Trek society Utopian? Obviously not if you paid attention to the series... but whatever.

    6. You cannot automate everything. You're living in a fantasy world. We already consume far too much energy in an unsustainable manner as it is, let alone outfitting every single home and business with so much automation that nobody even has to clean a toilet, or do any work at all. It's absurd. People must do work to produce things. We must reduce our energy consumption, not increase it several hundredfold just so soft-handed dreamers never have to lift a finger.

      Star Trek is a fantasy television series. It's not reality.

    7. "You cannot automate everything. You're living in a fantasy world"

      Never said such a thing, strawman.

      "We already consume far too much energy in an unsustainable manner as it is, let alone outfitting every single home and business with so much automation that nobody even has to clean a toilet, or do any work at all."

      Never said as such. And do you know why we are consuming so much energy? Try looking at the energy efficiency of our society and what it could be based on new technology this year and you will find out that much of our energy needs to get used in inefficient processes and technology. Just compare U.S. state/private recycling methods and compare that to the energy cost in this system and then divide that number by the amount of recycling that is wasted then you can find out what I am talking about pretty easily.

      "t's absurd. People must do work to produce things. We must reduce our energy consumption, not increase it several hundredfold just so soft-handed dreamers never have to lift a finger."

      Again, never said such a thing. We you even responding to me or to someone else?

    8. hahaha, well thats ok, they laughed at all the scientists in their time, before they were made immortal...
      You not seeing this means you need to open your mind more.

    9. "Star Trek is a fantasy television series. It's not reality."

      Funny because the creator of Star Trek created his universe based on Jacque Fresco's TVP.

    10. I believe Devon Griffiths raises a very valid point. Specifically, where is this job exodus heading in the United States. The answer I came up with is this: Every last job that can be exported will be sent overseas or to another country with extremely low wages. So say good-bye to any work that can be done via a computer, such as programming, system analysts, 1-800 customer service, finances, stock market, journalism, and of course say good-bye to manufacturing jobs. All that will be left in the U.S. in terms of jobs are what can't be exported, such as toilet cleaners (e.g. janitors), and jobs in such promising fields as fast food (burger schlepping), health care (behind wiping), retail (having to put up with rude idiots all day), hard outdoor manual labor (field work, lawn care, roofing, car washing) and a tiny handful of jobs working for the government (which are the only jobs left that pay any benefits). That is where this is all heading, so strap in and hold on to your fantasies about electronic, automated toilet cleaners and high-rise nano-veggies which pick themselves.

    11. you left out engineering ... that's a trade that will not get exported, but instead, people will be imported for cheap to fill in those voids.

  36. As with all things in life, moderation is key. This guy is probably well meaning but to completely rid yourself of modern culture and societal norms is downright ridiculous. One has to be aware of the fact that the system is constantly trying to fool us and "enslave" us but also remember that life (healthcare, education etc.) now is better than it has ever been in the past so there are benefits to be gained. Being on both ends of the extremes is unhealthy. The key to prosperity in such a time is knowledge and self control I believe.

  37. as i understand it they do offer solutions,hence the venus project.

  38. Anyone who allows the advertisers to tell them what they need is lacking in intelligence. It is not the fault of the hucksters, it is your own damn fault. People have to stop blaming others and point the blame where it belongs. It is something that this Zeitgeist movement doesn't do.

    Most of us that watch this doc live a life where we take the core needs of life for granted. We really don't want to live the life that our ancestors did one hundred and fifty years ago. The type of affluence that they could only dream of does not guarantee that people will no longer act in a foolish manner. Those mad shopping sprees of Black Fridays is plainly aberrant behaviour. A lot of us choose not to take part in such weird antics.

    This documentary uses the same techniques that they accuse advertisers of using. They present their own style of glitz, presented in short, attention grabbing sequences accompanied by loud pop music. I guess if it works for big time industry it should work for them as well.

    1. By lacking in intelligence I assume you mean "education" on how advertising affects people unconsciously. Ulitimately I agree, it is our own fault, and we should work to not be affected by bs advertising and consumerism. But you have to understand where you are and what you're up against no? Isn't that part of taking responsibility? Besides, is it not fair to put at least some blame on those who consciously exploit human social behaviour and emotions to sell garbage???

