There is more to life than the quick short highs of consumption.
The latest beauty fad is unlikely to change your life, make it better, make everything better, and make you better. Nor will the next one. Living from potential beauty Holy Grail to the next HG is not living in hope. It is desperation. Sometimes it’s the worst sort of blind belief, abused by cult brands. It is not hope. It is not life, it’s a pathetic unthinking excuse for a life by a poor excuse for a human being; [EDITED] or (because one ought to be charitable and give the benefit of the doubt) someone who is sick or damaged and in need of help.
In the latter case, we should be careful not to enable self-harming behaviour but to offer humane compassion, what support we can, and guide suffering people towards professional help. It’s hard. I’m sure most of us have been there, at one time or another. Spending on quick-fix superficialities is so tempting and so easy in the First World. It’s a classic association with some forms of depression and anxiety; I’ve learned to watch out for it in myself as a useful early sign, and I’ve learned the hard way to ask for help.
(There is also the Special Exceptional Case of Emergency Chocolate.)
Buying does not make you a better citizen or a good person, whatever the Cult of Mammon may tell you. Consumerism is not good. It will not make you good.
Here is what will: the pursuit of happiness. The cultivation of inner beauty. A life of goodness, of giving to others, of sharing, of love. Sure (because to be human means to be at least a teeny tiny bit vain) that may have a fringe benefit of making you look good on the outside too. I stand by my response to a very recent MUA discussion, with apologies for typos (writing rapidly betwen bits of work, as indeed now):
Today we’ve had a day of true beauty and love. It’s been a privilege and a joy to be alive today. Thank you, SCOTUS. I’m neither American nor in the USA, but what happened today makes me feel happy. It is a happy day for anyone, in human solidarity.
Yes, there’s more to be done, and we mustn’t forget other injustice and inequities or let them slip the mind or be pushed back. Yes, we can continue to think about all of them and talk about them and work on them, all at once: therein lies the power of the human intellect. No, they don’t need to be prioritised or put in Top Whatever lists; that’s silly macho hierarchical thinking, the kind of phallogocentric thinking and being that got us all into injustice and inequity in the first place.
But that also means that–without for a minute ignoring everything else that is going on in the world around us–we can jollywell be happy for once. Today is about commemorating human wrongs and continuing the grand human counter-project of healing ills and redressing the balance. It is also about human rights and their celebration. It doesn’t matter what your own individual sexual preference is, or your religious beliefs, or whether you’re for or against marriage: if you are a living breathing human being, you can and should be happy for your fellow human beings.
The Golden Rule is, after all, a human universal.
I never thought I would see this happen this decade. I hoped I might witness it in my lifetime. Whatever next…