Street Smart Chicago

Common Sense: Eat This

City Life, Essays & Commentary, Green, Technology Add comments

Modern consumerism has given us a new religion and technology has become its prophet/profit. It has made the world smaller, has made food faster, has engorged our drive to buy and enhanced the sexiness of spending power and the frenzy for fame.

What we eat is engineered instead of grown, to be more attractive and resilient to harsh climates and leeched soil, not for optimum nutrition. Day by day more of our food is created in sterile and clinical environments far removed from the earth and the actual purpose of food: sustenance. It is produced, packaged, advertised in bright colors with flashy editing and we buy it and swallow it.

The cars we drive are an affront to our global health and the oil used to make them move is taken with complete disregard for those literally crushed under the wheels of industry. It simply costs too much to be concerned. And with the status symbol of the hulking American SUV who cares about oil pulled from soil an ocean away?

The culture we ingest through digital and news medias, ultra-realistic virtual entertainments, Sidekicks and cell phones makes us feel like we’re more connected and empowered than ever, though our voting power and civic duty manifests itself in support of pseudo-celebrities and “reality” TV, and the friend-networks and favorites we email and text twenty-four hours a day flourish in expletives and indignation, gossip and insult influential enough to change the psychological landscapes and the lives of those plugged in.

We plug in. We escape. We look at the ground. We eat. We lose ourselves to technology and consumerism, to the popular fad of the day and it’s easier while plugged in to not pay attention to where we are and where we’re going. It’s easier for our hearts and minds to drift away in distraction while our bodies and impulses continue to satisfy themselves with constant feeding.

We are still what we eat. We are also what we buy, what we read and listen to, what we consume. And consuming is how we define ourselves. And it might be time to consider new definitions. (Damien James)

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