This is the third post on the topic: Isms, Addictions & Culture…
Commercialism, like capitalism, puts profit and acquisition as the highest good. Profit can be defined in terms of wealth, ownership, and power to influence your environment. The obsession here is to define oneself through the acquisition of stuff. There are people who will never be Wall Street overlords or have plush bank accounts, but they spend an inordinate amount of their creative energy thinking and maneuvering to “get stuff” – cars, houses, furniture, jewelry, clothes, toys, gadgets. By their obsessions, “commercial-orientated” people are forced to ignore the reality of the poor in need of basics like food and clean water. Who feels comfortable indulging particular tastes when others are in need of basic calories? Commercialism is another form of slavery where the ownership of goods becomes the main purpose of life – as if goods are the source of happiness. Since most goods are made by people – it is a hidden form of humanism. We can make ourselves happiest seeking our own personal interests first. Ultimately the lived creed is: “Acquiring stuff makes me happy (at least temporarily) and my happiness is everything.”
Once again to quote from Dietrich Von Hildebrand in the book My Battle Against Hitler (translated and edited by John Crosby p. 312) “…relegating…modern life to the periphery of existence – modern life, with its haste and its hurry, its inner impatience which no longer leaves any time for an event to develop from within… all this has devalued the person…”
Once we have devalued ourselves with our obsession with stuff – who then will value us?