  39. Personally, i like how some people trying to criticize. It's amazing how people feel attacked if someone criticizes existing culture in which people feel developed, humane, intelligent, no matter if the reality of the world looks completely different. But the majority simply ignores this, on the end, ignorance, materialism and egocentrism are the biggest values ??of the capitalist cult.

  40. There's so much talking in Peter's videos I just press play and then do other stuff around the internet/house. They'd probably work better as radio spots XD

    A lot of the stuff he mentions is a bit economy 101, so it might alienate many of the people he's trying to educate. Having the disjointed and slightly entertaining skits sandwiched between long monologues with legalese-length sentences is an odd format. Either present us a lecture and trust us to stay listening if we're interested, or use plainer English, skits and use a less intense format to engage people who don't already understand the concepts.

    Although the Live Ad Dude and the Rich Trust Fund B*stard were sort of amusing. They just didn't seem to fit in with the lecture.

  41. 5mins through... Why is everything slightly blurred except for the black ops van at the back?

  42. I think Peter Joseph is trying to start his own cult.

    1. Peter is trying to make money and live the rest of his life out. He does it with what drives his passions. I'm not personally a big fan of the guy as far as effectiveness in that if you speak to people like children you get children; and vice versa. But he simply echos the voices of realism and skepticism that have been with us since humans could philosophise. Those people have always been controversial as they seem against human nature.

  43. Not sure if this was much of a documentary. As @DigiWongaDude mentioned earlier, none of Peter's videos offer any solutions & how can anyone take him seriously when the content is nothing more than an exercise in intellectual ranting?

    It was as funny as hell though. From start to finish, lots of in your face laughs along with many hidden comical gems. The double entendre 1950's adds were especially smile inducing. Watch till the very end for yet still more chuckles.

    Can anyone direct me to the location of the H.G.S. meetings? I only want to offer my wisdom, life experience & support to these troubled women. Purely unselfish motives, I assure you.

    @ zatarra I agree this was the the funnest or funniest of the 3 films he has made so far in this series. I may even have to watch it for a second time as you recommended.

  44. eat, drink and be merry. If you don't have access to cake or booze, just try to be as happy as you can.

  45. Groucho Marx meets Anonymous...whoever Peter Josephs is, his self indulgent fan ramblings and rantings to a dying sea of zeitgeist followers, still offers no solutions. I swear if I have to watch him eat and talk at the same time once more, I'm done. The only thing this guy will have to offer in 10 years is "I told you so", and when he does it'll be with thick rimmed glasses and a wobbly, fat cigar.

    1. I am glad to see that I'm not the only person put off by him talking with a mouth full of food. He eats & then attempts to talk in each of his films. I have no idea what possessed to think this a good idea whilst filming but it drives me crazy too. That & the donning & removal of his Mao jacket.

      Now I am nitpicking I realise. It is just that I too find him to be thoroughly self indulgent with his painful pretentious posturing & overall self satisfied sense of being & presence.

      I guess I used to think I knew it all too & took pleasure in telling the world & posing as a general tw@t. Perhaps my displeasure with Peter Joseph is nothing more than a distasteful reminder of myself in younger years. Oh & what a powerful & nauseating smell of memory that is!

      All that said, as I mentioned in an earlier comment: "It was funny as hell though!"

    2. Lol, yeah it's very funny, maybe I should lighten up on him...


    3. He is eating because it represents him being a consumer as many other small things that he put in like the call of duty sign in the background or the piece of plastic behind him when sitting somewhere outside, the jacket and glasses are ment to look like morpheus from the matrix i think

    4. I too been wondering...what's with the Mao jacket?
      I get the impression that the videos are a mirror intended message. One is suppose to watch it and end up with the feeling that one is looking at and hearing oneself.
      The jacket helps mimicks one getting dress while talking and daydreaming. After putting the jacket on, i would cover the face with an Anonymous monkey.

  46. The theme of this video can be described by my favorite Far Side comic. There is a little bee surrounded by a mass of other bees in a hive. He has a look of panic on his face. He says: "I can't take it anymore! That incessant buzzing sound!" as the other bees have absolutely no sign of emotion on them.

