Buy More, And Be Happy

When I walk into Wal-Mart I think of THX-1138.*

People rush back and forth chattering. Kids whine to their parents to get them this new toy. People spend time trying to decide between this product or that, loading their carts high with a bunch of junk that they very likely do not need and will not think about after next week.

Not that I can blame them all that much… this was me a few months ago. Before I found out about minimalism.

I was there the other day and realized that there is nothing in this multi-acre space that I want to buy. Nothing that would make me happier now or six months from now (one of my new criteria for buying anything).

Overall though, society is en route to the world of THX.

In THX-1138’s world things are pretty bland. There is a lot of white going on—white floors, white walls, white ceilings, white clothes (it is actually quite minimalistic).

There’s a shampoo sale on Tuesday, don’t miss it!

But there is one thing that the people know above all else: Spend money.

“Let us be thankful we have commerce,” their government controlled ‘god’ drones on, “Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.”

It is difficult to pick up on when you watch the movie, but as George Lucas explains in the director’s commentary,** they are not really buying anything. Just these plastic widget-things called dendrites that have no purpose and they throw away as soon as they get home, seeing as they are so drugged out of their mind they do not realize what they are doing. The government then puts them back on the shelf so they can be bought again next week.

But hey, spending money makes you feel good so why not? It is actually quite efficient and there is a lot less to clean.

I cleaned out my room and was picky about what I gave away and what I kept. But most importantly I did not do that just so I could fill it back up with more stuff.

So when I see people buying stuff, I can’t help but see its resemblance to the world that THX lives in. The good news is, recognizing the similarities means being able to prevent the former from coming true.

* If you aren’t a complete nerd, THX-1138 is George Lucas’s first film.

** If you are nerdy enough to sit and watch THX-1138, you are nerdy enough to watch it with the commentary.