On Sunday, the redhead and I listened to a pastor teach on the topic of joy and happiness. He talked about how our culture keeps us in a state of restlessness and dissatisfaction with our current situation.
In order to keep us consuming more and more, and thereby keeping the economy going, ad agencies work hard to keep us in a constant state of dissatisfaction with our present life. "Wants" turn into "needs" and "necessities" turn into "must haves."
The pastor then cited the following example:
A few years ago, Psychology Today magazine ran an article by Hollywood publicist Michael Levine, in which he argued that constant exposure to beautiful women has made single men less interested in dating and married men less interested in their wives. According to Levine, prior to 1950, the average man didn't have a television, and prior to the automobile and airplane, he was limited in travel. Today, the average guy is exposed to thousands of women through travel, television, movies, the internet, magazines, etc and as a result, he begins losing interest in the more "ordinary" women around him.
What is surprising about this article is his explanation for the average guy's loss of interest. It wasn't that a typical male thinks that "ordinary" women are less attractive. Instead, he thinks, "My wife looks good...but since there are so many beautiful women out there, I can do better."
The sermon led to a great conversation between the redhead and I as we talked about how the constant barrage of ads and images can really take its toll on the soul.
How do you protect yourself our consumer culture's constant pull on your life? How do you keep yourself from being dissatisfied with the good you have in your life right now?