Riding on the train, I watched as a businessman placed and received continual calls on his cell phone, talking business with other unseen parties in a parade of dealing that lasted pretty much the whole hour-and-a-half trip.
And I thought to myself, how much freer that guy’s life would be if he didn't spend all of his time trying to make money. It’s easy to get lost in the transactions and details of work, just at is to get lost in the many concurrent demands of school; but in going to school, the purpose is (or should be) to learn, whereas for most people in business ventures, the primary aim is making money.
And what is the point of it all? The idea is that money makes life easier and allows you to enjoy more in life. But if you're constantly working, and thing that dominates your mental energy is making more money, then you're not even really experiencing life, let alone enjoying it.
Peace of mind and happiness are mental states- we don't need money, possessions, and physical comforts to make us happy. If we can be happy living simply, whole new worlds of possibility are open to us because we will no longer dominated by the drive to accumulate. All the time that we don’t spend working for money (and shopping), we can put to much better use: helping others, creating, indulging in our interests, enjoying the natural world. All that we need to realize is that we don't need much at all to get by- a little clothing, some food, and a corner to sleep in.
So in light of this, I say: boycott everything. Everything that is nonessential to living, forget about it. We need to buy some food, yes. And we may need to pay for some transportation costs, and some personal hygiene products. Aside from that, there’s very little we need.
Just think of, in Manhattan alone, the street upon streets full of junk, stores and warehouses full of junk. And now think of the whole U.S., with all it's toy stores, novelty shops, clothing stores, and everything else- a country jam-packed with buildings full of junk for sale. And, as a result, houses filled with junk as well.
So boycott everything. Boycott everything first in order to see that material possessions don't bring happiness, but that a voluntary rejection of them usually does. Boycott everything, secondly, so that, in entering the post-college working world, you won't be wasting your time trying to accumulate money when instead you can be creating, enjoying life, and aiding others. Boycott everything, thirdly, so that you can give your excess to those both here and abroad who are living in squalor and poverty. Boycott everything, fourthly, to say, I don't want all this junk to be produced; I don’t want an economy and workforce centered around the production of junk, because it's a waste of resources and a waste of human life. Boycott everything, fifthly, to say no to the culture of consumerism that is the result of all this. Say no to the culture that transforms people from human beings into mere consumers, the culture that says to have fun you must spend money.
Say no to the Pepsi Generation, say no the cadre of Gap-like stores, say no to the world of advertising, say no to everything that tries to jam you into the lifestyle of their projected teenage consumer. Don’t be an advertisement for the consumer culture (or rather, the consumer cult), be a visible rejector of it. Say no! no! no! and boycott everything.