There is a cult that has spread through the world. Every day, millions of people base their decisions on what this cult proclaims to be agreeable or not. This cult has reserved for itself the right to dictate to its followers what foods they must eat, what drinks they must drink, what is appropriate to read and listen to, and encourages its followers to sacrifice their well-being in the service of this cult. Like all cults, people are gently sucked in, not even realising that they are joining a cult. This is the cult of consumerism, and instead of prophets it has advertisements.
If you are unconvinced, let’s compare common cult techniques with consumerist advertising:
1. Love bombing
Typically cults will ‘love bomb’ potential new members. They shower new members with praise, kindness and encouragement. Advertisers too creepily seek to make you feel loved and special, to make you feel as part of a group, as someone who belongs, as a way of getting a foothold in your mind through which they may control you.
Here’s an example of love bombing:
2. Use of repetition
Cults will often stick to one theme or mantra and hammer it in, in essence driving out all critical thought out of one’s mind, until that one thought can be summoned with ease out of the enslaved mind, controlling the person through that mantra. If you are one of those who have been enslaved by the cult of consumerism, you will easily recognise the following phrases:
- “Just do it.”
- “Open happiness.”
- “Life’s good.”
All these phrases have been drummed into you so that your ability to think critically about a consumer goods is automatically suppressed in favour of the mantra pounded into your head. Instead of thinking ‘Coke might be bad for me,’ instead you think ‘Open happiness.’
3. Micro-controlling your life
In a cult, often even the tiniest aspects of your life are controlled by the cult, such as how you dress, how you wash, how you eat, how you talk.
The consumerist cult has also infiltrated every aspect of the human experience. Plain water is not good enough to wash your hair—you need industrial strength shampoo and then conditioner to repair the damage the shampoo made. And then you need styling product. Your skin requires product. You need the latest razor technology with the latest shaving foam with aloe vera extract. Your clothes must have a brand. Your phone must conform to the latest demands of the cult. You must hand over your money to banksters and investment fund managers. You must take these pills to be healthy and/or happy. You must go out to such and such place while driving the car they want you to drive. You must live in a house you can barely afford, and fill it with stuff they want you to put in your house. You must buy cheap stuff from China. You must buy. You must buy. You must buy.
There are so many things in the modern consumerist culture that are frankly not required to be happy and healthy. But the brainwashing of the consumerist cult is so good that despite themselves, members of the cult keep buying useless junk, waiting in long lines just to poison themselves with cronuts.
4. Loss of financial control
Cults often completely take over the finances of their followers, or at least put a severe burden on their finances. Typically a small elite in the cult amass wealth while their followers are forced to take financial hits.
The cult of consumerism has done the same, driving many people into unsustainable debt as they blindly follow the orders given to them by advertisers. Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.
5. Keeping you busy and sleep deprived
Cults often overwhelm people with work and deprive them of sleep, in order to keep them too occupied and too groggy to mount an effective intelligent response to the assault on their minds.
The cult of consumerism has also put excessive demands on time for people. It seems no one has enough time, even for sleep. There is always somewhere to rush to, something to do, that actually has little to do with personal well-being and everything with handing your money over to those who are laughing at you.
6. You can’t leave
Cults always condemn those who dare to leave. And the cult of consumerism is the same. When you leave the cult, be prepared for strange and confused questions from those who are still within the cult, such as:
- “You don’t watch TV? Really?”
- “Why don’t you own an I-phone? How do you send messages?”
- “Why are you driving such a shitty car?”
- “You use baking soda as a deodorant? Isn’t that dangerous?”
You cannot leave the cult without someone condemning you.
We are in the midst of one of the most widespread cult movements in history, demanding your money at every turn and trying to manipulate the way you think by bombarding you with messages from every possible direction. It’s up to you to decide whether you wish to remain in this cult, and enjoy the false gifts and false pleasures that the cult will provide for you.
Or, at the cost of a sort of ostracism from your friends and colleagues, you can abandon the fool’s paradise and wake up to live in the real world, a world run on whatever terms you can make for yourself, rather than what the advertisers have chosen for you.