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Showing posts from February, 2016

Words get in the way

Sometimes we have to say the opposite of what we mean to convey our intentions more gently. David Graeber:"The English “please” is short for “if you please,” “if it pleases you to do this” – it is the same in most European languages (French si il vous plait, Spanish por favor). Its literal meaning is “you are under no obligation to do this.” “Hand me the salt. Not that I am saying that you have to!” This is not true; there is a social obligation, and it would be almost impossible not to comply. But etiquette largely consists of the exchange of polite fictions (to use less polite language, lies). When you ask someone to pass the salt, you are also giving them an order; by attaching the word “please,” you are saying that it is not an order. But, in fact, it is."When we are forbidden by others from saying what we want to say, the seized opportunity to speak our truth becomes precious. Anne Michaels:"On the way home we passed walls scrawled with a huge V – Vinceremo, we sha…

Quotes on therapeutic consumerism

Hannah Arendt:"It is also true that there is a certain element of violence in the imaginative exaggerations of publicity men, that behind the assertion that girls who do not use this particular brand of soap may go through life with pimples and without a husband, lies the wild dream of monopoly, the dream that one day the manufacturer of the 'only soap that prevents pimples' may have the power to deprive of husbands all girls who don't use his soap.
"Erich Fromm:"This situation is still more emphasized by the methods of modern advertising. The sales talk of the old-fashioned businessman was essentially rational. He knew his merchandise, he knew the needs of the customer, and on the basis of this knowledge he tried to sell. To be sure, his sales talk was not entirely objective and he used persuasion as much as he could; yet, in order to be efficient, it had to be a rather rational and sensible kind of talk. A vast sector of modern advertising is different; it…

Quotes on our relationships with money and our relationships with people

Andrew Potter:“Cars are an almost perfect metaphor for the pervasive atomism that denies the very existence of the webs of interdependence that make civil society possible.”Henry D. Thoreau:"It is a grand fact that you cannot make the fairer fruits or parts of fruits matter of commerce, that is, you cannot buy the highest use and enjoyment of them. You cannot buy that pleasure which it yields to him who truly plucks it. You cannot buy a good appetite even. In short, you may buy a servant or slave, but you cannot buy a friend."David Callahan:"The great promise of consumer culture – promoted around the clock by $150 billion a year in advertising – is that we need never be discomforted or inconvenienced; that we need never put any him or burning desire on the back burner, or accept anything less than an optimal experience; that we always have more choices, new choices, better choices.Whatever else you may say about consumerism, whether you’re pro-mall or anti-mall, one thi…

Quotes on seeking happiness through consumer power

Arthur Miller:"Years ago a person, he was unhappy, didn't know what to do with himself, he'd go to church, start a revolution – something. Today you're unhappy? Can't figure it out? What is the salvation? Go shopping."Isak Dinesen:"Nowadays when people do not allow themselves to be burned or expelled from society for the sake of Paradise, it is not because our more refined nerves cause us to fear the stake or poverty or expulsion more than our forebears did, nor because we are in doubt that our sufferings will gain us entrance to Paradise – for in any case such a belief could easily spring up at any time at all – but because the Paradise that is promised us in connection with these sufferings does not appeal to us. We have no desire for it and would have no wish to go there even if access to it were free.On the other hand, when people began to believe fervently that bliss was to be found in motorcars, a good cellar, and so on, then the majority were…