A comment of mine to a graduate school friend for kolakoski.com/kolog
Consumerism is a net benefit for humanity. There are some things we feel guilty about consuming: gasoline, bad food, cheap plastic gizmos, too much alcohol and tobacco. But I agree with the free-trade economists on this one -- more demand and more consumption results in longer lives, better food, better communications, better entertainment, more options. And over our lifetimes, consumerism is going to result in more earth-friendly practices -- geothermal, wind, and nuclear energy, among others.
Like anything, we must take the Buddha's Middle Path. But were the Buddha's mother on her death bed, would he not opt for modern medicine?
In a way, getting over the guilt of consumerism can help us traverse the minefield of excessive consumerism, and the guilt of too much gas, food, alcohol, etc., because we know that we are offered so much, and the responsibility is on us to make the right choices. A person can live a longer, healthier, happier life than ever before -- if one lives with mindfulness.
So, there's a Burger King right near my house, but I cook fresh food whenever possible, minimize my driving, recycle all that I can, and even ride a bike when the weather is decent. And I eat a damn lot more than anyone I know because I exercise a lot; guilt do I feel not.
No profanes - sacred