junot díaz: on hyperconsumption and the invisibility and under-prioritization of inner work in american culture

this is my second takeaway from the junot díaz episode of on being. i’m just going to try and walk through a paraphrase of junot’s thoughts in this one section of the episode.

  1. we have created a culture this is subject to a logic of hyperconsumption. we aren’t just consumers anymore. we are hyperconsumers. or maybe (thinking in terms of complexity) its that our individual consumer behavior creates a hyperconsumerist culture. either way, the big picture patterns are that those who sell the most tickets, get the most clicks, make the most sales are the winners.

  2. and it is increasingly true that winner takes all. we’ve seen this in several industries (uber/lyft crushing all other competition, amazon and online stores destroying storefront businesses without replacing them with anything good for cities and society, etc etc).

  3. winner take all systems create increasingly powerful winners. they can then continue investing in their own growth to keep other players (intentionally or not) out of the game.

  4. these hyperconsumptive, winner take all dynamics have a flipside or necessary corrolary: the invisibilizing of inner work. culturally, we have most ignored inner work. and yet, that seems to be the most important work of all (especially when you think about what it means to human). people at the end of their lives so rarely wish they had more stuff. they wish they had more time with people they loved or had done more of what they loved.

    how we as individuals and how our leaders respond to this invisibilization will determine what this era of humanity looks like. how we respond might even determine if our species will survive our own progression. and if we do, what will we have left behind that was noteworthy?

[switching over to my thinking]

internal work isn’t even on the radar of most people (even for many people that i know, career has taken priority over pretty much everything else). and in some ways, i fall victim to that, too. but i’m hoping to stay balanced and remember that if my career is not a manifestation of my life purpose, it’s a distraction.

the fact that inner work is not rewarded also makes it hard to prioritize in our culture. we don’t have honorific places for people who have strong internal lives and we definitely don’t know how to measure inner progress (at least not well). i wonder how that might change…


ps - some of the solution(s) to these problems exist in building resilient systems (think redundance, adaptability, diversity, more…)

words / writing / post-processing
408w / 13min / 10min