The desire to be part of something can be man’s best friend and his worst enemy.

To be somebody who voted x into power. To be somebody who was there for that match. To be somebody who felt a surge of passion as the band took to the stage.

We all want to belong. Sometimes this involves adopting something. Sometimes this involves rejecting something. But it always comes accompanied with expectations. Expectations to conform. Expectations to perform. Expectactions to excel.

These expecations are fine and what drive collectivity. A collective can not exist without a shared vision.

But this vision can send us into overdrive. We all want to compete as well as belong to a collective. Who can be skinniest. Who can make the most sales. Who has the biggest house.

Is there anybody out there who doesn’t wish to belong? Is there anybody out there who doesn’t follow the herd? We all make decisions every day that are affected in one way or another by the influence of somebody or something else.

The greatest power we have is independence of thought. Unfortunately, it seems all to often that we are locked in a cycle of obligation. I HAVE to go here, I HAVE to do this, I HAVE to say this…

The moment we realise that we are all chasing something we’ll never get is the moment we start to accept the real rather than the ideal.

Why am I saying all this?

This is in response to an article that appeared online today that suggested, among other things, that our materialistic, commercialistic society is having detrimental effects on our mental health.

This can no be doubted. If man could just be happy with his lot, there would be nothing new to buy or sell.

Wrinkle creams would perish. Magic pants would disappear. Self help books would look at each other blankly.

The pharmaceutical companies that sustain Western society’s rictus grin would have to find a new way to sell the American dream.

Is this some kind of nightmare vision of the future?

Well, to some yes.

But how can we liberate ourselves from all of these expectations and obligations?

It’s really quite simple. Think for yourself.

Do you really need to buy that new MP3 fridge? Do you really need to distress your mince pie? Do you really need the new limited edition third kit only available for one day?

They are all just things. These things will not be your legacy.

Stop and look around. The moment you stop sprinting, the moment you see things for what they really are.