    Because I have been an overweight girl since the age of 4 I have experienced the huge crushing, soul sucking, pain inducing, hate mongering, torturing effect of consumer culture in the harshest way possible. I learned very early on that because of my "ugliness" I would always be different and wrong and repulsive to many people in Western culture. I hated advertisements since before I could really understand why. And now that I DO understand why, and I understand that all this hatred they want me to feel about myself is designed, crafted, and manipulated to make me and others BUY things I just want to turn it all off. BUT I CAN'T.

    The people who are close to me call me puritanical, a censor, insinuate that I am naive and prude if I don't want to watch violent video games where you watch people die or movies where there are never any women who look like me in any positive roles. They say I am backwards and damaged and wrong when I don't enjoy the concerts that are just fashion shows.... I've been hospitalized many times because this culture LITERALLY feels like it is killing me. The more I detach from it the healthier I feel.

    Nature helps. Walks in the woods (what the **** do the trees or mushrooms or little birds or bugs care about how I look). Animals help. Genuine conversation with friends that don't need media. My work helps too. I work for a non profit that helps immigrants. I kind of felt like if I didn't go into a job where I helped people then I was really just wasting time. Learning things helps. Researching and understanding why things are this way and how others have brought change. Doing nice things for children and their parents. That helps too.

    And at the end of it I still recognize that in the lottery of life I have been given one hell of a winning ticket. I have seen good kind souls lost in debt, homelessness, disease, war, poverty, and madness.

    As Ginsberg said : "I have seen the greatest minds of my generation starving, hysterical, naked...."

    Maybe one day I'll get out. Others have. Maybe it's possible.

    Until then, if you are into all that Grand Theft Auto - Hollywood Movies - Buying Slave Labor cheap clothes **** you can kiss my size 18 *** because to quote Ginsberg again my goal is to pursue "the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul"

    Guess I might have to miss the Black Moth Super Rainbow concert next time and just go hiking in the woods at night.

    1. @ sknb : The only people I know who use the word 'I' as much as you just did, are addicts...addicts who use excuses and point fingers and dream dreams of oneness and harmony - the cruel world of reality makes a good crutch. For you are not a victim, none of us are. We are all just complicit participators.

      Count the "I"s you wrote. Look at the finger pointing of your own, self loathing. Look in the mirror. All the answers are right in front of you. The time for blaming video games and consumer culture for your over consumption will end the moment you choose to. You'll probably get dozens of likes for bearing your pain (and I'll get hate mail) but that's sympathy. Sympathy is not your friend. This video doesn't offer any solutions, none of Peter's stuff does. It's always an exercise in intellectual ranting. How can anyone take him seriously anymore? I sincerely wish you luck.

    2. Interesting to have ones writing looked in such a way.

      Here are some more "I"s:

      I wasn't asking for your advice
      The fact that you assume I am overweight from over- consumption shows you are just buying into stereotypes without understanding the full story. This is the exact reason why media rarely chooses to reflect the reality of human bodies that are around it - because so many people assume that if someone is overweight they have "an addiction" or are "out of control".
      Every woman on both sides of my family except one has been overweight for as long as there was visual history to record it.
      I am so used to people assuming my body indicates an emotional weakness that it doesn't even phase me anymore.
      You don't wish me luck, you wish me shame and hatred, as your words clearly show.

    3. @ sknb
      "You don't wish me luck, you wish me shame and hatred, as your words clearly show."

      I'm sorry you feel that way...I wish no-one shame and have no hate. Where is the merest suggestion? My words "clearly show" is a long leap. I wish you more than luck...I wish you love, and in'll sort you right out.

      OMG you've infected me with I's. Nooooooo. :-)

    4. I agree, this documentary doesn't offer any solutions.
      Nevertheless it does offer information and knowledge about the harsh realities most tend to ignore about their culture and simultaneously themselves.
      Before change can be achieved, people need to to realize and understand the world around them. Just like Alcoholics learn in A.A the first breakthrough step in finding help is move past the denial stage and accept that you have a problem.
      Likewise people are still in denial about our culture and the realities staring in the face, either they don't understand the problems, are focused on other things, or just don't care.
      Just like in the human condition, social change will only be possible when we as a culture crash and hit rock bottom.
      Only then can we from the ashes rise up with new ideas and ideologies and purpose for a better future, because we will finally have learned a painful and costly lessons.
      So decline is good and we are all going to have to face these types of questions in the future.

