The impact of materialism in society is a complex subject. Materialism can be defined as a dominating sense of desire to pursue wealth and other tangible things that can provide physical comforts that ignores the importance of spiritual values. The characteristics of such materialistic people are greed for money, tendency to become rich quickly even if it involves a lot of risk. It also involves the desire to live in plush houses, wearing highly expensive clothes and jewelry and driving flashy cars. In short, the urge to lead an extravagant life.
Effects of Materialism on Society
Personal satisfaction and greed are the most important aspects of life of the society driven by materialism. Many people echo the sentiment that the real cause of the economic problems that has hit the world is the greed caused by materialism. The real problem may not be so simple but it could be one of the reasons. Here the greed is not only confined to acquisition of money but also power. Where there is power, corruption is bound to happen.
Materialism promotes many other negative feelings as well like lust, selfishness, jealousy, sense of hopelessness, etc. People are forgetting their moral values and often fail to understand the distinction between right choices and the wrong ones. The only thing that matters is good quality life and false comforts. They think that everything around them is dictated by need of humans and is being provided by the environment. All their beliefs are based on scientific inference only. The worst of all they have lost faith in God as they refuse to believe in anything that we cannot see or hear or touch. As a result, they remain unrepentant after committing sin. Thus materialism has adversely affected the entire framework of our society.
Suggestions for Restructuring our Society
We can still mend our ways and move towards a beautiful world. For this, we have to look for a purpose in our life. Each individual has to make some changes in his outlook. We have to separate ourselves from material world. This will make us happy both with or without the material things that we desire. It will make us feel that "if I get that thing it's good but if I do not get that it's fine with me". It's not very easy for us to get this kind of mental set up but it is not an impossible task too.
The rough phase of economy has given us some valuable lessons. That, all the tangible things of the world that we acquire may go some day but still we have the strength within us to survive in tough condition. We are happy that we have not lost ourselves and the support of our family. These things matter more than any other material things of life. We have to give top priority to hard work and not to any shortcut route to achieve success. There is a sense of truth and honesty associated with hard work which can give us immense satisfaction. We have to increase our knowledge of reality that are non-physical. Lack of knowledge of the non-physical aspects of our life is a major cause of downfall not only of an individual but collectively as a society. Spirituality help us to know our real identity. If we lose our wealth it can be replaced but if we lose our own self then we cannot replace that.
The actual solution of the problems, be it economic or otherwise, can be obtained through introspection. We can identify what has caused us face this kind of problem that we are in today. Set yourself free from the material world, recognize the real self that lies within you in dormant condition. In this way you can prevent the influence of materialism from blocking your inner growth.