Eckhart Tolle on the Circular Trap of Consumerism

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Eckhart Tolle




I really like the way Eckhart Tolle explains why our materialistic society has so many of us running ever faster on the hamster wheel of consumerism. I am particularly impressed by the analogy he makes in the last sentence. This excerpt is from his book, A New Earth.





Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.

Of course, in this physical dimension that our surface selves inhabit, things are a necessary and inescapable part of our lives. We need housing, clothes, furniture, tools, transportation. There may also be things in our lives that we value because of their beauty or inherent quality. We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms. In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so-called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were closer to the truth than we are today. When you live in a world deadened by mental abstraction, you don’t sense the aliveness of the universe anymore. Most people don’t inhabit a living reality, but a conceptualized one.

But we cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement, that is to say, if we try to find ourselves through them. This is exactly what the ego does. Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part.





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2 Responses to “Eckhart Tolle on the Circular Trap of Consumerism”

  1. becky Says:

    Absolutely agree! I’ve enjoyed his book and love my quest for simplicity.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, living simply is the best way to go. Thanks, Becky!

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