    5. @ Geoffrey Grekin, indeed you're right (and I am all for that).

      My local store has been selling bright red snow shovels for a couple of weeks and we kept saying 'ooo, we must get one' but we didn't. Suddenly the snow falls and yep, you guessed it - all of a sudden they are sold out. It's in our nature to "Don't do today what we can put off till tomorrow."

      I hear you Geoffrey, and guys like Peter play an important role. It should end there... but unfortunately, just as with Occupy, we can NOT afford to. This is good entry-level-wake-up, but I'm awake and fed up with his burrito bullsheet.

      ...Maybe it's a subtle PJ message for me to DO something or else he'll just keep on munchin? lol.

    6. I always wondered why they made red snow shovels.
      Is it because Christmas is near? I guess they stick out in the snow when you quit shoveling and go for too long of a tea during a storm.

  47. I love this guy, I feel like we share perspectives of the society we live in!

  48. "I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to suspect that the new commercial lifestyle... is actually a hidden form of retardation." Peter Joseph

    1. Have you tried having a conversation with any 14-24 year old kid these days? It's like talking to r*tarded people. Go try it, they are so much less informed and capable than my peers were as teenagers, even without the internet I was NEVER as much of a pathetic m*ron as most of the people I have to interact with on a daily basis. Their lives revolve around alcohol, the latest consoles, their iphones, and their social importance. I honestly just avoid most young people, and I blame their parents, for not doing the job that my parents managed to do while both working, there is no excuse for it, just lazy s*upid people working in a herd mentallity.

      Here's a tip for you dumb lazy parents - Instead of buying your child an x-box for christmas, so they can become even more lame at life, take more vacation time and teach them COMMON SENSE and how to act in public. It goes a lot farther than filling their heads with TV and gamimg bullshyt.

  49. The only people who would be stupid enough to buy into the theory this documentary presents are the idiots this documentary describes... hopefully that's not very many

    1. Most intelligent rational people would beg to disagree with you, including the mass community of pschologists and even most decently minded philosophers. Not sure what "theory" you are referring to, most of what he says is common sense, please inform the rest of us how the current model is working out so well for such a small minority and you may find that your ideas are the ones needing some adjustment.

      Dah I just fell victim to the old "don't argue with an i*iot"

  50. This documentary is nauseatingly stupid. The people involved are clearly coke snorting hipster idiots from Williamsburg.

    1. Really? Then why do the most intellectually advanced members of society include people with ideas that are eerily similar to this guys?
      Hmm... just sayin.

    2. hipsters are called as such by being trendy fashion consumers...this vid says the complete opposite in its message, therefore your stupid for that comment. good day sir.

  51. Good show :3

  52. nothings going to happen on 21/12/2012 only the celebration of the winter solstice the day the earth turns the corner and starts to come back to longer warmer days stop worrying everything is going to be fine.

  53. Awesome documentary I have been waiting for someone to talk about this . I'm not so crazy after all

    1. Keep watching his other documentaries! They're really thought provoking, and even he admits to not being "right" about everything, but at least he's putting it out there and questioning aloud, sharing the ideas and is open to input from others out here. :)

  54. This is scary - just the summation of the theme, since I've been battling these very "values" since moving to the suburbs, and away from the (surprising) close knit and friendly communities of the big city. This environment here is alienating - everyone drives a car, there are few sidewalks to even walk, even less park spaces, and NO indy cafe's, restaurants or bookstores etc. It's all mega malls and McMansions. I am watching my self change under the influence. I do less art, catch rides with partner, instead of riding my bike (they'll run over you here) and I look at my appearance more, feel inclined to buy new, brand name, instead of my old 'high end scores' at thrift shops. It's disturbing how easy it is to be influenced by the present surroundings I find myself in. I feel a certain desperation/depression this urban sprawl area creates... and can not wait to get back to the raw and real space of the Big City or truly Small Town. The Suburbs are subversively toxic.

