BY SOFO ARCHON
“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” ~Will Rogers
Advertising is messing up your life, but are you even aware of it?
Most people aren’t.
You see, since the day we were born, advertisements have been constantly bombarding us with their messages, so much so that we have accepted them as a normal part of reality.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that there’s nothing wrong with them, so we never stop to consider how they’re influencing us. Yet, as you’re going to read in this article, the harmful impact of advertising on our happiness well-being is tremendous, and we’d better not overlook it.
So, what exactly are the main negative effects of advertising on society?
Let’s find out…
Advertising makes us feel that we’re not good enough as we are.
We live in a tremendously competitive economic system, where people have to make money in order to pay the bills and survive, and often they resort to manipulative techniques to achieve that — which can be clearly seen in the advertising industry.
To sell you stuff, advertisements first make you feel like shit. How? By showing you what the ideal life is supposed to be, and then having you compare your ordinary life to it. They have you believe that you’re not beautiful, intelligent, confident, successful and so on, until they convince you that you fully suck.
Once they’ve made you feel emotionally insecure, they can easily manipulate you. Which brings us to the second point…
Advertising makes us associate happiness with consumerism.
After they’ve ruined our self-esteem, advertisements are trying to fool us into thinking that only products and services can make us feel good. In other words, advertisements create a problem and then offer us the solution to it. What is it? You guessed right: Shopping!
Once they make you feel ugly, they sell you beauty products to improve upon your ugliness. Once they make you believe that you’re not important, they sell you expensive clothes to attract the attention of others on you. And so on and so forth.
In short, advertisements promise you happiness, provided that you spend money in return. The result? Consuming stuff you don’t even need and contributing to the destruction of our planet (due to pollution and resource over extraction) because of that.
Advertising makes us think that everything we need is for sale.
Another serious ill effect of advertising is that it feeds us with the wrong impression that everything we need can be bought, and hence that money should be our measure of success and prime goal in life.
Without shopping, advertisements tell you that you can’t live a successful or decent life. Thus, advertisements are fueling your desire to work like a slave, just so you can spend your hard-earned money on things that will ultimately leave you dissatisfied.
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As you can see, the negative effects of advertising on society are enormous. The question is: What can we do about it?
Firstly, we need to realize that possessing more stuff than we need won’t make us happier. That’s because, although material things are necessary for satisfying our basic physical needs, they can’t satisfy our emotional thirst for what we actually long for: connection, friendship, love, play and creativity.
Secondly, we need to change our economic system from its very foundations so that it doesn’t depend on cyclical consumption and endless growth (in this system, consumption is required in order to keep money flowing in the market, and hence to keep people employed).
Then, and only then, will we be able to live in alignment with the natural world, as well as stop foolishly running after things that leave us sad and empty, and instead pursue what truly helps to bring us joy and fulfillment.
“Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” ~Stephen Leacock