A Throw-away Society

What are we Throwing Away?

Joel F. Salatin (born February 24, 1957) is an American farmer, lecturer, and author whose books include Folks, This Ain’t Normal; You Can Farm; and Salad Bar Beef. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Salatin

By becoming consumers, we have given up so many of our human qualities.  We are disengaging from life and from nature and becoming the things we buy.

Rather than farming our own land, and growing fruit and vegetables on it, most of us landscape it or have someone else do it for us.  In so doing, we give up working outside in nature, in the fresh air, to  produce our food.  Then rather than cooking or baking meals with what we have grown ourselves, most of us now buy packaged food produced by big corporations and we microwave it and discard all the waste in the garbage, which ends up on Mother Nature’s lap. The real nutritional value of the food we eat is questionable.

“To cultivate a garden is. . . to go hand in hand with Nature in some of her most beautiful processes…”  Christian Bovee

Rather than using our hands and creativity to sew, paint, draw and build, most of us let others do it for us.  We buy manufactured goods and toss out the packaging and the goods eventually break and we toss them out too.

Rather than walk or run, most of us sit and watch. Rather than engage with life, most of us watch it on television or the internet or on our cell phones or tablets.

Rather than inviting friends over for a meal we have made from scratch, we squeeze a lunch or dinner date into our busy schedule and meet at a restaurant.  Rather than write a letter or card in our own handwriting, we email or text or tweet a quick note.

Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, we seem to preoccupied with being busy.  “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”

Down the Rabbit Hole.png

By giving up so many of our human qualities and becoming consumers, we shift away from being physically active and engaging in life and settle for what’s mass-produced and manufactured and digital.

“If there is one thing clear about the centuries dominated by the factory and the wheel, it is that although the machine can make everything from a spoon to a landing-craft, a natural joy in earthly living is something it never has and never will be able to manufacture.”  Henry Beston

We work at jobs or own businesses to earn the money to live lives that are increasingly more detached from one another and from nature.  As we do, we throw away a healthy natural lifestyle and attract disease.  The increase is showing up in statistics and mother nature, who is unable to digest our air, water and land garbage, recycles it back to us.

We’re on a downward spiral.  It’s time for each of us to stop and sort through what we’ve thrown away and what we’ve embraced and to reclaim what really matters to us as people and collectively as a society.  Our health and well-being and the health and well-being of Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants depends upon it.

 

Throwaway Living

Throwaway LivingThrowaway Living pg2

Life Magazine, August 1, 1955 pg 43

This Life Magazine article of August 1, 1955 “Throwaway Living,” is cited as the source that first used the term “throw-away society.” Our societal values dramatically shifted during that 1950’s decade,  Just following World War II, “Mainstream culture emphasised getting material possessions and a good job as the path to happiness.” (Values and Attitudes of the 1950’s)

We embraced the concept of throwaway living and we changed our habits.  We began to freely dispose (definition: “intended to be used once, or until no longer useful, and then thrown away”) of everything.  Now sixty years later, our planet and all who inhabit it are experiencing the ramifications. We are on the path of throwing-away life as well.

“But what many consumers don’t realize is that this throw-away world was largely made by design. Manufacturers call it “planned obsolescence” .…advertising has taught us that new is good and that old isn’t.”  http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/disposablesociety.asp

“…we have become a throwaway society. Instead of honoring and preserving our past, we tear it down, shove it aside, and just go on our merry way. Well, I won’t have it. We have to stand firm for what we believe in. Only in the most dire circumstances should a structure of historical significance be demolished.” Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.

In the process of becoming a throw-away society, we did an over haul of our values. Our values have shifted away from culture (“the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively”) to materialism. We threw out traditions and our innate wisdom, which knew the importance of the concepts of preserving, sustaining, conserving, keeping, saving, protecting, safeguarding, caring for, maintaining, upholding and continuing.

We began to believe that these are old, outmoded values. “Out with the old, in with the new,” became our society’s mantra.  We now readily buy, use, and toss out.  Fixing is becoming obsolete.

In the process of becoming a throw-away society, we are rapidly waxing as a materialistic, consumer oriented society and in turn waning as a life sustaining society.  We have embraced a waste mentality and along with it these concepts:  discarding, disposing, dispensable, dumping, getting rid of, throwing out, scraping, ditching, rejecting, wasting, squandering, frittering away, draining, exhausting, destroying, ending and cutting off and degredation.

“Our enormously productive economy… demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption… We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing rate.” Victor Lebow

Further References:

Planned Obsolescence

“A manufacturing decision by a company to make consumer products in such a way that they become out-of-date or useless within a known time period. The main goal of this type of production is to ensure that consumers will have to buy the product multiple times, rather than only once. This naturally stimulates demand for an industry’s products because consumers have to keep coming back again and again.”  Also known as “built-in obsolescence”.  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/planned_obsolescence.asp

“Planned obsolescence” is not a myth.  It is a manufacturing philosophy developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when mass production became popular.  The goal is to make a product or part that will fail, or become less desirable over time or after a certain amount of use. This pressures the consumer to buy again. 

Advertising trains consumers to want what is new and improved.  It convinces them that the more they have, the happier they will be.  Vance Packard, author of The Waste Makers, a book published in 1960, called this “the systematic attempt of business to make us wasteful, debt-ridden, permanently discontented individuals.”  http://www.ourbetternature.org/throwaway.htm

Other Links:

Trashing the Planet:                                                            http://www.ourbetternature.org/litter.htm

Waste:                                                                                                                                                   The Waste Makers  by Vance Packard                                                             http://www.ourbetternature.org/wasterecycling.htm                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throw-away_society

“A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house
built upon sand.” -DOROTHY L. SAYERS in Creed or Chaos

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