The Invasion of Waste -4

By Matthieu Ricard on February 13, 2012

Excerpts from Matthieu Ricard's preface to Didier Ruef's ‟Recycle”
The high price of materialistic values
An American psychologist Tim Kasser and his colleagues at the University of Rochester have shown, through studies spanning two decades and within a representative sample of the population, that individuals who focused their lives on wealth, image, social status and other materialistic values promoted by the consumer society, are less satisfied with their lives.
They are more depressed and anxious, prone to headaches and stomach pains. They drink more alcohol and smoke more cigarettes. They prefer competition to cooperation, contribute less to the public interest (being primarily focused on themselves); they give little attention to environmental issues. Their social ties are weakened and they have fewer friends. They show less empathy and compassion towards those who suffer, are manipulative and tend to exploit others according to their interests. Even their health is poorer than that of the rest of the population.

In our contemporary world, we are more often seen as consumers than as citizens, roles which imply very different patterns of behaviour.

These studies suggest that it is those who consume the most who are most indifferent to the amount of waste they produce and the consequences of such waste on the quality of life of populations and environments. They are also less interested in solutions that require an overview of problems and a spirit of cooperation.

(to be continued)