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Saturday, September 19, 2015

I shop, therefore I am

In my previous post I mentioned the fact that being mad is a response of sanity to the world which lost its meaning. We live like zombies where we are defined by shopping, watching X-Factor, wishing for a nicer bigger house or a better car, and where in times of crises, it is more about reacting rather than acting. And one of the most grotesque manifestations of zombielism is the amount of time we spend in shops.

I am a shopaholic myself. It is hard nowadays to escape the phenomenon because everyone shops. I don’t even feel guilty about going shopping as it is where that life takes place. Going shopping is a well-planned, much anticipated trip when I can indulge myself fully and spend some quality time in the company of those like me. I am, obviously, not alone when I am in shops, as the number of fellow shopaholics demonstrates on my escapades. As it turns out we never talk, but it is the exact reason of shopping. I shop alone and in style. Just like the rest of the Western population. We smile politely to each other, we say ‘sorry’ when we try to reach in a hurry for the latest offer at Sainsbury and we don’t ask ourselves anymore as to why we are where.

Shops dominate every city centre in most countries in Europe. It is all about shops - the museums of the generation which has gone mad.

In my case, the addiction grew with age, time and experience, simply because I didn’t have a choice before (read my post on first capitalistic shops in Russia here). Trust me, if I did, I would have embraced it much earlier, so fun and fulfilling it is once on the scene. I look, I observe, I try and I buy, and I try once again when I get home, being consumed by guilt only later when I sit down and realise that once again… I spent the day in futility. But still, I return. There isn’t much else to do nowadays if one happens to be in town. Shops and shoppers are everywhere, luring me once again into the world where there is no meaning.

The whole Western hemisphere literally lives in shops. There are so many shops and people hanging out in there that I often wonder as to whether anyone is actually at work.

What are all these people doing in there, including me?

Thomas Humphrey Marshall once observed that when many people run in the same direction we can ask two questions: what are they running after or what are they running from? The same two questions can be applied to people in shops. Why are they where and what are they trying to achieve?

Let’s start looking at it in my next post.

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