Supermarket Society


I was talking to a friend today. Her words made me think of a surprising metaphor. She mentioned struggling with the pressure between living in a relaxed manner (doing seemingly non-productive activities like going for walks and meeting with friends) and pursuing the many things in life that she wants to achieve. This is what came to my mind…

We all want stuff, but a question arises: do we really want it, or is it about societal “values” or parental desires? The gap between what society is and what it could be makes me feel like we live in a supermarket:

  1. it offers too much choice and we end up buying more than we need (“Blueberries in the winter? No problem!” | “Single mom and employee of the month? Why not?")
  2. some choices are framed as “superior” to others (“Fame and fortune always trump working with your hands in the dirt.")
  3. many of the choices are so devoid of real value that they leave you in a worse state than you were in before you “bought” them. (Get married young, have kids early.” | “Place many of your unfulfilled needs upon their shoulders.")

We often walk through the societal supermarket due to its convenience. It’s the biggest, most comfortable, and closest to shop at. Will the food be of high quality and good for you? You might be allergic to gluten (9 - 5 job). Could you find something that’s better if you go to the local farmer (away from the comfort zone)? Might even get the same amount of nutrients from half the amount of food (spiritual practice versus societal achievements). Should you give up convenience for the benefit of a more meaningful personal happiness? If not, there is a risk of becoming a non-person:


- I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain… that it is juicy, and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?

Ignorance is bliss.

- Then we have a deal?

- I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I wanna be rich… you know, someone important. Like an actor.