Wednesday, January 10, 2007
why can't enough be enough? my musings on consumerism, wanting, and the iphone
For Christmas I received the one thing that I wanted all year long - a video ipod. I love digital stuff. If it's cooler, quicker, and easier I want it. It's a fun way to be; it's also a little frustrating, given all of the competing technologies that are available. So, now I have a BlackBerry and a video ipod. I wondered, "Why can't these be smushed together into one thing? Well, at least I have two of the coolest things that I've seen." And then...the iphone was unveiled. What is Apple trying to do, give me a heart attack? My mouth began watering, my eyes got rounder, my pupils dilated. My hand reached out to touch the picture of the new iphone on my computer screen. "Must have," my greedy brain chanted, even grunted. Why isn't what I have enough for me? Given that I just received the one thing that I've wanted all year, what is happening in me? I feel as though I've betrayed the goodness of my cute little video ipod. It does everything it's supposed to and more. Why have I turned my emotional back on it?
We live in an upgrade world. It seems that every time I purchase something, I buy it a little too early and an upgrade is announced a month later, or I purchase it too late and something completely new is just around the corner. When I spend 2, 3, 4, or 500 dollars on something, I'd like it to be relevant for just a little while. But even beyond that, why are these little toys so important to someone who claims to desire a simple life, led by the example of Jesus, and filled with the passion of the Holy Spirit?
There seems to be a pretty big disconnect going on. Cable isn't enough, digital cable isn't enough, my ipod isn't enough. I need the DVR, need the laptop, need the MacBook, need the BlackBerry, need the vidio ipod, need the hybrid car, need the scooter for short trips, need snowshoes for two trips a year, need, need, need. But these aren't needs. These are wants. And mostly, they are greedy little wants. They remind me that I have a constant struggle inside my heart that pulls me into the consumerism of the hyper-abundance of America and the simplicity of the message of the gospel.
The iphone is now the icon of my meditations. I'm not yet sure whether it symbolizes heaven or hell. It seems to do everything wonderfully. That should be heavenly, right? But it seems to symbolize all that tempts me. Well, that indicates someplace else.
For those who can withstand temptation, see the whole thing at www.apple.com.
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