|Posted by Eccleston George Team on December 17, 2013 at 5:55 AM|
Nige here! Happy Christmas everyone. Blimey it's that time of year again, don't panic and try to relax a bit if you possibly can! It's never easy over the Christmas and New Year holiday what with all the stuff to do and all the stuff to buy. It seems to me that the month of December has become an annual display of our frenzied consumer driven existence, a yearly stumble into a monstrous vision of what our plastic coated lives have become..... and I've got to say I don't like that bit of it much!
But Christmas is about family and friends too, it's about goodwill and festive cheer I hear you say and that's true of course but remind yourself of that on Boxing Day when, merry on sherry, Aunty Dot asks your children what Santa got them for Christmas?... and they reply with a "errr" and then struggle to recall the contents of the gift mountain that so excited them just hours earlier. But you can forgive their memory lapse because you know the kids can't be bothered to think about what happened yesterday when there's so much fun stuff going on now, Granddad's found his old guitar and is now murdering a version of Silent Night while a tipsy Uncle Colin's trying to keep rhythm with a empty wine bottle and a teaspoon.....brilliant! When eventually this Christmas holiday is all over what will you and your children remember most about it do you think?
I think Christmas nicely crystalises some aspects of modern life that we could do with much more of, as well as quite a bit we could very well do without.
It's not really what we want...is it?
Try this at home if you've got older teenagers about, or at school if you're a teacher of older kids.....ask a teenager what they want to do when they leave school, when they tell you their answer then ask them why they want that particular job, when they give you that answer ask them when where they happiest in the last month? Their answers are usually an amazing insight into the mismatched values we've placed upon ourselves as civilized beings. By the way, ask a young child what they want to be when they grow up and the answers are entirely different....and totally brilliant!
What you might be able to glean from this teenage question and answer game is that what we really want most is to be around other people having fun with them, after all, those are the things that we remember most when we look back across our lives it seems to me. The desire to surround ourselves with people we care about is hardwired into our DNA, buying stuff to make us happy on the other hand is something that we've learned to 'love' quite recently. Taught to us by post war government economists looking for a way to boost our nations flagging finances, consumerism was seen as the only way out of the terrible austerity thrust upon us at that time. Make stuff, sell stuff, make more stuff, sell more stuff and then when we get board of having so much stuff advertise yet more stuff....tell consumers their lives will be much better if only they had more stuff. That was the ideology of the economists....and so that's how it was/is.
You might say, well what's wrong with that, it worked didn't it? Consumerism dragged us out of post war austerity and within a generation gave us all lifestyles we couldn't have imagined 50 years ago. The problem is that it has come at a terrible price, perhaps the biggest cost being that it hasn't made us very happy. In the western world rates of depression are higher than they've ever been and people are, despite the advent of social networking technology, more isolated and lonely than ever before. Then there's the terrible environmental cost of our bloated consumerist ways, 'stuff' it turns out doesn't just come out of thin air, it's manufactured from bits of our home....it comes out of the very planet we walk on. Our hunger for more stuff means that every day on a ever increasing scale we dig, drill, mine, explode etc our way into our planetary home in order to get to the raw materials that we need to make the stuff that we think we want and is currently is littering our homes. Every single day we plunder the very earth beneath our feet so that we can satisfy our desire for stuff that other people tell us we need in order to make our lives better......sad isn't it? how ever did we fall for it?
The Wind of change is a blowing.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten it's Christmas! This year we at EG reckon Christmas comes with a brilliant realistic message of hope, just watch this space because fantastic stuff that will benefit us all is on it's way. And also don't worry because it still involves 'stuff' no one's going to take your stuff away from you, in fact quite the opposite is true. People you know and some you don't are going to be queuing up to give you stuff and you'll be beating down their doors to give them stuff too. Our culture of consumerism is changing, a new economic ideology is cruising the globe and us lot at Eccleston George have placed ourselves right at the pointy end of it. Like Kate Winslet (or was it Leonardo DiCaprio?) in the movie Titanic we're we're leaning over that 'pointy end' hands free shouting out loud "I'm on top of the world" and we predict that unlike the Titanic this is one idea that ain't going to sink without trace. 'Collaborative Consumption' it seems is here to stay and I can think of no better time to talk about it than at Christmas time because it embodies the very thing that everyone talks about as being the spirit of Christmas - sharing, caring and trust.......just imagine, right now across the globe economies are being re-imagined on principles founded on those very things. So, perhaps the true spirit of Christmas is finally prevailing after all.
So Merry Christmas everyone and happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all!