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.”

        As I observe today’s society I see that materialism has taken over the value of our lives.  Materialism is everything that’s made of matter, such as cars, houses, the ground, air, rain, and earth etc. Iraq has gone through major transformations politically and economically after the 2003 war. These transformations have affected the life of people in Iraq especially in Kurdistan.

        We as human beings always seek to have a better life and improve our living condition in terms of having better houses, better food, cars, clothing and etc. The more we get of these material things, the more we want. Back in the day life was much simpler, a small house and some food on the table kept people satisfied; but nowadays we have everything, food and housing are our last concern and yet we are neither happy nor satisfied. Is it the demands of living that have increased a lot in the past ten years or ia ir due to political instability? Is it the human greed that’s always hungry for more?

        Sulaimani changed from a simple sophisticated city to a materialistic society. We tend to care more about appearances in terms of having expensive cars, beautiful houses and wearing brand clothes. Partially 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 long bloody wars and the outcome of that was suffering from poverty and hunger. Thankfully we passed that stage, but yet we don’t have security and political stability.

        Hani 29, Sulaimani. “In Iraq there is no life insurance, if you go bankrupt or you 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 in case the political security gets worse immigration is the only way out. Our people have suffered a lot from wars and blockades, so the material obsession is to prevent poverty and hunger our people faced in the past.”

        Isam 28, Baghdad, “Love for ownership comes naturally as 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 too.”

        Halgurd Mohammed 24, Sulaimani “Our lives have lost their value and the taste of happiness is gone because our thoughts are always busy and occupied by money and materialism. Money has become the goal and the purpose of life while in the past money was only a way to survive.”

        We have become the slaves of 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 there was a time where our people were starving and they were thankful to have a piece of bread to eat.

     Being rich, having beautiful houses, expensive cars, and clothes will not give us the happiness we anticipate, and even if they do, it will be short lived. We should not forget that what matters in life is family, friends and good health. We should not forget that death is the end of everyone and life is too. Money can’t buy time or bring back someone you loose. There is so much more in life than material things. What happens when the day comes that we have all the money in the world, but there is no food eat? We should take a look at the nature around us with all the living things in it and recognize that we live in bliss. Our environment along with all of the things that truly matter are too precious to be sacrificed for the sake of materialism.                                 

By: Saz Jamal