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February 22, 2016

Consumer Love.

Don Hankins

“The politics of greed is at play when folks seek love. They often want fulfillment immediately. Genuine love rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know genuine love we have to invest time and commitment…Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling…More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands.” ~ Bell Hooks

 

Has the greedy consumerist culture of our capitalist society infiltrated our hearts? Raised in a society where we consume clothes, food, and television in a relatively unconscious manner, I wonder if we have begun to consume people in that same unconscious manner.

Our modern day habits revolve around buying a product, consuming a product and disposing of a product. Have we begun to consume people like we consume products? Online dating and social media—particularly apps like Tinder—have made this an easy possibility for us, giving us the ability to filter through a huge amount of people at the simple swipe of a finger.

With so many individuals at our fingertips, have we come treat people as though they are disposable?

At a point in my life after just getting out of a relationship I found myself guilty of engaging in this behavior pattern. Feeling insecure, my confidence utterly destroyed, I downloaded tinder onto my phone. A steady stream of validation entered my world with every “like” from I received.

I had no intention of dating any of these people but, as Bell Hooks wrote, the attention functioned like a drug, an ego boost, to get me through the pain of a breakup. In reality, I was just avoiding facing the sadness I felt of losing someone very special in my life and by doing so I was not honoring the beautiful relationship we had shared. I acted as though he was disposable and replaceable. Engaging in relationships and facing the pain it can bring up for us can be a transformational experience.

Hooks highlights the capacity for love and relationships to be a forum for us to deepen our understanding of ourselves and grow exponentially.

This is by no means a critique of modern dating styles, online dating in our society can be a great device for us to explore a vast amount of people and hone in on what we are specifically looking for. The question is, do we use this medium to consume vast numbers of people unconsciously or do we use this medium to cultivate deep and meaningful connections? By consuming relationships, engaging with and disposing of people, we miss out on genuine love.

Genuine love is not always an easy journey. Many of us have deep wounds and fears related to love. Yet a focus on personal growth with a commitment to stay with a person through the good and the bad can be truly transformational and can be a part of the deepest kind of love.

We just need to allow it the space to grow, nurturing the connection we are choosing to foster. Our culture craves this kind of deep connection and genuine love, yet we treat people like they are replaceable.

We have become like kids in the candy store—with so many options and flavors to choose from, we want them all!

But eventually whatever flavor is our favorite gets dull and the next time we walk into the candy store, we want to try a new shiny candy! So we toss out the old one and go for a new one.

But people are not candy to be consumed. Human beings are beautiful, intricate souls for us to connect with. Human beings are not replaceable. We may always find another beautiful person to engage with,but we will never find any depth in connection if we are consuming and disposing of people in this way.

To find genuine love, we need to go deep, through the bliss and the beauty as well as the challenging times.

 

“When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love.” ~ Bell Hooks

 

 

 

Author: Alia Mai

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Don Hankins at Flickr 

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Alia Mai