» Tagged as: advertising
As long ago as 1719, Daniel Defoe reminded us through Robinson Crusoe, that people should compare their condition with those that are worse. Nanda Malini in her song about crying for sandals till she saw a person without feet, tells us about it, but unfortunately, the advertising industry makes us blind to the world of the less privileged and less fortunate.
Historian Romila Thapar once suggested that “a fundamental sanity in Indian Civilization has been due to an absence of Satan.” (Romila Thappar, Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, OUP, 2000).
But that was in Early India, when only Mara was present. Satan and Lucifer and the Devil arrived much later. Then all of them found a very convenient and very efficient platform in the mass media. Advertising was first infiltrated and then taken over by Satan and Mara in partnership.
Through the Advertising industry they were next able to take over most of the entertainment world and sports and business as well. Satan and Mara could now work on man's inherent greed and envy. It happened in other fields of man's development and discovery too.
Probably this demonization began with the discovery of fire, when man first used it to prepare his food. Then evil forces took over, teaching man how to use it to destroy his surroundings, property and even libraries. Man developed the wheel, which enabled him to build a car and a train. Then Satan showed him how to build a battle tank and an armored car. Man discovered the means of splitting the atom, and Mara showed him how to build the nuclear bomb.
It was Thorstein Veblen, who used the term 'Conspicuous Consumption', to describe the behavior of the nouveau riche in 1899. 200 years later the situation is getting worse, with the high technological advances made by the advertising industry, which encourage not only the middle and the upper classes, but even the low-income families, to flout their wealth more and more, to spend more money than what they could earn.
Advertising also uses 'Informercials', with embedded advertising, supposedly to provide us information, to provide education. They have invaded the domain of the writer with embedded advertising in novels and songs. Business pages carry 'Advertorials', promoting one product or another. Advertising and marketing is a gross abuse of 'Freedom of Expression', and perhaps in most instances a violation of basic human rights.
A Buddhist who recites the Five precepts every day would find it difficult to keep the Second and the Fourth Precepts, if he is in the Advertising business. They have to grab what does not belong to them, they have to grab it for their employers and their clients. They have to use half truths, untruths and total fabrications to sell their products and to attract attention. They sell unwanted, unnecessary and sometimes harmful food supplements claiming miraculous benefits. They sell drugs which cause more harm than good. They use doctors and teachers for indirect marketing stunts.
Our greatest and most dangerous enemy is the free economy which encourages uncontrolled advertising and sales promotion. The devil is all around us, tempting us to eat not only the apple, but to cut down the tree to pluck the apples. All the advertisements around us, brainwashing us and our children, tell us to consume more and more, and most of what they want us to consume are unnecessary and often harmful. They are all harmful to our ecosystem and cause depletion of our resources as never before. We are made to believe that the more money we spend, the happier we could be. Instead of eating a home-cooked fresh cereal, we are told to eat a pre-cooked processed cereal, and we do not pause for a moment to consider the harm we are doing to our environment during the processing of this meal. All the pre-cooked, or processed food also mean more and more packaging, almost all of which would be non-biodegradable. While exhausting our natural resources, we are also adding more and more waste products to pollute our atmosphere, our fresh water and our land. Do we want to breath today so our children can suffocate tomorrow? Do we want to eat today so our children could die of starvation tomorrow?
The excessive consumption even extends to religious activities. We are made to believe that more flowers we offer, the more oil we burn, more gold we gift, we earn that much more merit. Going by this belief, only the rich and the richer can receive more merit. So the poor will always remain poor and will never earn enough merit to even look forward to a better life after death. If we really have to offer flowers at the temple or the kovil, would one flower not be enough? Why do we have to offer several, or sometimes one million flowers?
If the WWF prediction is correct, and unless we take some measures to control our consumption, then 50% of the world population would have to migrate to another planet, unless there is a world war or epidemic that would wipe out mankind. We overeat, because we are compelled to eat all the advertised food. Then we complain of 'life-style' diseases, and let more advertisements lure us to consume more products to bring down our cholesterol and sugar. We overuse electricity by purchasing all the latest electrical equipment at home and office, and then we complain of power shortages. Then we generate more power by burning more fossil fuels, contributing to pollution and global warming.
We add more poisons and carcinogenic chemicals to the food we grow because we are informed, that all these chemicals will result in higher yields, higher profits, but we are not informed of the environmental cost and the health cost. Or we ignore the risks because of our greed.
It is advertising which has corrupted and ruined all sports activities, tempting sportspersons to seek forbidden substances to enhance performance, and for gamblers to tempt them with filthy lucre. It is advertising and unethical marketing which lead to worsening violence and crime.
Satan or Mara had appeared in many guises over the ages, to keep on tempting mankind. They had done everything possible to mankind to keep them enslaved by greed and envy. Towards the end of mankind, during the 20th and 21st centuries, Satan or Mara had been behind all the advertising of unwanted and harmful products, feeding man's greed, creating envy against those who possessed or could possess all these products advertised in the electronic and print media. Man had been guided to create the electronic media, including social networking sites, to make it easier for evil to convey their messages to mankind, to tempt him to do more evil.
The way we are heading now, the end of the world will not be from a nuclear bomb in the hands of a global terrorist, but in the hands of all of us, we are all eco-terrorists, trying very hard to destroy everything around us. The enemy is within us, and it is our responsibility to neutralize the enemy and save our earth.