How many gods have there been throughout history?
Who is the almighty god that prevails today?
Whom do we worship that we’ll also introduce to our young?
I’m not talking about a religious god.
Although this one, too, exudes omnipotence and is omnipresent.
I’m not talking about a tortured god.
Although torture occurs in this one’s vicinity.
I’m not talking about a philosophical god.
Although this one’s preachings have constructed a whole ideology.
As a matter of fact, I may not even be talking about a god at all, if we’re to count Nietzsche’s proclamation that God is dead.
I’m talking about the god of Consumerism.
The one, married to the Advertising Industry who can also classify herself as a form of deity. Because, isn’t advertising religion in its own right – with its symbols and miracles to which consumers bend to believe?
That god, who also has two kids – little Narcissus and his little step-brother Materialism – who become our blood as soon as we convert. The god of Consumerism also has a very handy uncle who butts in everywhere. He is constantly on the go, kind of a geek, and transforms himself like a great inventor, on a weekly basis. Yes, I’m talking about the god of Technology. And that one has one hell of a family. (Jobs must be related to them because he is a total god!)
The god of Consumerism and his powerful family foster us – mere mortals – but not for a month or two. For ever! We inherit their traits, preachings, and habits. We trust them and grow fond of them. Just like kids grow to love their parents.
The god of Consumerism is almighty and pervasive. He allures and attracts.
He is likely to outlive other, short-lived gods, like the crazy gods of communism and fascism.
And that’s for at least four reasons:
1) this one is friendly
2) his wife is a brilliant strategist and promotes him brilliantly
3) the spin-off effects (his kids’ roles) reaffirm our beliefs in him, strengthen our worship towards him, and remind us of his existence
4) he is the metaphysical base of education. Meaning that, as the logic goes, if we go to school, we will become educated, we will get a decent job, we will make money and become the dreamed consumer of all the things nice. As the analogy goes – we will become good servants to our god.
From there follows that, the more we consume the more blessed we will be.
We rush to buy things; to have 20 pairs of jeans; to rent storage units – because our basements and our attics are already full – to keep all our toys and things we have bought in dedication to our god.
Then the news at 20:00 is interrupted every 6 minutes for advertising as a brief reminder of our god. Whether it’s a Burger King commercial or antidepressants, we remember our god and honour him for about 2 minutes before the news take us back to the latest developments in Homs.
Could this god be our oppressor? No, he couldn’t. He is not imposing, threatening, or depriving us of anything.
Orwell was totally wrong with his prediction.
Could this god be our answer to all our questions about the meaning of life? I stumble on existential questions. The reality is that reality and talk shows, and advertising in between certainly fill up most of the time we’ve got left after work, kids, house chores, internet “white noise”, weird or not so weird habits.
Perhaps Huxley was right.
This brew will drive us to entertainment orgasm and ultimately to oblivion.
My wondering here is not whether my kids will learn about this particular god, or whether they will chose to follow him.
Because, they will know everything about him.
They will follow him.
It will be a fact of life, the way I buy Wheaties because it’s “breakfast for champions”, and write using Apple right now because “iThink therefore iMac”; the way I drink my Bud because it’s the “king of Beers”. You get the point.
My wondering is whether my kids will question this god, his mission, and his prophecy.
My hope is in that, by putting it this way – as above – I will open up a subject of serious discourse for my kids.
So, when they are old enough they will dig out the answers for themselves about what god to serve.