Are We Destined To Pay The High Price Of Materialism Until We Die, Or Is There Another Way?

The Grip Of Materialism

  • Every day Americans are bombarded with hundreds of messages suggesting that ‘the good life’ is attainable through ‘the goods life,’ by making lots of money and spending it on products that claim to make us happy, loved and esteemed.
  • On the news shows we hear a near constant refrain from economists and politicians about the importance of consumer spending and economic growth.
  • Around 150 billion dollars are spent most years to embed consumer messages in every conceivable space.
  • Commercialization and consumerism also reach deeper, warming their way into people’s psyches and encouraging them to organize their lives around higher salaries and owning more stuff.”

The Problem Of Materialism

  • Research consistently shows that the more that people value materialistic aspirations and goals, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction, and the fewer pleasant emotions they experience day to day.
  • Depression, anxiety and substance abuse also tend to be higher among the people who value the aims encouraged by consumer society.”

The Stronger The Grip Of Materialism, The Lower The Care For Others And Nature

  • Scientists have found that materialistic values and pro-social values are like a see-saw; as materialistic values go up, pro-social values tend to go down. This helps explain why people act in less empathic, generous and cooperative ways when money is on their minds.
  • When people are under the sway of materialism, they also focus less on caring for the earth. The same type of see-saw is at work here: as materialistic values go up, concern for nature tends to go down. Studies show that when people endorse money, image and status, they’re less likely to engage in ecologically beneficial activities like riding bikes, recycling, and re-using things in new ways.”

The Hope For Happiness = A Shift From Materialistic Values To Intrinsic Values

  • If we hope to have a happier, most socially just, and more sustainable world, then we need to develop ways to diminish materialistic values in our personal lives and in society … and promote intrinsic values for growing as a person, being close to one’s family and friends and improving the broader world.
  • The grip and consumerism and commercialism have on our world can seem inescapable, and there are certainly powerful forces that push materialistic values on us, but by making changes in our personal lives and by working for broader societal changes, we can break the hold of materialism and be freer to live our intrinsic values. That, in turn, would help us to take important steps to our greater personal well-being, a more humane society, and a more sustainable world.”

What Are Intrinsic Values To You?

In other words, what do you consider as being the most important values for you and for society?

Also, if you were given the task to plan how society as a whole would come to treat intrinsic values with more importance than materialistic values, what would you include in that plan?

Quotes in this post were taken from the above video “The High Price of Materialism” by the Center for a New American Dream, which are the words of psychologist Tim Kasser.


  1. Intinsec values consist in the fact that we are all interconnected, constantly influencing each other. We are all cells of a single body called humanity.
    The fact that our inteconnection is egoistic leads us to the crisis in every sector of life.
    I think that the most important is to change our values. The society must promote values as bestowal, love and carring for the others instead of competition and egoistic comsumption, which already leaded us to a colaps in every sector of life.
    We need to build new tipe of connections between us, connections based on love and carring for each other and than, we will have everything that we need for a good life. If we will try to change our values and unite all together for the sake of everybody’s good, we will find solutions for all our problems.

  2. What I find most alarming, is that humanity at large is so utterly complacent in regards to the absence of any substantive progress towards social/economic justice on earth, although we’ve had literally thousands of years to ‘get our act together’. In fact, quite the contrary, we’ve actually experienced anti progress, and devolution on this most critical front. Why cannot we evolve? Why can’t we simply attain the same rights as every other creature on the face of the earth? We humans are the only creatures born into slavery. Every other creature simply takes what they want, take what they need, and nobody calls it stealing; if we try that, we’ll end up in jail. Why is it that not another creature has any use for this stuff we call ‘money’, but we’re all addicted to the crap? Is it really beyond our ability to imagine, then gradually manifest a world where everything we want & need is free? Where no person has an advantage over another? There are two ways to achieve total liberty: #1 Let it be understood that individually, we have a God given birthright to share in the inherent wealth of planet earth. As such, we are all born extremely wealthy. So, we could all walk around with pockets full of gold & silver playing some weird game, or #2 We could simply live completely free, whereby all our wants & needs are met freely. Equal rights, equal authority, no coercion, no violence. It is a God given desire to care about one another, to serve one other, and to be appreciated by one another.. The fact is that humanity can successfully learn to live together in peace, and harmony without compromise. Remember “The Kingdom of Heaven is within us”–Within our hearts & minds. Let us simply cultivate that perfect place with relentless determination.

