Tragedy of Western materialism

Unquestionably, science and technology have brought unprecedented wealth and luxury to our civilization, but “progress” has a heavy price: spiritually, socially, ecologically. 9/11 was a powerful symbol heralding a sea change in the machinations of Wall Street and a realignment of the global economy.

Some luminous thinkers have beautifully expressed their thoughts about the downside of Western materialism, in the following quotes (originals here).
Joe Bageant :

“As we have known at least since the Sixties, the core issue of our existence is consciousness, which our corporate state is compelled to control at all times. That’s why drugs are illegal; that’s why we have hundreds of television channels; and that’s why you will never find anything much resembling the truth in U.S. newspapers and magazines.
But there are still those of us who remember our consciousness experiments in the Sixties. Remember what it is like to peer into other realities, not to mention observe the inherent folly and frequent horror of our own war-profit-driven, animal murdering, death-and-sex-without-love obsessed culture. There are those of us who know that when a thrush cries out from the branch it echoes throughout the galaxy. All things are connected and ownership of things is meaningless. The purpose of life is to know this. Lao-tsu knew it, just like Einstein knew it. But you and I are not allowed to. It would shatter our revered hologram, the one that threatens to shatter the world.”


Tyler Durden, Fight Club :

“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact.”

Derrick Jensen, Endgame :

“A high school student bags the groceries. She’s been through the mill. Twelve years of it, not counting her home life, twelve years of sitting in rows wishing she were somewhere else, wishing she were free, wishing it was later in the day, later in the year, later in her life when at long last her time—her life—would be her own. Moment after moment she wishes this. She wishes it day after day, year after year, until—and this was the point all along—she ceases anymore to wish at all (except to wish her body looked like those in the magazines, and to wish she had more money to buy things she hopes will for at least that one sparkling moment of purchase take away the ache she never lets herself feel), until she has become subservient, docile, domestic. Until her will—what’s that?— has been broken. Until rebellion against the system comes to consist of yet more purchasing—don’t you love those ads conflating alcohol consumption (purchased, of course, from major corporations) and rebelliousness?—or of nothing at all, until rebellion, like will, simply ceases to exist. Until the last vestiges of the wildness and freedom that are her birthright—as they are the birthright of every animal, plant, rock, river, piece of ground, breath of wind—have been worn or torn away.”

Abraham Lincoln, US President 1861–1865 :

Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

Edward Abbey :

“Growth for the sake of growth, is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Morpheus, “The Matrix” :

“…You are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. (Produces a box containing two colored pills, one blue and one red.) This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you awake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

Tamo-san :

“People do not go to hell after death. The designers and builders of hell are human beings. The designs and buildings are almost completed. It is becoming difficult to add more hell.”

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