You really are living in the matrix

I’m not proposing that we live in Matrix as developed in the movie of the same name.  I am speaking of the principal where people’s lives are based on a world created by advertisers and businesses and influencers in the real world.

The definition of (a) (the) Matrix as per Open A.I. Chat: “The Matrix franchise explores themes of reality, perception, control, and the struggle for freedom. It has had a significant impact on popular culture and has inspired discussions about the nature of reality and the potential consequences of advanced artificial intelligence.”

So, you believe that the path you have chosen was of your own volition?  You set your goals based on high principles and took into account the needs of others.  That your fate was set by the place and time and the family you were born into?

What if I told you that the path you chose was actually chosen for you.  That the markers of success were instilled in you by outside sources.  That the joy you feel is only due to your possessions and the activities you partake in.

What I am saying is you, along with all Americans, and most of the industrialized world, are controlled by influencers.  That the things you do are chosen by corporations that depend on you to consume them unendingly.  And that can only be done by making as much money as possible.  And even more, by continually earning more each year to pay for any useless, soon to be unappreciated things touted by the shills of advertising that are built with planned obsolesce.

Allow me to digress in order to take you through the steps that have led to creating the world you now live in and are controlled by.

With the advent of the assembly line and other modern innovations, workers found themselves with more free time.

In their spare time, people went to the movies and gathered in stadiums to watch professional sports.  In 1926, the first radio networks were established. 

Inventions, such as the car, radio and movies opened the doors to a previously unknown world.  The optimism of the 1920s was fueled by the emerging mass media empire, the advertising industry and the corporations that marketed illusions of fulfillment.

Workers found themselves with more money, and due to the puritan background, they saved diligently.

Yet, in order for businesses to grow sales and profits, they had to rid workers of traditional values and attitudes toward thrift and prudence and nurture qualities like wastefulness, self-indulgence, and artificial obsolescence. 

Advertisers constantly told them that those were the fruits of success, which was what life was all about.  By the mid 1920s innovations in industry led to supply outstripping demand, and problems of scarcity were replaced by problems of how to create more demand.

Over-production and lack of consumer demand was blamed for the recession.  More goods were being produced than a population with set habits and means could consume.

There were two schools of thought about how this problem should be solved.  One was that work hours should be decreased and the economy stabilized so that production met current needs.  The opposing view, mainly held by business people and economists, was that overproduction could and should be solved by increasing consumption so that economic growth could continue.

Manufacturers needed to continually expand production so as to increase their profits.  Others warned that a five-day week would undermine the work ethic by giving more time for leisure.  If work took up less of the day, it would be less important in peoples’ lives.

They also feared that given extra free time, people might become radicals.  ‘Common people have to be kept at their desks and machines, lest they rise up against their betters.’

It was important that leisure was not an alternative to work and an opportunity to reflect on life, but rather a time for consumption.  At the same time, leisure had to be subordinate to work and importantly, a reason to work.

And so the end result is a culture, not just any culture, but the richest on the planet, that wants nothing more than to buy goods that require the precious resources of the Earth, are built with planned obsolesce in mind, and in turn pollute the environment to an unsustainable degree.

Consumption helps sublimate and redirect urges that might otherwise be expressed politically or aggressively.  To those who cannot change their whole lives or occupations, even a new dress is often a relief.

It is only as purchasers, or shoppers that workers are treated with the courtesy worthy of a human being.  What mattered in getting ahead and influencing people was the impression a person made on others.  Ordinary people could enjoy the same products and goods that the people at the top did.

Even as bankruptcy and financial debt increased, consumers continue marching to the discount stores, trading their wages for things that will be worth less or worthless by the next season.  What we know today as conspicuous consumption.

Advertisers are merchants of discontent who take advantage of the upgrading urge that people feel.  With the help of installment plans and credit, they could purchase the signifiers of success.  Advertising was so successful that people began diverting funds from savings into the purchase of a car or home that would enhance their status.

The idea that there were limits on consumer wants began to be eclipsed by the idea that such wants could endlessly be created.

The Barons of industry asked themselves, ‘If such benefit could be derived by 9-5 control, what could be done by 5-9 control.’

And that was when consumerism was taken to the next level: bank loans, purchases on margin, credit cards, constant, redundant TV commercials.  Businesses instilled a psychological and physiological need in people for ‘things.’  Workers were told what to make in the day and what to buy in the evenings and on weekends.”

And now you think that the car you drive, a car that is more expensive than you can actually afford, signifies your success. You believe that your 5,000 square foot home, of which you use only a small part of, is necessary as a marker of your success.  You believe that going out to a one hundred (or more) dollar dinner is something you deserve due to the hard work you put in.  You believe that it is necessary to wear expensive clothing, jewelry and watches or else you will be looked down upon.

You are living not “the dream,” but “the nightmare.” 

People suffer all over the world while you surf the web for things to buy, view funny videos, or check your emails by which you measure your importance in the world.  You are like cattle, forced through a narrow path of life.  Still think you control your destiny?

 Cannabis: You need to unwind after a hard day at the office.  O course you do.  You deserve that.  It’s always stressful there.  “A dog eat dog” world.  You deserve the chance to relax.

Sure.  After all you have a difficult life, certainly more difficult than a person living in Soweto, South Africa who live in a hut made of corrugated aluminum and left over building material with no running water and no electricity in temperatures over 100 degrees.  No job, no hope for the future, nothing to look forward to but another day of hunger and lost opportunity.  Sure, you have it tougher than them.  How about sending them your drugs so they can forget, at least for a little while, how difficult their lives are.

Or maybe you have it tougher then the untouchable sect in India where it is nit a crime to kill someone from a lower cast.

Or maybe in Russia where men live to an average age of 58 and where the age to get a pension is 63.

How about the Philippines where the people are inundated by hurricane and tsunamis and flooding that washes away everything they own: weather created by the rich countries destruction of the land, air, and earth.

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