Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Road to Happiness

Seth Godin wrote recently about the job of marketers.

What you have doesn't make you unhappy. What you want does.
And want is created by us, the marketers.

Someone must want (or need) a product in order to buy it.  It is the job of the marketer to create the desire (want or need) for the product. 

Toaism tells us that one may experience peace (happiness) in the absence of desire.  Does it then follow that we can increase our happiness by cutting off the barrage of marketing messages we're exposed to on a daily basis?

Aimee and I watch almost no television.  Perhaps three hours per week.  We live relatively modestly, but we're hardly free from desire.  I subscribe to a number of electronic magazines, and (of course) they are choc full of advertisements.

While avoiding marketing messages might lead to greater happiness, is it really practical?  When we think about the products we purchase and our overall happiness, I think it becomes clear that most purchases do not increase happiness.  We still keep making purchases though, as if transfixed by the never-materializing promise of happiness.

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