Throughout the 20th and 21st century we forgot about minimalism. It seems like consumption has become a religion on its own with financial wealth as its god. We became focussed rather on collecting things than actually being happy. Our homes are stuffed with things we don’t need but just like to have. When Madonna sang “I’m a material girl” she wasn’t only singing about herself but about an entire society.
From the Greatest to Generation Z
Starting from the 20th century every generation in the Western world became a bit more focussed on consumption. Most people from the Greatest Generation lived or grew up in poverty due to two wars and a major economic depression. They knew what it was like to be careful with money. Their children, the Baby Boomers, were the first to be in contact with a more “luxurious” lifestyle. This evolution continued with the birth of Generation X and Y between 1965 and 1990. Economy thrived, cheap chain stores were a fact, color TV was launched and every day new, better inventions came on the market. And last but not least there are Generation Z and Generation Alpha who’s members were born in a world wide web.
Wealth vs happiness
A growth of financial resources combined with an increasing amount of goods resulted in a Western consumer society. We can’t distinguish the things we really want from the things we really need. Of course this is a generalization but we wouldn’t be writing about it if it wasn’t a general trend.
However, our buying addiction isn’t proportionate to our happiness. We need money to survive but wealth doesn’t necessarily has a positive effect on how we feel. Also suffering from the consumer society are the planet and its other inhabitants. Natural resources are exhausted, animal species hunted to the point of distinction and so on. How long will mankind keep on acting as the one and only ruler of kingdom earth?
Luckily every story has two sides, more and more people are evolving towards a minimalistic life. This definitely doesn’t mean you have to live in a prehistoric way. Small adaptions in your daily routine will get you further than you realize. Before buying anything new you just have to pose yourself the question “do I need that or do I want that”? You can invest the extra amount of money you save by this behavior in quality time with your family and friends. In the long run that will be much more fulfilling than buying the newest TV or latest cellphone.
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