Monday, 22 August, 2011

Fresh produce

Imagine a family. One where all members live in amity, share what is available and believe that spending quality time with the family does not require anything other than the family.

Now imagine a family where the members constantly quarrel with each other on some matter or the other, do not share resources and believe that the new monster sized television with rock concert scale speakers will help the family spend quality time together.

The second, being the greater consumer, is too easy for businesses to exploit. They aren't the problem. You produce, they consume. The goal then, of all business, is to convert the first kind into the second.

This is essentially a problem of creating disorder from order. It's not as easy as it might appear.

A number of things need to happen before stability, contentment and harmony in a unit such as a family can be replaced with uncertainty, discontent and disharmony.

It will take time before the destruction is complete. Sometimes, a small seed of contentment that is left behind might spring back and spawn another contented unit – which will again need to be targeted. And all the while, raw materials are becoming scarce. These are the kinds of risks that businesses endure just to ensure that the world can continue consuming.

The first line of offense is misrepresentation. It is easy to cheat people who thrive on trust. The simple folks fall for this and start consuming petrochemical filled detergents quite quickly.

The second line of offense involves selling dreams. Wearing a pair of shoes made from petrochemical waste will never help you run a mile under 4 minutes, if you couldn't already. But wearing one will make you feel like you could, if you only tried and just did it.

The third line of offense is the instilling of fear. You are encouraged to plan for the future of your loved ones, by spending less time with them so that you can work harder to invest the extra money in complex stock linked insurance plans, the future of which the company promoting them cannot determine. The company though, expands, using your contribution.

The fourth line of offense is the spreading of hopelessness. Research, a word that signified thoroughness, honesty and humility (for no-one knows everything) has now been hijacked to promote sensational 'conclusions' like 'fighting couples will continue to fight until they die'.

The final line of offense is anarchy. Once humanity is out there, delirious with dreams, scared of the future and buying things without hope, there is a real risk of the smarter among them realizing that they are being had. One way to beat such a minority into eternal submission is to sponsor anarchy. By doing so, businesses obtain access to the revolutionary spark within each human – the one that springs hope for humanity – and convert it into a propaganda machine.

When anarchy has run its course, I believe, simplicity and contentment will seem refreshing.

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