by Ryan Fu •
Victor Lebow an economist, retail analyst and author, wrote a very pertinent account of modern consumerism in his 1955 paper, “Price Competition in 1955,” which was published in the Spring issue of the “Journal of Retailing.”
“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats, his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.
These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.”
We have let ourselves to be led down the path of consumption, we have been manipulated into a society of ‘battery hen humans’ where governments, marketers, corporations and interest groups have been feeding us a steady diet of consumerism, laced with deceit, false hopes and non-sustainability.
It all started after the Second World War when economies and much of the Western population were in a state of stability and there were abundant energy resources in the form of coal and oil. What better way to control the masses to promote growth and prosperity than to condition consumers, voters and citizens to consume, consume, consume, everything else is irrelevant.
People talk about ‘the economy’ as if it were a living being. Interest groups such as the financial services sector, government, corporations and politicians discuss confidence, growth, investment, demand, spending, stimulus and consumption as a means to satisfying and appeasing the manic depressive economy. Slowly we are starting to see fragments of change. We have let ourselves become attached to something that offers little real evidence of being able to truly make us happy in the long term. In Buddhism, attachment is one of the key hindrances that causes suffering among humans. The Buddha taught that attachment generates craving, wanting and insecurity. Attachment is the wanting to hold onto and keep a permanent state and not be separated from a thing or person. The general principle behind non-attachment is to cultivate a mind of detachment. Once we do this we can then move towards a mind of oneness which involves compassion, an understanding of impermanence and seeing experiences for what they are.
Not only have humans become attached to physical objects or things, but also to relationships, ideas and opinions. We anchor or associate happiness, success and fulfillment with these external objects in the hope that we will find lasting happiness. So what do we do? Like the mouse on the treadmill we hope we will eventually get to where we want to be. We are always trying to achieve, in a never ending cycle of wanting and having, thinking this will lead us to lasting happiness.
The current Western economic system with the mantra of growth and prosperity has let us be seduced into a pattern of wanting and external gratification. Most of us have been herded onto the plains of consumerism with the promise this will bring us closer to fulfillment. While on the forest fringes, we see a small group of enlightened beings that realize happiness and contentment comes only from within and cannot be bought, sold, acquired or accumulated.
Non-attachment gives us the freedom, space and time to contemplate the true meaning of life. Attachment distracts us from reality. It influences how we perceive and react to our immediate world. A world of excess leads to a roller coaster of highs and lows. This in turn motivates us to seek out more of those high moments of pleasure. We enter into a hedonistic world of want-fulfillment which creates further wanting in an attempt to bring lasting happiness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrew Martin is passionate about helping raise awareness and living sustainably. He is editor of www.onenesspublishing.com and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future… He is also a writer for Collective Evolution where this was originally featured.
I’ll bet there are a lot of artists that nobody hears about who just make more money than anybody. The people that do all the sculptures and paintings for big building construction. We never hear about them, but they make more money than anybody. – Andy Warhol
How do you make money as an artist? Many people who aren’t artists wonder this, and many seasoned artists wonder the same thing! Of course artists know that to make money, you must sell work. But there other methods of making money that you may not be aware of.
Commercial galleries typically sell artists’ works at a commission. The typical commission that galleries take is somewhere between 40% and 50% of the sale of the work. This is determined by the contract. Whether you submit your work for sale by consignment or enter into an ongoing relationship with a gallery, the parameters should all be written down in a contract. We have put together two guides for you.
Nonprofit galleries typically show work that is young, edgier, and cutting edge. Depending on the gallery, they will take a commission – usually not more than 30%. Nonprofit galleries typically do not “represent” artists or enter into contractual relationships with them.
Many artists sell their work out of their studio by arranged visits or open studios arranged with other artists. If you are represented by a gallery, that agreement may extend to “studio sales” or all sales of your work. If you do not have a formal relationship with a gallery, you obviously retain 100% of the sale.
Artists will do work on a commission basis. If collectors want a personalized work of art like a portrait, they will commission an artist. The artist sets the price and usually asks for a percentage of the price up front.
If you have a formal relationship with a gallery, they will likely take a cut of any commissioned work that they bring to you. Terms of commissions will be stated in your contract. Artists who do a lot of commission work have been interviewed to give you.
Artists are commissioned for public art usually in connection with a new building or construction project. Many states have a law that specifies that 1% of the total building cost go to art for the building. Usually state and city art groups have the latest information of what program is currently accepting applications.
There are also private funds for public art like The Public Art Fund and Percent for Art. When artists get a public work commission, they typically get 20% of the total cost of the project as an artist’s fee.
There are many grants for artists. They are very competitive to get, but as one mentor of mine advised me, “Don’t give up until you have applied ten times.” Grants vary in how much money they award. Some grants are privately funded and some are publicly funded. Some are given for a specific project that you propose and some are given outright for the work that you do.
There are many residencies for artist to get “away from the world” and focus on their work. The length of the residency varies and the amount of money granted to the artist varies too. Some residencies actually charge money. But many will cover at least some if not all costs. You must apply for these residencies and have a flexible work schedule to go.
Many times the most valuable asset of a residency is not the money granted, but the professional network an artist forms while there. The network may include other artists, guests, curators, and other influential people in the art word.
Artists generally don’t see a cent from exhibits in a museum. In some cases, however, they do. Installation artists are typically given an artist fee for creating a temporary installation. The fee can be set by you or the museum. Find other ways that museums can help an artist’s career and hear what a curator has to say about the business of museums.
