Have we become the Slaves of Materialism?

“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

Slaves of Materialism

As I observe today’s society I see that materialism has taken over the value of our lives.  Materialism is the belief that substance is of arbitrary value. Iraq has gone through major transformations politically and economically after the 2003 war. These transformations have affected the lives of people in Iraq, especially in Kurdistan. We as human beings always seek to have a better life and improve our living conditions in terms of having better houses, food, cars, clothing and etc.

The more we get of these material things the more we want. Long ago, life was much simpler; a small house and some food on the table could have made us happy and satisfied, but nowadays we have everything, yet we are neither happy nor satisfied. Is it the demands of living that has increased a lot in the past ten years or political instability? Or is it the human greed that’s always hungry for more?

Sulaimaniyah changed from a simple sophisticated city to a pure materialistic society. We tend to care more about appearances in terms of having expensive cars, beautiful houses and brand clothing. That’s a part of human nature: we always look for perfection and want to have the luxurious life that we see on television. Also it’s because of the political situation; we have a long history of bloody wars and the outcome of that was suffering from poverty prolonged hunger of the masses. Thankfully we passed that stage, but yet we don’t have security and political stability.

Hani, 29, says, “In Iraq there is no life insurance, if you go bankrupt or can’t find a job, you can’t survive. Fear of survival is caused by the lack of security which leads to obsession with materialism. Also, political instability is the main reason for this materialistic obsession. As long as the political security declines, immigration will be the only way out. Our people have suffered a lot from wars, so the materialism obsession is to prevent poverty and hunger that face our people in the past.

Isam, 28, says “Love for ownership comes naturally in human beings; every individual is used to a certain pattern that’s hard to break. Basically, it’s hard for people to live beneath the lifestyle they are used to.”

Halgurd Mohammed, 24, states that “[their] lives have lost its value and the taste of happiness has gone because [their]] thought is always occupied with money and material things. Money has become the goal and purpose of living while in the past money was only a way to survive.”

We have become slaves to materialism without realizing it. We are starting to forget about our values and principles for the sake of materialism. It is true that we need money to survive, but that doesn’t mean life is all about making money. We should look back and remember that once people were starving and they were thankful to have a piece of bread to eat.
Being rich, having beautiful houses, expensive cars and nice clothing does not give us the happiness we are expecting, even it does it would be for a short time. We should not forget that what matters in life is family, friends and good health. We should not forget, also, that death is the end to everyone. Money can’t buy time or bring back someone you have lost. There is so much more in life than material things. What happens when the day comes that we have all money in the world, but there is no food to eat? We should take a look at the nature around us in it understand how privileged we are. Our environment is too precious to be sacrificed for the sake of materialism.

By: Saz Jamal