The philosophy of futility

“The goal for the corporations is to maximize profit and market share. And they also have a goal for their target, namely the population. They have to be turned into completely mindless consumers of goods that they do not want. You have to develop what are called ‘Created Wants’. So you have to create wants. You have to impose on people what’s called a Philosophy of Futility. You have to focus them on the insignificant things of life, like fashionable consumption. I’m just basically quoting business literature. And it makes perfect sense. The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another. Whose conception of themselves, the sense of value is just, ‘how many created wants can I satisfy?’ We have huge industries, public relations industry, monstrous industry, advertising and so on, which are designed from infancy to mold people into this desired pattern.”

— Noam Chomsky

I stopped by Lowe’s yesterday to pick up some mouse traps and got into a conversation with another customer, a middle-aged man who told me he had four grandsons with expensive tastes. “I can hardly take care of myself, let alone buy this stuff they want,” he said.

“You’re the grandfather, that’s the parents’ problem,” I said.

No, he said, his son and daughter were drowning in credit card debt and he worried about them. “My son already filed for bankruptcy once and I think he’s going to have to do it again,” he said. “I live a simple life/ I have a prepaid Tracphone in my pocket, I use dial-up internet. When I retire, I’d like to move to North Carolina because it’s cheaper to live, but it’s too long a drive and I know my kids wouldn’t come see me.”

He told me the grandkids wanted things like iPods and video games for Christmas. “The oldest one is eight,” he said. “I just don’t understand why you have to give kids that young whatever they want.”

He said it was nice talking to me, and walked away.

Superstorm

A lot of people tried to warn us. Here’s another one:

PHILADELPHIA — In the documentary “Shored Up,” scientists warn that with a rising sea level, a major storm could put New Jersey’s barrier islands underwater and create devastating storm surges. In other words, what happened last month when Superstorm Sandy slammed into New Jersey and New York.


For Ben Kalina, the Philadelphia filmmaker who was nearly finished putting together the documentary when the storm hit, it meant that the ideas in the film that may have sounded far-fetched – or at least, discussions of something that may happen sometime in the future – were suddenly immediate.


“Until Sandy, we were making a film about something much more meditative, really,” Kalina said. “And now the stakes are suddenly much more real.”

Site Meter