It is very difficult to divest from our pain because our Consumer Culture is a Pain Culture. If you just look with fresh eye at the barrage of commercials that have inundated our mind with the coming of TV in the 50s, you can see a shift in the household hearth from the radio of the 30s and 40s to the TV. This was a shift from a oral tradition to a visual tradition.
I remember my first TV in. 1959 at a friends house where I watched Howdy Doody and a salad cutter commercial. Oh, how great life would if we just had this magic kitchen cutter that would take the drudgery our of the kitchen. This was the Philosopher’s Stone that would free us from wandering East of Eden, the hidden entrance to the lost Paradise where life would be easy and without labor.
Right there the Devil’s Seed was planted; Salvation through the next new thing. Just like you could buy salvation in the late Middle Ages through the corrupt church, now you could buy salvation through consumer products. But where did the pain come from that one needed to be freed from? The pain is implied in the commercial. The commercial is the farmer who plants this unconscious Pain Seed and then provides relief from it by his magical solution.
The American Consumer Economy is not unlike the Holy Roman Catholic Church that subdued pagan Europe by planting the fear of hell and salvation through the Sacraments.
Modern commercial products are the symbolic sacraments in our Consumer Church. But with each promise that this new product will end the emotional pain of being incomplete comes another dose of pain.
Religion doesn’t go away, it just changes form. The Church doesn’t dissolve, it just puts on new clothes, and not necessarily the robes of religion. It’s not the content but the shape the content comes in that is the message. The content is conscious, the shape is unconscious…unless you make the unconscious conscious.
In a world where only things exists (materialism) where is salvation but in things, since only things exist. There are physical things and mental things. Salvation in religion is through mental things that exist in time of the mind. Salvation in secular society is through products that exist in commercials, where the glow is added to mere form.
The Commercial is the alchemy that turns the base form into the gold of promise from from the pain of feeling incomplete. This is a false idol that is always a temporary fix. There is no salvation if form but in our material world, there is no alternative but to invest in physical and mental forms. This is why the West has turned to the Eastern traditions of non-duality whose reality map includes the formless as your true center.