    1. I think the more dense the population gets the worse it gets.... You should hear the people cry around here when the C-Train has service disruptions for planned maintenance or emergencies... Its like they've been personally insulted. I have been living in the city for about 3 years now and have been growing ever more tired of the continual impatience and inconsideration of so many people, not to mention the panhandlers wearing brand name sneakers and newer clothes than me.

    2. I can imagine the whining about the C train....but that's what happens when one is the center of the universe. You mentioned religion, and you comments reminded me of a quote: "Of all the horrible religions, the worst is the one whose God is thine own self"...

      ...or something like that.

    3. It's a strange paradox - in a way to what I would have normally believed, being a country girl at heart - but in the dense population of the city (I just moved from downtown Toronto, and am familiar with the C-Train too!) there is eye contact, helpful hands, smiles, conversation at the grocery counter, the cafes, the clinics, parks etc. There are festivals, dances, parades, protests, markets.. Not a day would go by where I didn't see someone I recongnised from the neighbourhood, and I witnessed many acts of kindness, compassion and community in the "big, cold city". ~ New York? - one of the most friendly places I've ever been. I swear, it's the urban sprawl areas, the bedroom communities, the suburbs that are truly soulless, with their Smart Centers (what an oxymoron that!) as the only accessible area of "recreation". I'm living an ironic (?) situation, renting one of the last standing, big old character homes - for cheap, because it's up for demolition to become a few McMansions. This house is an artists haven, an island of creativity in a sea of superficial sleepwalkers, and it's hard not avoid the influence of the "water" that surrounds you. Standing out like a sore thumb, the only person who rides a bike and doesn't own a car in the whole area - I swear. It's scary when I find myself shopping in a mall suddenly, conscious that I don't look like the norm, and maybe these boots... that hat.. this lipstick.. ICK!! :))

      (I will resist!)

      *Oh and I used to agree about panhandlers, but we don't know their story, and those shoes could have been donated, scored at a thrift shop or might be their last 'nice pair of shoes before their lives went to s*it, through sickness, mental illness, etc. I've been broke in a really bad place before, and no one would know by looking at me or my clothing. Again, we can't judge by appearances, especially by brand names etc. (Watch Requiem for a Dream) Just a thought. Peace!

    4. Those old fellas you can tell they've had a hard time of it. The panhandlers I'm talking about are the young ...(lack of polite wording)... that beg (bug) people at the C-train platforms for a buck riding up and down the free fare zone downtown Calgary. One fella I met and spoke to kinda freaked me out, I watched him later as he bugged a young girl on the train, she opened her wallet to give him a looney and he reached in and took a fiver. If I was a physically bigger man I would'a taken him by the ear and made him give it back and apologize. He looked in no way destitute.

      If I have learned anything is to never open your wallet to a stranger. Carry loose change in your pocket if you must, but don't take out your wallet.

  55. If you were told that on Dec 21st your comfort will end. What would you do?
    Laugh? Prepare? Ignore it? Christmas shop? Get out of the city? Rise Up?

  56. All of these "symptoms" are attempts by humans to create meanng or purpose in our lives. Once we have attained the basic needs to survive(food, shelter) we feel the need to add "value" to our existence. Plus the pursuit of these "trappings" keeps us from dwelling on the questions we really dont want to think about because we are not sure we'll like the answers if any are there to discover. The idea we are all going to come together somehow and join hands in a glorious "Kumbaya" moment to save the world from ourselves is hard to imagine even if John Lennon imagined it. The only other alternative will be the next Demagogue or Hitler who promises harmony and peace but only delivers oppression and deceit. : )

  57. My goodness - it sounds like they're describing one of the seven deadly sins. Could it be the ancient Greeks who said all things in moderation and the Christians who said vanity was a sin were on to something after all?

    1. As much as I may hate to, I have to score a point for religion on this one :P

    2. What we are missing is service to others. Vanity and consumerism is all about feeding the self and the ego. The Buddhists actually have it right. LOL