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Monday Night Owls - 20 November 2017 - Rethinking the importance of material possessions

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
We read an article about a trend in the US where people are thinking about how much ´stuff´ they really need after the recent big natural disasters:


Vocabulary Top 10:

purge - to free yourself of something; to get rid of something

barrelling - moving very fast and often in an uncontrolled or dangerous way

charred - made black from burning

decluttering - removing unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place

spate - a large number of things that appear or happen in a short period of time

mildew - a usually white substance that grows on the surface of things in wet, warm conditions

reappraisal - to think about something again in order to decide whether you should change your opinion about it; to make a new judgment about the value of something

benchmark - something that can be used as a way to judge the quality or level of other, similar things

vicariously - experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself

cathartic - providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions

If you had to leave your house in a disaster situation, what 5 things would you take with you?


  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So we learn the fact that large part of Americans have their houses filled with stuff.

    After World War II and the advent of plastics, for instance, most houses got full of plastic toys: they grew cheaper and more ubiquitous.

    I suppose that, in Western richer countries at least, in a large number of families, every stage of development of their kids was marked by a bagful of plastic toys.

    I remember such toys like those representing Japanese animated cartoons superheroes: my preferred ones were Goldrake and Mazinga.

    Then we could enjoy playing with entire armies of plastic soldiers in miniature, which boxes were even equipped with trucks, tanks and every facilities needed to set up a military camp or just deploy the troops, also in a miniaturized scale, on your table or playground.

    For the females, there was the rise and debute of models in miniature, the Barbies, and those dolls representing a baby.
    Those plastic toys sprouted and went widespread.

    Along with toys, even appliances, household goods, furniture became more available due to the surge of production and manufacturing.

    The company's heads and marketing guru plotted to make sure the just rising consumerism, rather than a one-off might become more steady, first of all, in the consumers' mind.

    In order to embed the idea of purchasing, they first acted by nudging them, subtly blinking at them from the TV screen,subconsciously sweet-talking them during the advertisement span.

    Then there rose the concept of planned obsolescence of goods. This idea, I understand, was first found out by the General Motors management.
    They thought that in order for their cars' purchasers to buy a new model, they should entice them to do so by providing newly features provided ones.

    This way, they could lead their clients to upgrade to new models, from time to time.
    Otherwise, they would hold on to them until such replacement grew strictly necessitated.

    Fatally, there eventually came the spate of natural disasters to help them launching new models of cars; perhaps even helping name these SUVs after them.
    What about driving on Irma or Harvey called suvs to escape from an hurricane ? A bit ill-omened I'm afraid though.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm wondering where are your comments, come on guys, I want to know what are your opinions about this interesting article @NatashaT shared and we all read and discussed !! :)

    It is also interesting to find out where this inexorable pull to buy and cram our houses with stuff first came from.

    Researchers call this attitude our ' inner squirrel '; like this nice rodent, we keep accumulating provisions, more than enough of them, needlessly, like it came out of an obsession of piling up or stack whatever.

    They say that the human beings, as an atavic instinctive rule, expect their fellow-humans to provide them with support. This could account perhaps for the fact the prehistorical humans used to live in enlarged communities made up of several families or clans.

    Therefore, when the men fall short of this solidarity, better when this support, both physical or moral, get abruptly ripped off, they grow anxious of uncertainty and unpredictable future events.

    They now don't consider their environment safe and secure anylonger as they used to, but rather as undependable, wild, unfriendly surroundings.

    The researches' study demonstrated that the more people feel rejected, neglected, humbled and snubbed, the more they feel like purchasing and are inclined to accumulate stuff.

    They start buying items, especially utilitarian practical ones, to help them, just in case, outlive any dangerous misadventures which they see are already looming above the horizon: although, at this stage, just with their mind's eyes. That's when our ' inner squirrel ' kicks in.

    They buy especially such articles as: flashlights, backsacks, sleeping-bags, can foods, toilet-paper, knives: the basic equipments to settle themselves in an outdoor camp.
    They also grow more selfish and more and more anxious.

    So, as in a vicious circle, where the bad effects nothing else do but feeding subsequent bad ones, you fatally keep purchasing.

    Add to this the fact that purchasing release dopamine into your brain: that's a substance which give you a surge of euphoria.

    This joy's state, nevertheless, doesn't last long, is temporary, as it's often the case with great enjoyment.

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,057 mod
    It's not called shopping therapy for nothing @filauzio.
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    Agreed, @filauzio , where is everyone´s comments? I´m going to tag some people who were at the sessions for this topic....

    @gam01hr @Bassa @Shiny03 @dope @Bobmendez @lisa @aladdin @manjuam
  • aladdinaladdin Radio Producer LEOnetworkPosts: 1,744 mod
    If you had to leave your house in a disaster situation, what 5 things would you take with you?
    Nothing is important, so I will choose to stay.
  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,878 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank you Natasha for mentioning me. You just gave me courage to write down my thoughts in the forum. I hesitated to make comments recently, because felt stupid sometimes. If you don't mind, I do have lots of thoughts about those topic.:D
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    @Shiny03 the more comments, the better! Let´s get more conversations and discussions going on these topics in the forum - it doesn´t have to be just in the session, and here even more people can participate too.
  • BassaBassa Posts: 103 ✭✭✭
    Hi @NatashaT ,
    Sorry for delay in the answer,
    Five things I would like to have with me in case of disaster are the following:
    - Personal effects, something that you cannot mainain in the electronic format, with a real moral value for you, photos taken in the past, jewels, paints....
    -Your wallet, with your credit cards, driver license ecc...it's true that money can't make people happy but for instance to buy food they would be fundamental...
    - Your car, beacause nowadays people cover big distances, so you need your car to bring things, to move rapidly in a safety zone...
    - Would be important a cell phone as well, to be linked or at least try to remain in contact with friends/people remained in the critical area/zone affected by a disaster...

    Are not five, are four :) but that's it for me...what I will take....

    In the five things I've not mentioned my family, my parents...beacause I think we cannot consider our family as an objects but as a part of us...they will be with me in the case I leave...

    About all we get but actually we don't need to survive, is almost everything we have around us,
    Considering that a man need, to survive, food, water and would be better a roof above the head...all the rest is useless...
    But these are the effects of the consumerism, made by advertising and big corporations,
    Today, often, people make works that don't like just to buy things that they don't need and where we will arrive, is a mistery...
    Sometimes a disaster can we make us think about this running in the cosumerism and about its sense...
  • gam01hrgam01hr Posts: 105 ✭✭✭
    I can remember old times when the internet did not exist. The goods selection in shops was quite limited. Probably we live in different era nowadays. Everything is easily available. We do not have to store things just for case we might need it in future.
This discussion has been closed.