From materialism to self-realization





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‘I consume therefore I am’ describes a wide spread mentality of the western society in the 21st century. You can argue that there are more aspects involved but if you take a look at the amount of waste and unnecessary goods we produce I think that statement gives a quite good reflection on the modern society. You are what you own! However with a growing awareness of the consequences of our behavior and the climate change as a continues reminder of the earth negative evolution, people start to rethink and change their attitude. You can observe a shift from materialism to self-realization.  To me a great example of that shift is the current development of how the refuge problem is handled in Germany.  Where people donate huge amounts of goods to cover the daily needs of the refugees. Let me illustrate how that initiative came up and how it is organized with the example of the city Bremen.  There it all started in mid July with a Facebook post of a girl who had visited a recently set up refugees camp. Disturbed by the shortage of basic needs as shampoo, toothpaste etc. she made a Facebook post with a list of things needed and the request that people prepare  package so she could pick it up and bring it to the refugee camp. This post had a mind blowing effect. Within 2 days her friends and their friends… had shared her post a couple of thousand times. Not only did people prepare packages with the things listed but there were also a lot of them going directly to the camp with stuff they thought would be useful to the refugees. Surprised by the wave of solidarity the police had no choice but to send the people and their stuff back home. The missing coordination made efficient and effective distribution of  the goods impossible. Given that three youngg citizens of Bremen decided tot start organizing the distribution of the the goods. Visiting all refugee camps, making lists of what is needed where and posting that on their newly made Facebook page “Flüchtingshilfe Bremen” they started bringing structure to the flood of support. From basic staff as shampoo and clothing to books, board games and sports gear people donated everything they would not need any more or they thought it would be for better use to the refugees. To me this example is a responsible innovation on multiple levels.  The people as a collective find a solution to tackle a problem of society. Especially interesting to see is that they do it self-organized without support or coordination of the government as an overlooking institution. On an individual level people tried to participate with the possibility’s they had. Furthermore this example to me stands for a shift in the way people behave, act, live. From ‘you are what you own’ to ‘you are what you do’!  From materialism to self-realization!