You think you’re materialistic because you like to buy things— Nice things, expensive things, big things, intricate things that whir when you turn them on, things that are 90% off, things that occupy only virtual space.
But you’re wrong.
You’re not materialistic. You live in a world of platonic ideas. Somewhere deep inside, you believe that these objects can fill you up. You believe that owning something is as beneficial as actually using it.
You spend your time shopping for books and not reading them. You spend your time downloading apps and hardly using them. You have a collection of music that needs its own server (or you pay a monthly fee to access the world’s largest selection of music). It’s curiated, tagged, rated, but you still listen to the same ten records. You buy ebook after ebook without regard to the ones that remain unread. You have a stack of videogames barely played or perhaps shoes barely worn.
How do I know? Because I do too.
We’re not materialists. A materialist would be all touchy-feely with the world. While we’re browsing the app store for yet-more photo apps, she’s receiving sloppy licks from a dog on the street. While we’re researching the perfect supplement, she’s savoring every morsel her meal. Yeah, she might like the look of jewelry, but that’s appreciating beauty. Meanwhile we’re reading mashable to find out if we should be the iPad Mini now or in six months.
Dogs and plantains and sunshine and comfy beds. That’s the material world. It’s a messy wiggly dirty place and it usually feels pretty good to be there. But somehow we like to keep our distance.
We’re not materialists, we’re ascetic pagans praying to digital gods. False gods. We’re spending money on virtual goods that we don’t even have time to use. We’re absolutely nuts and it’s time to change. It’s time to become materialistic.
Sensual enjoyment is a discipline that requires today’s rarest commodity: attention. That’s the art of the materialist. A real materialist is connected to the physical world around them, drinking deeply from the cup of life.
So let’s be more materialistic. Let’s take a breath and then take that extra moment to enjoy what we have— what we have right now, not in some fantasy future. Let’s enjoy the food that’s in our mouths. Then maybe, just maybe, we won’t eat so much. Let’s experience the beauty and flavor of the world and people that is here+now. Look up and away from the screen, and reveal a series of marvels beyond compare. Do it now. Well, first hit the recommend button and then do it.