It seems to me as though most people begin life with a sense of happiness that encourages an achievement of his/her hopes and dreams. For example, small children wake up at the crack of dawn every day excited about the new things that they are going to discover. Life is pleasure. As children grow older, this excitement to wake up and experience the world diminishes. They fake sickness to stay home from school and instead immerse themselves in material pleasures such as television and video games. The more that they are forced to experience the agony of being involved in things that they don’t want to do, the more they dislike life itself and escape in materialistic pleasures. In this way, the society we live in promotes nihilism.
I myself have been told many times that it doesn’t matter if I want to do something because it has to get done whether I like it or not. So, in order to force myself to endure this agony I will promise myself some sort of materialistic reward once I reach the light at the end of the tunnel. For example, recently I had a big paper due that I hadn’t started at all and had procrastinated until the last moment. I encouraged myself to write this paper by rewarding myself with a cookie after I finished each section of the paper. This reward of food offered an escape from the agony of writing the paper and helped me get through the tasks of the day by indulging in materialistic pleasures.
These materialistic rewards aren’t just seen in college life, but are also seen in everyday jobs throughout society. Many people grudgingly force themselves to go to work every day while disliking many aspects of what they do. But, they keep working in the hopes of having a wealthy retirement or a nice vacation to distract them from the lives that they live and the world itself. From a very young age, people have been shown that they must do what they don’t want to do and that this can be made up for with rewards and materialism. For this reason, we now see the epidemic of material consumerism that creates the platform for today’s society.