Attachment to things drops away when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. -Eckhart Tolle-
In season four of Madmen, there is an episode where we see Don Draper interact with Faye Miller, an attractive psychologist who is working on a project for his ad agency. Discussing human nature, they both agree that behavior is often played out in the zone between what we want and what is expected of us. We can grasp the significance of the moment and that this inner battle is felt deeply by Don, a man of great desires.
Ad agencies and the media pull the strings of our desires, creating the illusion that we need the products that they’re pushing. They’re also aware of one of our greatest needs, that of belonging. A lot of the ads that we see make us feel that we will be worthy and admired in the eyes of others if we can afford their brands. Playing to our insecurities, our egos.
This frame of mind belongs back in the 60s, the era Madmen portrays. Today, with the climate and biodiversity crises, we can no longer give in to our personal desires in the way that industry would like us to. I get aggravated at the way branding is used, trying to make us believe that we will have better lives if we buy into their product, their way of life. It’s so superficial and so materialistic. But it works, making us prey to cravings.
And like Don Draper, I feel conflicted. On the one hand, I am critical of our consumer lifestyle which harms the Earth and imperils humanity’s future. On the other, I often give in to my cravings. For things that I don’t need but that I absolutely must have. (See more here) We are confronted with the “needs” of our little worlds as opposed to the needs of the larger world out there. Do we keep on consuming like there’s no tomorrow until there’s no tomorrow?