The Rabbi's analysis is flawed in many ways, but the underlying point about our culture is spot on. When I read on here about the number of iDevices people have in their families, how their wife (usually) is going to get the "old model" when they upgrade to the new model (which they are desperate to queue for the day it comes out) and how people want to change to an Android phone because they are "bored" of the iOS design, it's clear that that part of what he is saying is pretty accurate. This is hardly a startlingly original revelation though, as one of my email signatures reads: "No matter how loudly the business-as-usual bells chime, we cannot silence that quiet voice within that asks how a system dependent on lack of satisfaction could ever lead to satisfaction".
Originally Posted by Ronbo
it has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with life. Quite the opposite. It has to do with desire and excitement. Is it a form of materialism? It certainly can be. It might just as easily be an expression of a childlike sense of wonder and desire for play. But at least it's in some form an expression of joy.
Now I've owned a Mac since 1984 (not the same one!) and have an iPod touch and an iPad, but please let's not get delusional!
You could use the same arguments for getting the new fridge, TV, car, a pair of shoes, sofa, camera and and This is what the consumer culture is about. It is about "this year's model" and "The top 10 must-have gadget" lists that pop up every week and magazines whose main purpose is to make you unhappy with whatever you have just bought because Company X has just released something smaller, faster, cheaper and way cooler than what you have just handed over your credit card for! Time to upgrade again
Of course, for things to improve, they must to some considerable degree, replace what is currently available, but the degree of this fetish for the new, the latest, the "must have" that is all around us is now is something new.
Human happiness does not depend on an iPad or an iPhone or a Mac. Or the latest TV. Or the latest pair of trainers. These may well be enjoyable things to have in our lives, but can you really
believe that I was less happy in 1976 as a teenager than a 15 year old today because I didn't have a mobile phone? And was a teenager in 1940 less happy than me in 1976 because she didn't have a Stylophone (look it up!) or a cassette recorder? The idea is absurd. Project it back through time 200 years and the people of 1811 must have been almost suicidal with the lack of everything that makes life worth living, or forward to a teenager in 2045 who would therefore look back to your poor, deprived current existence because you don't have an Apple iXylogenzt, which as every 20 year old in 2045 knows, is absolutely essential to a happy life and they would just die if they didn't have one.
We are not put on this earth to get to the end of our lives counting the number of iPhones, iMacs, cars and other cool gadgets we owned. We can hopefully look back at times of beauty, joy, ecstasy, friendship, contentment and love and realise that that was where the core and wellspring of true happiness comes from. The trouble is that these are available to each of us without buying anything and that's not very good for business