How the Search for Meaning Impacts Consumption

How the Seek for Which means Impacts Consumption


Some issues, even within the face of unimaginable and horrific occasions, don’t die out.

Folks’s seek for that means in life is one in all them. Human beings internationally, no matter age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, search a life that’s full of goal, connection, and significance.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed this quest to the fore as folks grappled with social isolation, misplaced family members, and the disruption of life as they knew it.

Whereas there have been many coping methods, one in all them—shopping for stuff—isn’t a surprise for the motion however for the explanation. Whereas it’s usually dubbed Retail Remedy, folks purchase stuff to cheer themselves up and regain management over their lives, folks’s purchases throughout the pandemic could have been motivated by one thing deeper, comparable to the hunt for that means.

When folks couldn’t go to their family and friends, once they couldn’t work, or once they couldn’t journey the world, additionally they misplaced some that means of their lives. Folks could have purchased dwelling gyms, provides for self-improvement, and supplies for dwelling enchancment to infuse their lives with some that means.

Some readers could bristle at this suggestion. Certainly, in a current paper, my co-author Lawrence Williams and I argue that folks consider that that means and consumption don’t combine—you possibly can’t purchase that means. In day by day life, many sources of that means are free, comparable to time spent with family members or time spent praying.

However such beliefs could stop folks from having the possibility to reside their greatest lives. Once we studied members in Canada, america, Australia, and the UK, we discovered that folks in search of that means via consumption purchased cheaper items—they cheaped out as a substitute of forking out.

Cheap items could undermine well-being as a result of they are typically much less satisfying, are much less possible for use and built-in into the self, and are extra expensive as a result of they break down sooner and are much less sustainable. A reasonable espresso maker, for instance, could carry much less enjoyment throughout the morning espresso ritual, solo or with a beloved one. It could additionally break down earlier (costing you extra to switch it) and carry increased environmental prices.

Mindset and tradition could matter. Folks in Japan, for instance, derive a way of that means from the rituals of consuming Japanese tea. And because the pandemic anecdote suggests, when most of the typical sources of that means have been minimize off, folks appeared to make use of {the marketplace} successfully to construct again that means of their lives.

As a society, we’re reconsidering the relationship between work and that means. It may additionally be time to rethink the connection between consumption and that means. Cracking this puzzle could also be a key to dwelling our greatest lives.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *