Panier of Plenty

Buying peace

What goes hand in hand with a holiday? New.

New gadgets, toys, new objects that amuse. New clothing for new occasions,
to match the new lease of life that comes with permission to ‘play and
unwind’. A change of scene requires a change on all fronts, and a range
of amusements that keep pace with the desire to ‘shake things up a bit’
and escape from any normal routine.

Marketing is of course aligned with all the motive forces at work, that
dictate where our money goes, when the purse is opened in the name of
pleasure, and shopping becomes a sport that accompanies leisure – each
resort has its own display of jewels to complete the holiday. To hold
the memory we like ‘souvenirs’ – tangible reminders that come from happy
years, with the photos that prove we had a good time, and that the reward
was equal to the hours of work behind the scenes, that call many to
offices and buildings for the rest of the year.

A chance to escape is seen as ‘free time’ as usual constraints are put
aside, yet increasingly with the younger generations, there is the need
to fill each day with amusements, as they’ve forgotten how to be still
– used to technology and constant communication, our Y’s and Z’s are
addicted to distractions and one-minute-wonders that follow a trend,
or mimic a popular series, or come with a set theme: plugged into a
world that transcends reality they have touched a virtual plane that
lies far from ‘learning to just be’.

Flitting from one bright colour to the next, the pieces of plastic that
hold their attention increase – for there is never enough to satisfy as
limits are not perceived, only ‘what’s on offer’, as consumer demand
produces more and more: to answer our demands the range expands. We
support the ambitions of our growing clans and indulge increasing whims,
for our children are all the same – they want what others have got and
participate in the game. Thus a cycle perpetuates, ‘of demands and
supply for all the must haves’, yet what do they ‘have’ already,
we might well add?

And at the end of the day, where is ‘satisfied’ on the scale, when we are
still compelled to buy, and knowingly, with conscience that there is a
price to pay, choose to perpetuate consumer behaviour: ‘achète et jette’
or ‘buy and throw away’, is the motto we’ve got used to in our current day.
Rather than demonstrating our ‘ability to pay’, perhaps our attention has
merely strayed from the consequences of our actions, when the earth cannot
consume our many creations.

Written as a result of reflections on ‘paradoxes’ while on holiday recently
in Provence: observing the trap many can fall into, as parents with the
best intentions, to enable only their children’s enjoyment and instil
sound values – even letting them decide on purchases with their own savings
from pocket money – also contribute to manufacturing and all the associated
ramifications of ‘consommation’ or consumerism, at the same time as being
highly conscious of the importance of ‘bio’ or ‘eco’ food and practices.
And I am wearing a new dress as I put out the compost…

Wikipedia: The phrase Generation Y first appeared in an August 1993 Ad Age
editorial to describe teenagers of the day, which they defined as separate
from Generation X, and then aged 12 or younger (born after 1981), as well
as the teenagers of the upcoming ten years. Since then, the company
has sometimes used 1982 as the starting birth year for this generation.
“Generation Y” alludes to a succession from “Generation X.” Generation Z
is highly connected, as many of this generation have had lifelong use
of communications and media technologies such as the World Wide Web,
instant messaging, text messaging, MP3 players, mobile phones and
YouTube,earning them the nickname “digital natives”. No longer limited
to the home computer, the Internet is now increasingly carried in their
pockets on mobile Internet devices such as mobile phones. A marked
difference between Generation Y and Generation Z is that older members
of the former remember life before the takeoff of mass technology,
while the latter have been born completely within it. This generation
has also been born completely into an era of postmodernism and
globalisation.

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This entry was published on August 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm. It’s filed under Environment, Europe, France, Holiday, La Vie Quotidienne, Leisure, Life, Lifestyle, Philosophy, Summer, Tourism, Travel, Vacance, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Buying peace

  1. mesarapugs on said:

    Precise observations, and all a little despairing! Gen Y is something to be understood – perhaps like no other generation that has gone before it . . . x Interesting that they are a hot topic around the globe across all generations 😉

  2. mesarapugs on said:

    p.s hadn’t even heard of Gen Z!! Thanks for the definition. x

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