Credit: Art Bistro
So much has happened.
SO much has happened since my last entry.
I’ve been on crazy whirlwind, riding up and down life’s proverbial roller coaster. I love it though. I owe a lot to the masses. Seeing all of your updates. Sally got a new job. Bob got married. There are People moving on up, even some of you to the east side. Seriously though, I owe a lot to the lives people broadcast online. For some reason I tune in. I see all of your success whether it is exaggerated or not. It fuels my gas guzzling fire! Well, I’ve been on the opposite side of the spectrum. John can’t afford rent. John needs a job. John could be a massive failure.
It was a dark place.
Very dark and I owe it to the Internet.
What are we doing? Sometimes I wonder what my life would be without the World Wide Web, constantly updating my every move. Trying to live up to the Facebook standard of living. Don’t get me wrong; I’m the first to admit that I LOVE broadcasting my whereabouts. The Burger joint I claimed to have found. The hike or if you’re going up Runyon, the gradual uphill walk I conquered. You can’t forget the infamous “ I took a picture with a celebrity, and we’re now best friends” Photo.
But, the other day I realized something. I was having just a normal bad day, with a normal headache with a side of normal laziness, when I pulled out my iPhone and started scrolling through my photos. I found a sick picture from a few weeks back, of an awesome time I had with some friends, and of course with a flattering angle (you know high angle make you look skinnier). I filtered the picture, typed in some positive caption and went on to live my normal bad day.
Blah blah blah, “likes your photo.”
So and so, “likes your photo.”
Finally, I realized. No one REALLY knew how I was living my life. No one knew that I lost my apartment, I lost my job, and I lost my dignity.
Once again, I owe that to the Internet.
But, it’s not all a shit storm. It propelled me to actually living the life I project for everyone to see. I hit the pavement. I got on my feet again and found an incredible apartment and I’m now working for a place where I can say my career can finally grow.
I have to say; there is a light that Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites shines. Seriously though, throughout my life I’ve met some interesting people and rather than drifting apart through the distance and the years, Its pretty awesome to know that there’s a place where I can see little glimpses of your daily lives, triumphs, and families.
I appreciate you all.
I owe it to the Internet.
“Her” and our Self-Loathing Society
By John D. Aguon @lttlgnt
If you’re a jackass, please don’t read this. So a couple of nights ago, I took date night with my girlfriend to the cinema and saw Spike Jonze’s “Her”. I can’t help but find the irony, in that I took my girlfriend to see a movie about a man who falls in love with his OS (Operating System). Although the story could sound ridiculous to those anti-technology cynics, it’s hard not to imagine a world that seems not so farfetched. I’m going to admit, that if I had one of those pretentious Oscar votes, this would be my favorite film of the year by far! Also, If you’re not a fan of Joaquin Phoenix, I’m going to predict you’re going to slap the “I don’t like Joaquin Phoenix” version of yourself, the minute you walk out this film. Phoenix plays the hopeless Theodore Twombly, a writer who makes a living creating letters for other people who pay for personalized poetry and not too long after Jonze sets up Twombly to be so heartbroken after a recent divorce, the lonely Twombly buys his future girlfriend in the form of an OS charmingly names herself Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
Now what if it were that easy? What if you were so alone that you needed someone to talk to and voila, $369 (+tax) and a $99 startup fee you have the future Mr or Mrs. You?! Let’s say your OS would be designed to your every need and you were completely happy with it, what would be so wrong with it? It doesn’t have to be romantic, it could be platonic, what would be so wrong? Here’s the deal, an OS so intuitive that it could tell when you’re having a bad day wouldn’t be so bad for you….but for your relationships, something like that would be basically death.
Let’s face it, I think I’m on my phone about twenty percent of the day…okay forty percent. Whether it’s googling the most googled words of 2013 , checking out if Peyton Manning scored enough points in my fantasy football league ( we all know he scores more than enough), or even instagramming some McDonalds. But I’m not alone here, and you know it. Our phones went from being connected to the wall to being connected to our hands in the matter of just fifteen years.
So, the future is coming and It won’t be long until we will be living alternate lives with our OS in whatever area has a good WiFi signal (Shout out to all the shitty starbucks wifi nationwide) It won’t be long for us to be bumping into one another because our heads our fixated facing down to our ultra-bright iPhone screens. Then soon after, life on earth would be a bunch of people walking around with virtual helmets that simulate whatever we want to imagine our world to look, smell, and feel like. The use of physical touch would be so obsolete and intricacies of conversations with another person would be mere fables.
As depressing as this sounds, artificial intelligence is growing rapidly and were seeing the tip of already with Siri. As brilliant as “Her” was, and I mean really brilliant, the film slapped me with a hard look at the reality of our self-loathing society. With technology growing to acclimate to your personal needs, were losing touch of what’s in front of us, the real emotions that make life worth living, not just your pseudo-life we live on Facebook.
With that being said, “Her” is an incredible film! It’s not just a film about a guy falling in love with his computer. It’s about the relationships we have in our lives. The performances are exceptional, with Joaquin Phoenix being my front runner for the best Actor award and Johansson really deserves some recognition, despite not showing her sexy self once on screen. It’s extremely insightful and thought provoking. The visual aspect is amazing, as Jonze uses every aspect of film, from the music (scored by the eccentric Arcade Fire), to the colors, to the editing, and he places you in a futuristic world that seems just so introverted, so easy, so…human.
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