“Keep up with the Joneses”
This means you want what others have, and that is not good. Right?
There is an assumption that each thing on this planet is monogrammed for individual consumption and enjoyment. Since it is not, we have no choice but to keep up with the Joneses, the Janardhans and the Jaffers. Most objects are essentials; some are luxuries. To desire these only because somebody else has them is considered materialistic. But, think about it. What if you do not know of anybody who has them and still crave for them? Who are you then competing with? The Joneses inside you?
You go shopping and the person next to you at the counter has selected something nice. Suppose it is table linen. Her eye espied it first; perhaps you missed it. You might ask for a similar set. Are you keeping up with anyone? You like the look on a magazine cover and want it, if it means a lipstick or other cosmetics. Are you competing? The best way to judge how stupid this theory is to visit a sale that offers huge discounts. Then everyone is keeping up with the Joneses to just get hold of items that are close to reaching expiry date, are no more a fad, or, in the electronic world, have been replaced by upgraded versions.
The problem is that we only seem to notice the tangible. The assertion is restricted to what we can see. The ‘materialism’ of competing with thoughts – not in the sense of brainstorming or expanding on ideas – to spread one’s own wares is far more acquisitive. Intent is sometimes worse than action.
Also, one has to be rather insecure to believe that by keeping up with the Joneses you will lose yourself. It might happen if you strive to be a clone. I have several objects that many others do. It is how I use them that will tell me apart.
And to be honest, I do get a kick thinking that I too might be the Joneses that others breathlessly want to keep up with…