I am moving slowly through the air-conditioned mall surrounded by the faces of Saturday shoppers. I am going to have a haircut. Outside the sun is shining and the Indian Ocean, just a few kilometres away is wondering where I am. Its waves rush hissing up the sandy beach searching for my feet, waiting for me to grow small within it.
But a haircut is a haircut.
I wonder why everyone else is here. How did they wake to such a beautiful day and find themselves meandering lost-like through this artificial landscape? They are looking for something, something that is promised by the bright lights and gaudy banners. When will you wake up, I think. Soon you have to wake up; life doesn’t go on forever. And then I remember Woody Allen in one of his early stand-up routines saying, ”Do you like my watch? My grandfather sold me this watch on his deathbed.”
And I wonder if for many people, maybe the habit of acquisition is just too strong, its intrinsic emptiness lost to their perception forever.
Here is the triumph of advertising over the human spirit.
There is a metaphor for this blind consumerism. Imagine a jail where every conceivable safeguard has been put in place to prevent escape by the prisoners. There is a high wall with a moat and minefields, the guards are heavily armed. The cells are buried deep within a labyrinth of booby-trapped tunnels beneath metres of reinforced concrete. Multiple doors protect each cell and each door is made from the strongest metals known to man. The inmates are chained to their beds.
And then, just to make perfectly sure that no one escapes, each prisoner has been hypnotised into thinking that he is free…