  3. Everything around us is based on superficialities, I feel that we’ve lost base with true connection with one another, even inside our families. I see it happening with my kids and their friends, all their contact with one another is based on external material things. We are living in such confusing times raising ourselves and families in a society which values external beauty. wealth, competition,etc. I’m not blaming anyone for what is happening, and I apologize if I sound a bit harsh, I kind of feel like we have been brain washed in this system, look at whats on tv and in the news and all the advertising and what we are exposed to in the internet, this stuff influences the way we think and feel. These could be great tools if we learn how to use them correctly for the betterment of society as a whole!

  4. I value cooperation and the fact that everything in this world that Nature provides is freely provided without discrimination, to every living entity on this planet. Because of this, I understand that whether I like it or not, I have responsibilities first and foremost, meaning that I personally have no actual natural” right ” to ownership because if I’m an owner, then I believe myself to have more inherent importance over other living beings. I can see that this simply is not the case because as it is said, “The rains fall on the just and the unjust”. I value all the collective efforts of those who have gone before me because without my predecessors I would not be at this same point of development. Mankind doesn’t develop without connections to his fellows, that is also plainly obvious and natural. We all have individual qualities and these help us to uniquely meet the needs of a wide variety of persons. I may embody a set of “keys” that will only engage with certain other “locks” as it were, so it’s my job to be available and aware, not my job to be closed inside my own psycho-spiritual fortress. We are the family of man trapping ourselves inside our delusion of exclusive individuality. It’s time to move towards each other and experience a new kind of fulfillment.

  5. Not only is this message timely it really gets you to start thinking about the way we live our lives. The link at the end of the video gives you ideas and steps to get them going in you area.

    Instead of my sitting here watching the Sunday news, waiting for football to start the message has got me to pack a picnic lunch and take my grand kids out to the park. At least it is a start. How can I leave this world to my children and grandchildren the way it is today. Our value system of self love and instant gratification has only brought our world to this current crisis. Even if we make it out of it and we don’t change our Global Society to a new view of doing whats good for all and not just our self we will just end up in another, much worse crisis.

  6. We need to understand that if we really do not change our approach to the world, people and nature, it will lead us to the self-destruction, just because we cannot be bothered to learn how our natural inclinations work and lead us and manipulates us and that we, being somehow intellectual creatures with all these technologies around us, are still lost somewhere in a primitive state where we do not know how to deal with our own nature and get along with people and nature.

  7. This world can not go on with this rate of consumption and growth – we are driving it to the ground and ourself with it.
    Materialistic acquisitions is not giving us happiness but the contrary – greed, insensitivity, depression and aggression.
    We must change our way before is to late!!

  8. No, we can’t go on liviving like that! This way is leading us to greed, unhappiness and sending the whole planet and it’s inhabitant to a destructive direction very fast!!
    We can do it defrently and we better start quiqly!

  9. At the heart of intrinsic values is the recognition that we are not isolated creatures, we are individuals who are part of a greater whole. Elevating intrinsic values such as honesty, trust, compassion and responsibility above materialistic values through dialogue and education is central to building and sustaining a healthy society in which all the members of society thrive. When our values are integral in nature so will our actions be.

  10. Depending on what society a person belongs to, values differ. For instance, in the U.S. the pursuits of the individual are championed and in China, historically, collectivism, fitting into the group, has been what is valued.

    The most important values that I hold and I think many others hold, concern safety. A person wants to feel that they, as a result of being included in a society, will have the rights to goods and services that others have, will have their individual rights protected, and that I and others will be punished if I/we try to harm others within society.

    Of course safety has little to do with curbing reckless spending, with developing sustainability, etc. In order for intrinsic values to be cherished above materialistic values, society I think has to come to value new ideals.

    The idea of mutual responsibility seems like some fundamental piece of software that, if implemented on a particular scale, could serve towards the creation of pro-social values, not founded simply on, “Curbing spending,” or, “Creating a better life for myself and my family”–although these should naturally be striven for–but also founded on mutual respect and care for one another.

    If a plan for implementation of mutual responsibility were to be designed by me, I think it would have to try to teach an integral outlook for individuals in society. It should show scientifically how society is interconnected and interdependent and how things could be much better if we treated each other with mutual care and respect.

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