Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment/youth and materialism


I have a debate on the topic "Youth of Today are driven by Materialism" and I have to speak AGAINST the topic. Please help me with some points. I thought u could help with points related to your topic.....

Dear Harsh,

Thank you for your question.

In my view, you'd have a much easier time defending the other side of the argument. So, with that said, please take note of the following information that may help your side of the argument:

Researchers have found that low self-esteem and materialism are not just a correlation, but also a causal relationship where low self esteem increases materialism, and materialism can also create low self-esteem. They also found that as self esteem increases, materialism decreases. The study primarily focused on how this relationship affects children and adolescents. Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign# and Deborah Roedder John [University of Minnesota] found that even a simple gesture to raise self-esteem dramatically decreased materialism, which provides a way to cope with insecurity:

"By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth," they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The paradox that findings such as these bring up, is that consumerism is good for the economy but bad for the individual. In the short run, itís good for the economy when young people believe they need to buy an entirely new wardrobe every year, for example. But the hidden cost is much higher than the dollar amount. There are costs in happiness when people believe that their value is extrinsic. There are also environmental costs associated with widespread materialism.

In the book ďHappiness: Lessons From a New Science,Ē Richard Layard exposes a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most of us want more income so we can consume more. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. In fact, the First World has more depression, more alcoholism and more crime than fifty years ago. This paradox is true of Britain, the United States, continental Europe, and Japan.

Statistically people have more things than they did 50 years ago, but they are actually less happy in several key areas. There is also the considerable cost of what materialism does to the environment. We donít yet know what final toll that could take in terms of quality of life and overall happiness. What many people donít understand is that if we want to save the environment then at some level we have to buy and consume less.

Now, one person being less materialistic isnít going to make a noticeable impact on the environment, but it will make a positive impact in that one life. Once entire nations start to understand the myths about what really makes individuals happy, the world will stand a fighting chance [2009, "Scientists Find"].

Also, please take a look at the following article: "Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents" [n.d., Froh, Emmons, Card].
http://people.hofstra.edu/Jeffrey_J_Froh/spring%202010%20web/JFroh%20-%20gratitu[1].pdf [n.d., Froh, Emmons, Card].  

Harsh - you'll need to find statistical data that supports the notion that many adolescents are interested in nature, health, innovation, developing their talents, or place religion [and God] as a higher priority than materialism. Also, you may want to check Gallup polling data on this subject to support your case - and please take a look at evangelical youth who may place a high priority on the Church and its activities.

Best of luck with the debate - you sure have your work cut out for you - best wishes,  

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Bob Waxman, Ph.D.


Please ask any question relating to spiritual awakening, personal growth, or the pursuit of enlightenment. If you are having difficulty with a religious or spiritual concept - please feel free to explain your dilemma and ask a question relating to your situation. I have written three books on various on "The Timeless Wisdom of the Ages" and have been teaching classes related to universal spiritual principles for over 15 years. My expertise is in writing, teaching, and explaining the underlying meanings that are found in ancient and modern spiritual/religious traditions.


Classes, seminars, and workshops over the past 15 years include explorations of: spiritually transformative experiences (STEs), near-death experiences (NDEs), Vedanta & Bhagavad Gita, Kabbalah & Zohar (according to scholars), The Best of Plato, The Taoist Approach to Living, The Dhammapada & Mahayana Buddhism, Cognitive Dissonance, Lost Books of the Bible, Comparative Views on Sufism & Gnosticism, Cutting-Edge Theories in Modern Physics & Metaphysical Frameworks in Ancient Mysticism. Published Books include: "2012: The Meaning and The Message" - Paragon House Publishers,"Kabbalah Simply Stated" - Paragon House Publishers, "The Power of AWE" - Sinclair Publishing, Inc., Not yet released: "By the Waters of Forgetfulness - The Mystical Teachings of Plato."

Founding Member and frequent guest speaker at The Open Center (Sarasota, FL) Longboat Key Education Center IANDS (near-death experience organization) Unity Life Enrichment Center American Seminar Leaders Association

Articles: "Did Freud Accept or Reject Mysticism?" http://ezinearticles.com/?Did-Freud-Accept-Or-Reject-Mysticism?&id=1291492 ## "The Astral Body and After Death Experience" http://www.paratracker.org/files/article-20660.pdf ## "Beyond Madonna" http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_303.shtml ## "Beyond The DaVinci Code" http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_306.shtml ## "Evolutionary Theism" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id86.html ## "Five Philosophers' Theories on Free Will" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id93.html ## "The Transpersonal Experience" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id77.html ## "John Locke & Deism During The Age of Enlightenment" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id77.html ## "The Nature of the Tzaddik" http://robertwaxman.org/id50.html ## Interview in Spirit Guide Magazine (2009): http://robertwaxman.org/id51.html ## A Theistic View on the Unitary Experience in Shamanism http://www.robertwaxman.com/id92.html

Ph.D. in Human Sciences from Saybrook University; Master's Degree with a concentration in Comparative Religion from Skidmore College; (2) B.A.'a from The American University. Additional philosophy courses taken at Columbia University and New York University.

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Unity of Sarasota JCC of Sarasota, Tampa, Davie, West Palm Beach & Bonyton Beach Center for Positive Living Theosophical Society United Lodge of Theosophists (Sarasota, FL) The Open Center Longboat Key Education Center Hundreds of students over the last 12 years

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