‘If I Lose What I Have, Who Am I?’

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Societies of endless consumption, ever expanding wants and continual advancements … Where does consumption and advancement have to stop to meet the highest point a society can reach, and can Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ be used as a template for modern consumerism, asks Jayden Mifsud

Jayden Mifsud
2013

"If I am what I have, and if I lose what I have, who then, am I?" – Erich Fromm.

Consumerism in today's society is portrayed to be the ‘big businesses’ exploitation on the principle that human wants are infinitely expandable. In spite of this, consumerism can be proven to be a necessity for a society’s development and continual advancement. In a positive light, consumerism is seen to be a part of a historical process that has caused indisputable benefits for the individual and majorities through the raising of quality of life, and creation and maintenance of political and social stability. The preoccupation with the acquisition of goods is the cornerstone for both advancements, and the degradation of advancements already made.

Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World, explores the ideas of boundless consumerism, and the predisposed and innate human desire to consume. “Ending is better than mending,” reflects on the predisposed human tendency to replace what is broken, with a newer, and perhaps more advanced products. The repercussions of this is sort of consumption, Huxley demonstrates, is the force that keeps the perpetuating process of the new world society going, which in turn keeps the people within the society remain content and stable, and is the force that keeps the ‘wheels of production’ turning.

Is Huxley’s exploration of the idea of consumerism – the positives and negatives – applicable to our own brave new world? and is it being used as a tool in our very own society?

Huxley lived through a time of rapid advances that transformed not only his society, but also, the individual. He experienced the transition from manufacturing...
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