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The Day I Woke Up From the Consumption Trap

May 23, 2011

    by Jerry Robinson | FTMDaily Editor-in-Chief

    Not too long ago, I had an epiphany. It occurred while I was sitting at home after a long day of work. As I sat there relaxing, this thought entered my mind:

    “How much of my consumption is based upon my own production?”

    As I pondered this question, my mind began to race.

    I felt the couch beneath me that I had paid someone to construct for me.

    I was staring at a television that was beaming in entertainment to my home for a fee.

    I was sipping on water from a bottle that had been packaged and sold to me.

    I was wearing clothes that someone else had produced for me.

    I quickly made my way to my kitchen and opened the cupboard. Everything inside had been packaged and sold to me through my local grocer.

    “Surely,” I thought to myself nervously, “I can find something in my house (also constructed for me) that I have created myself.”

    Nothing… I could find nothing that I was regularly using, consuming, or depending upon that I had produced myself.

    I was shocked, to say the least. But more than shock was the absolute amazement that I had outsourced every bit of my own consumption without even thinking about it. It was almost as if I expected others to produce for me.

    That’s when it occurred it to me. I had chosen to outsource all of my consumption needs to those who were willing to produce.

    I had chosen to outsource my food needs to the food manufacturer-retailer supply chain.

    I had chosen to outsource my water, electricity, and natural gas needs to utility companies.

    I had chosen to outsource my entertainment needs (is that really a need?) to the cable company, Netflix, etc.

    I had chosen to outsource my transportation needs to a car manufacturer and to big oil companies to keep it running.

    I had chosen to outsource my clothing needs to a producer of clothing.

    As all of this dawned on me, two more ideas came into focus for me.

    1.) I didn’t recall the moment that I chose to outsource these needs. Instead, I had willingly learned and adopted these outsourcing values from our consumption-crazed culture at an extremely early age. Until this moment, I had never consciously viewed my decision to outsource all of my consumption to outside sources as a “choice.”

    2) As a result of this “choice”, I had been spending most of my time on “life’s treadmill” in order to make just enough money to pay those who were producing the things that I wanted to consume.

    Now, let me clarify: I do not have a desire to take up sewing or biking. Instead, my point is that our culture seems to default to outsourced consumption on almost every level.

    Friends, don’t think that this mentality is normal or rooted in mankind’s history. Learn more in the video below.

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