Tyler Durden Says...Cut the Materialism
Tyler Durden says… “You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f**king khakis.” And he’s right. I watched Fight Club this weekend, and Brad Pitt’s character, with his harsh assessment of those who live their lives through the things they own, really opened my eyes to how much materialism bothers me. I live in a generation of pretty boys and glamour girls, all obsessed with the latest shoe, shirt, skirt or sweater. Young people walk around with these little abbreviations emblazoned across chests, butts, watches and wallets. I really could not care less if your purse is the latest $600 Louis Vuitton straight off the arm of some Parisian model – it’s probably a cheap knock-off anyway. You can’t eat it; you can’t sleep in it; it can’t shelter you from the rain. You’re lucky if you get your $40 Juicy Couture lip gloss to fit in it.
TNA. LV. YSL. AX. DKNY. CK. Why are we so obsessed about having someone else’s initials all over our possessions? It’s really a mystery. Is it as Mr. Durden says? Does “advertising [have] us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy sh*t we don't need”? So much value is placed on material things that are way over-priced and no more functional than their generic brand counterparts. A T-shirt from Hanes and one from Tommy Hilfiger are practically the same, except for the significant price difference.
We’ve replaced function with fashion. We’ve turned into human billboards, walking advertisements. And the best part: we’re not getting paid for any of our marketing work; we’re paying them. Isn’t that just brilliant? While you’re so proud of your Chanel sunglasses, your Jordan this and your G-shock that, the makers are counting your (well-wasted) cash.
So what, my jacket isn’t Canada Goose, my boots aren’t Uggs, my jeans aren’t Lucky and my makeup isn’t MAC? I fail to see how this makes me inferior to anyone whose clothing is high end. If I’m warm, dry comfortable and still stylish, and I have an extra couple hundred dollars in my cheap wallet, I’m not sure how I’m on the losing end of the bargain.
Look at it this way: If I were to take stock of my life, my character, my achievements and the life lessons I’ve learned along the way, would I be able to put a dollar value on it all? Who you are as a person is priceless. It’s not measured in dollars and cents, but in growth, wisdom and character. It’s measured in the impression you leave on others, what you’ve accomplished, what you stand for, and what you speak out against. If you allow yourself to be defined by the brands you wear, if you reduce yourself to a hanger for designer gear and products, I’d say you’ve lost sight of your humanity.
If you lost everything today, if your house went up in flames, would you still measure your worth by what you own? Because if that’s the case, who you are is a matchstick away from being a pile of rubble. You’re just inches from being nothing and no one because tomorrow it could all go. I’m not saying you shouldn’t appreciate the finer things in life. By all means, if you can afford it, you have every right to buy it. But it shouldn’t determine how you see yourself or the judgments you pass on others. Materials come and go. Brand names gain and lose popularity in the blink of an eye. Don’t let your self-value be defined by something so temporary. Don’t sell yourself short to buy the latest trend. You won’t be getting your money’s worth. Don’t let “the things you own end up owning you.” Smart one, that Tyler Durden.