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Yeah, that sorta sums up my thoughts about it too, except for the fact that I think certain types of materialism are fine, i.e., survival sorts (like food, water, shelter, etc).inb4buddhism
Materialism stems back to humanity's earliest roots. It's a product of our survival instincts. Eventually man moved beyond this fight for survival in that sense, and the instinct is kind of out of place so to speak. We think we need things, but what we think we need to survive and thrive is twisted.
There's also the materialism that stems from depression, which is like what I said before, but with a greater urgency and even more twisted.
I honestly try to live as removed from materialism as I can or at least practice moderation...and I'm poor.
Well, "owning" an item really means you can defend it, or you have some sort of factor that prevents others from taking it. In an extremely basic world, violence is going to be the only way to defend your "possession". Is it really self-defining it when you can defend the possession? Something that hurts someone else is very defining to others, I think. Although the rest of the things you said are very true, I just think that saying that the only thing you really need to do is stand there and label it "mine" is a little short. You have to back up the claim with a way to defend it.There are also interesting considerations on how materialism has changed our mindsets in dealing with the world.
It was suggested to me some time ago that a fundamental understanding of how we interact with outside objects in the world changes with the onset of materialism--that is, the ability to "possess" objects; possession, which is rather vaguely defined but in some instances can be reduced to "I am standing on this plot of land with my gun, so you'd better go find another plot of land to stand on." To possess an object is to label something not apparently attached to me as "mine"--and that is the full extent of the interaction. To possess an object, I do not need to have made it, I do not need to understand it, and I do not even need to use it. It is an entirely self-satisfying connection, and it is nine-tenths of the law. Somehow, it gives me power over the object possessed.
But try to imagine a world in which possession, for most people and most things, does not exist as a plausible form of interaction with objects--a world in which you are not in a position to say "this is mine" and back it up with a gun, or perhaps materials are simply too scarce for individual ownership. To interact with objects in this world it is necessary to establish those connections discarded by (or at least secondary to) possession--"I made this," "I know this," or "I use this;" more tangible connections, and perhaps more useful to existing in a world rather than simply owning it.
Make no mistake though, these interactions are also power interactions to their own extents--perhaps knowledge most of all has been used as such. In older Chinese tradition, to know the name and character of an object was to hold a certain power over it, and this is not the only instance of the "name-knowing" game--Odysseus played a similar one with the Cyclops. Possession, though, seems to hold a premium position, perhaps in part because of its ambiguity--what did the god of Genesis actually do in giving the beasts and plants of the world to Adam and Eve?
This is not a revolutionary idea for a utopia--such a world, where possession is not the dominant form of interaction (by necessity or otherwise) has and likely continues to exist, and it is not necessarily better. It is useful, however, in taking into consideration that materialism has wider-reaching effects than the oft-attacked vices of consumerism--it can really shape how we interact with 'our' world.