Images Of Wealth and Desire: Have We Gone Too Far?

There are so many decadent images of fast luxury cars and ridiculously unattainable real estate properties, on our media screens, that it’s no wonder depression is on the increase. Capitalism is so aspirational that the carrots being dangled in front of our faces are bigger and sleeker than ever before. Photoshopped this and that makes everything more amazing, and let’s face it, intrinsically unreal. Beautiful women with perfect bodies adorned with designer jewellery and clothing grace our TV and computer screens. Even, the actors and models in bank ads paint this imaginary world, where home ownership is actually possible.

The economics of capitalism means that it is all about selling more and more stuff to keep the wheels of prosperity turning. In the wealthy decadent west we aspire to designer European cars, McMansions in the suburbs, gourmet kitchens, and bathrooms out of some five star hotel suite. Little boys and girls now grow up wanting these things; and they judge all those who do not possess them as societal failures. Materialism has run rampant looking for its soul; it is hoping to find it in ever more luxurious manifestations, but is ultimately doomed never to succeed.

If any of us, actually, reached the top of the mountain and that plateau where we felt we had enough, capitalism would creak to a noisy halt. Images of wealth and desire: have we gone too far? No, the whole process depends on never reaching nirvana, no matter how many pairs of designer shoes you own. Consumer porn tantalises you with images of beautiful people sitting on beautiful couches and chairs. These same elegant folks are living in wondrous houses and apartments. They are driving the latest model European car.

Have you noticed that there are fewer images on TV of African children with distended stomachs, caused by starvation? There are decidedly fewer images of ugly people on our media screens. I do not know if this is a result of the wonders of dentistry and teeth whitening procedures or, merely, an executive decision. Can you find meaning in beauty? In possessing beautiful things? If we surround ourselves with luxuriously gorgeous stuff, and ban all images of less fortunate folk from our viewing screens, will we live fulfilling lives?