It rocks my world when good questions get asked, and once in a while when I peruse the blogosphere I get inspired by other people's stories, especially when they involve potentially embracing a significant paradigm shift.
Case in point (with thanks at JMGB at Lulliloo), I noticed that a woman named Lisa via her Not Buying It blog is beginning a journey and asking questions about how she spends her money and what constitutes a want versus a need. Inspired by the book "Not Buying It: My Year Without Spending", by Judith Levine, she is starting to journal about how and why she makes certain consumer choices in her life and is trying to make some changes.
This is an important discussion, and like many of us who have families and who live in this consumer driven culture it is important to learn how to live sanely and consume ethically and not be totally sucked in by the current paradigm at the same time. Here are a few of my thoughts, based on what I left in Lisa's comment section;
For me, having kids has caused me to reevaluate the want vs need paradigm in my own life. Also, I am motivated to examine how my own consumer habits send different signals to my kids around what values shape our lives and how we relate to the world. I am starting small, and for example I am choosing not to shop at Wal-Mart due to the destructive business practices that it engages in.
Asking questions and examining one's motives is a sane and reasonable way to start making changes. This simple act of engaging in an internal dialogue each time you contemplate a purchase is a radical notion in and of itself, as the consumer driven culture we live doesn't promote critical self-reflection in such matters. Re-examining the validity of long standing, though rarely question patterns is a healthy endeavor, though it doesn't happen over night.
Just look at the current concerns about the economy in the U.S. and throughout the world presently. There is this destructive notion that if people simply just get more money via tax cuts in their wallets they will spend more and thus keep the wealth flowing for all. Though true in purely economic sense, there is a disconnection from the far reaching consequences of this framework and the over all cost that excessive consumption has on our personal lives and on the planet.
Its quite the balancing act being part of this culture but not wanting to be totally sold on all of its unquestioned constructs. Perhaps the want vs. need discussion will be one of the most important discussions throughout this young century. I certainly hope so.
Anyways, its a long journey and I am but one traveler. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this. Come walk beside me!