Before you tune out, I should probably clarify that these attitudes have absolutely NOTHING to do with religion. Well, at least theoretically…
The Social Media Influencer
The Influencer believes that existence is absolutely impossible without being shared. Hence the constant presence of the mobile phone in their right hand. Social Media Influence is a demanding religious belief requiring photo and video sacrifices every few hours EACH DAY offered up to the gods of Instagram Stories, Facebook and Snapchat. The influencer tends to be a deep believer in the importance of Instagrammable clothing, and finds wearing the same things twice a horrible sin.
The worth of an Influencer is measured directly by the number the likes they receive on their favourite social media channel. Their notions of truth and falsehood are likewise determined by numbers of likes, which leads to the dogma of infallibility of the Kardashian family’s social media posts.
The Minimalist is a tech-savvy version of an ascetic monk. The essence of this belief is that material possessions weigh down the soul, which should be kept light and bright. Books must be replaced by an e-reader, clothing should be rented or swapped, and photos should be kept on Ipads where they belong. This sect believes that a home consists of a chair, a table, and possibly a mattress on the floor. Wait, scratch that. Home is a mattress on the floor. You need nothing more.
The Sustainability Lover
The Sustainability Lover worships nature and believes that the responsibility for saving the world from climate change lies solely on her shoulders. Sex and “unclean” food are both heavily taboo subjects for most of the world’s religious beliefs, and this one is no exception. The Sustainability Lover is usually vegan and determined not to have children (like the narrator in Kreutzer’s Sonata, he or she believes that Earth will be much improved when humankind goes extinct). Sustainability Lovers also tend to think we should let pandas go extinct, as the continuous attempts to save them are blasphemy against Mother Earth’s original plan. The money saved should be invested in saving a rare type of beetle that pollinates a healthy variety of plants.
The Sustainability Lover’s notion of sin is forgetting to take a reusable plastic bag made of old curtains with them when they go shopping and being forced to buy one from the supermarket.
Last, but not least…
An honorary mention goes to the most dominant religion of our times; the Capitalist one summed up neatly in A.H. Clough’s “The Latest Decalogue”
Though shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No grave images may be
Worshipped, except the currency (…)
Although I ought to mention that the lines “ Thou shalt not covet, but tradition / Approves all forms of competition” have gone completely out-of-date. Coveting must be encouraged to avert the collapse of civilisation. See Bernard Mandeville…
4 thoughts on “The Social Media Influencer, The Minimalist and the Sustainability Lover: or three religions of the West”
So many great observations here – I do agree that we should let pandas go extinct though! They’re pretty useless animals (almost as useless as the unsustainable wear-once clothing all over Instagram…)
Thanks for posting!
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I wouldn’t like to let pandas go extinct, as a pretty useless creature myself I would feel rather endangered … (at least pandas are cute!)
Ah, I think I need to develop my argument here a bit.
I certainly don’t think things (or people!) need to be “useful” to be considered valuable or to be cared for, but I have a problem with how disproportionate the funding in conservation can be. Cute animals are easier to persuade people to give money towards, for example. To my mind it’s unsustainable to keep pushing money into panda conservation when they’re so bad at eating and reproducing anyway. Another endangered species might be a lot easier to save!
It’s similar with the funding given to different healthcare problems. The money available for research into different cancers, for example, is based more on public awareness of the type of cancer than how common or dangerous the cancer is. And few people know that drowning is the biggest cause of death in children under five years old worldwide, so water safety isn’t pushed as a key area when looking to improve life expectancy. (Although I am rather off-topic from your post now!)
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Or, the sustainability lover just cares about the planet