What Are You Buying That’s Already Yours?
It has long been understood that capitalism evolves by claiming things that exist outside of the market dynamic and turning them into market commodities for sale and purchase.*
This is not wild-eyed “commie” madness. This is our current state of affairs and even people in the financial sector are waking up to it.*
I love this quote because it says so much so quickly. Did you realize that’s how our system worked? By mining your life, and selling it back to you?
I didn’t realize it until I noticed how happy I am and how little I want to buy. And how much power I suddenly had (in a system where many feel powerless). And then I realized–not as good advice, not as something I “should” want to be true but simply as something that was true:
how happy I am = how little I want to buy
What Is Already Yours?
Here is a short list of what is already yours: your
- thoughts, words, and actions
- happiness, and other feelings like attraction, repulsion, fascination, curiosity.
Why is this important?
What Are You Buying?
It’s important to remember just a few things that are already yours when you realize that you are being asked every day of every year to buy back everything on that list.
- advertisers who want to sell you your body parts, augmented, shrunk, or otherwise “improved”
- all those who behave as though they (not you) owned your time
- your thoughts, turned into words and actions when you browse or buy online–that are observed by search engines and social media and then sold back to you in the form of advertising
- your feelings (in posts on social media) that are observed and then used to show you what will attract, repulse, anger, or intrigue you.
It’s alright with me if you buy these things back, as long as you remember they were yours to begin with. But once you realize that, you probably won’t want to spend much to have them back.
It’s far easier not to sell them in the first place.
What to Buy Now
I think once I realized I owned my own happiness already, having never had to purchase it, I became even less likely to sell it to anyone, much less to buy it back.
You can buy anything you like; I’m just asking you to ask yourself:
- did you own it first?
- why did you start selling it?
- can you stop?
- what do you really need and want that you truly must buy?
PS: It’s OK to Stop Shopping
I honestly don’t care if I’m being surveilled because I buy nothing I see advertised. I write letters and emails but don’t post on social media except to promote my own work or others’. Everything everyone is attempting to sell me around the edges of my computer screen, I ignore. (I don’t use a smartphone but a Jitterbug, which I mention because it is incapable of showing me ads, apps, or anything but texts, voicemails, and photographs). The more I see something advertised, the less I want it. I buy things, but I don’t “shop.” Shopping turns buying into a sport. It’s not a sport I enjoy.
There is great freedom in this way of living, and a lot of time for things and people I love. (Unless what you love is shopping.) This may be a way of living you want to investigate. (And if you have already investigated, then to deepen.)
This is all I have to say on this subject; please share your thoughts, questions, and experiences.
*See this article in the Financial Times published in Europe, where people are just a bit less likely to accept what is now called “surveillance capitalism,” thanks to Shoshana Zuboff, the author of this quotation. (And if you prefer listening to reading, here’s a podcast with Zuboff). Yes, you’ll need to subscribe to listen or read; choose the “Trial” subscription option for $1 for 4 weeks. Yes, I know, it’s ironic that I encourage you to buy something you already know. Don’t buy it. But admit you know it! And by the way, here are Zuboff’s articles, at least the first one on the left available free.