What is antimaterialism? Well, materialism is, “the doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.” It is an excessive obsession with the things of this world. In fact, nothing exists except the things of this world.
So antimaterialism is to go in the opposite direction, it’s a refusal to obsess over the things of this world. That would include stuff and money, but also social status, cultural norms, and people’s drama.
In some ways I’m kind of expert on antimaterialism. My kids would probably call me cheap, uncool, and uptight. I try hard not to be those things, but antimaterialism really is an ideology, a lifestyle choice, a form of worship, so it is rather important to me. It’s also rebellion, defiance, resistance. It helps to have grown up really poor and to have managed to hang onto most of that.
My antimaterialism is not depravation, it is not a trauma response, it is a constant choice, one I have make over and over again. There is a saying that’s a bit harsh but I really like it, “we’re building a culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
We live in a very consumeristic culture. We’re consuming everything from stuff to celebrity to entire belief systems. I love capitalism, mostly on account of the readily available hot running water and electricity. Also roads and bridges. But it all has a downside, one I think is becoming really self evident today. We have pretty much become narcissistic consumers, constantly obsessed with keeping up with the Jones, obsessed with what we don’t have. I need MOAR.
Once I have all the cool stuff, people will like me and I’ll feel safe.
There is this terribly annoying ad, trying to sell you your part D, E, F, G medicare supplement. There is this karen whining to her husband, “But Harry, we’re entitled to it and we’re just not getting what we’re owed!” I just want to punch her right in the nose! Also, this ad has nothing to do with social security or anything from the government, it’s selling you a product by exploiting our modern sense of entitlement, materialism, and envy. “Harry, we need to get what’s coming to us!” Ai yi yi.
It’s so ironic to me, probably one of the least material things in the world is actually money. It has an artificially assigned value we cannot see. It is not tangible. It’s value is not material and objective. When you reduce it to matter all you’ve got is some paper.
Anyway, money is not really the issue, it is what is going on in our souls that is important, how we are allowing the culture to shape and form us, who rules over us, what we serve and what we value.