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Fear Kills the Property Addict

Goering quoteMultiple forms of fear fuel the behavior of an alcoholic. The alcoholic is driven by fear-fueled self-centeredness. Once needed protective measures in the human psyche go out of control. Such a self-centered and rigidly self-protective mind becomes overly stressed and anxious. That’s when the mental obsession to drink ferociously kicks in.

Alcoholism makes a mess out of lives. The mental illness coupled with an inability to stop drinking once you start drives some alcoholics to death, others to jail, some in divorce court, others in multiple rehabs.

Why do we allow our society to be driven by fear as well? This unquenchable fear has made us fight against each other. Fear has sent hundreds of thousands of troops into the bees nests of inter-Islamic warfare. Fear has manifested itself in a division of factions of patriots who want to fight with guns and “unamerican” people who want peace through diplomacy.

In Orwell’s 1984 what was it that kept the society running like a machine where the wealthy upper class greased it with the sweat of the workers? It was fear. Hate-driven fear of imagined enemies kept the society under the feet of the ruling classes who remained invisible to the masses. The working people lived in deplorable tenements and ate rationed out slop. They were kept from independent thought and expression. Everything was in service to an imagined benevolent dictator called “Big Brother” who watched over them like a virtual father. Love and fear colluded in a state of constant surveillance.

In the US we have a Patriot Act that allows the government untold powers too investigate its citizens if it only thinks there is foul play. Wire-tapping and spying along with proposals for national ID cards are more common. Education and public service jobs are being cut with the expectation they will be sold off to private companies some day. We have no guaranteed healthcare while those costs keep rising. Now the middle class is getting squeezed out by a growing gap between upper and lower class economic groups. We have an invisible enemy called “terror.” Our food comes from invisible sources. Government is in cahoots with massive corporate entities who have taken the democratic process from us.

This is an economy that runs on debt and fear. Debt forces a college graduate to work as soon as he or she graduates to start creating revenue for companies right away. But this coercive strategy begins in college. As soon as mom and dad say goodbye the credit card offers start coming in with bank representatives on campus. The message: Start consuming.

We are addicted to property. We want nothing to keep us from having what we want when we want it and for us to keep it indefinitely. We don’t care about debt and will go to war to protect our stuff or “interests” as government tells us. When we think we’ve had enough we just want more: another movie, another car, another donut, another computer, another pair of shoes. When we aren’t feeding our sick consumption habits we are obsessed with the prospect of getting more stuff to make life more manageable. Up to 10,000 media messages a day reinforce and sustain that obsession.

There we have it: a fear of our stuff being taken from us by an imagined enemy. An inability to stop buying and consuming more stuff. And a constant mental obsession fed by coercive media to have more stuff.

If that’s not a cycle of addiction I don’t know what is. The worst offenders with addiction are dishonesty with oneself and resentments towards others. If we want to fix our economy and nation we have to start by treating our addiction to stuff. The first step is to hit bottom in order to crack the mask of denial. How much deeper do we need to go for that to happen and wake us up to what we really are?

About Andrew Tatusko

Secularization, critical pedagogy, sometimes agnostic, politics, and a ton of running. Penn State is definitely not responsible for what I say.


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