Materialism

The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Materialism is the giving of higher value to material things instead of intellectual or spiritual things. Someone who is not materialistic is described to be “not materialistic” or “non-materialistic”. Such people do not think about acquiring materials just to gain social acceptance. Globalization is said to be the main cause of materialism in the modern era.
A major example of materialism is money. In today’s world, it is the prime cause of rifts in relationships. On a recent survey, it was observed that one in every 5 couples are a victim of materialism. These couples were very often observed to have a highly unstable relationship. Such couples mostly pay more attention to materialistic things instead of paying attention to nurturing their relationship. Materialistic people never have happiness since they are always concerned with what they do not have instead of what they have. Material possessions mostly include clothes, furnitures, accessories or cars. Most of today’s younger generation will buy clothes and overpay for them, just for the brand name, instead of the looks or comfort that it offers. Similar factors are present in the corporal world. Living in a richer neighbourhood, travelling to beautiful locations on holidays, enrolling into certain schools, colleges or clubs all come under the banner of material possession. Wealth is considered an important possession in the modern societies. Hence we often associate a person possessing a material thing with the fact that he must be wealthy. The human brain often craves for acceptance and love from their fellow creatures. This leads them to try to gain material possessions, since they believe that having that will grant them acceptance and love.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
― John Lennon
Materialism can negatively effect a person, by contributing to depression and anxiety and thus be a cause of sorrow for them. Since there is literally no end to obtaining material things, it is a very dangerous trait for an individual to possess.
Although the root cause of materialism is unknown, it may just be that humans are inherently jealous creatures. Be it material possessions, relationships or other social constructs. They may be thinking that what they do not have is always better than what they do. Another cause may be the fact that it is easier to think about what we do not have instead of thinking about what we already have. Acquiring what we do not have by setting our sights on it may feel like more “progress”. Some studies think that the urge to possess material things may be an evolved form of hoarding. Hoarding used to be a necessary skill to survive in the previous ages. When an unhealthy perception of what is necessary combines with the habit of hoarding, it may give rise to materialism. The media glorifies the usage of name brands and forces us to make a connection between their product and happiness. Even major blockbusters and tv shows promote such behaviour. This leaves a lasting impression on the human mind. Most of the time, it isn’t possible to avoid their tactics, even while being aware of what they are doing.

The government could introduce various programmes to educate young people upon the evils of materialism. Banners and hoardings could be put up across streets. The national television is a great place to advertise such things. Raising awareness is very important in order to eradicate such social evils.