Monday, September 26, 2005

Subverting the Dominant Paradigm

Honda won Best In Show at the Cannes Lions this year for their ad
It’s cute, and it is colourful, but the reason it won was because of a philosophy that runs parallel to the sustainability movement – Hate something/change something. In other words, it doesn’t make much sense to gripe and moan unless you are going to put disgruntlement into positive action. In North America, we are still handcuffed by a lot of traditions that we are slowly breaking from, but still maintain a paradigmatic pull.

1. Religion - The Catholic church is still opposed to the promotion of condoms in Africa, even though it has the highest incidences of AIDS in the world. The latest policy in the United States is to promote abstinence as well. It wasn’t too long ago that no building in a city could be larger than the cathedral in the centre, or that weddings were mandatory, divorces unheard of, and agnostics and atheists were seen as pagans. Copernicus, Darwin, and Galileo all had their run-ins against religious doctrine, others, it cost them their lives. Dogma can be dangerous.
2. The Industrial Revolution – The ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ was dreamed up in the wake of the industrial revolution to create a society of socialized workers. However, the concept of trading time for money, and for seeing work as a service to God has become soul-destroying, and contrary to the natural course of human instinct and development.
3. Supporting the Economy Through Mass Consumerism – It is no coincidence that following 9-11 George Bush encouraged everyone to go out and shop. The way in which the economy is structured demands consistent consumerism to stay afloat. The better every member of society is transformed into active consumers, the faster money changes hands and keeps things moving. It is an outdated, and short-sighted model, but it will take a while before we get out of habits such as fashion, materialism and keeping up with the Joneses.

The Sustainability Movement has a bit of a reputation for being the squeaky wheel, but it appears that the grease is coming in the form of revised consumerism. Or at least a consumer culture that aims to capitalize by appealing to the most lucrative complaints, such as a demand for organic food, earth friendly cleaning products and services, and hybrid or clean diesel engines.

However it will be a while before we are zig-zagging with other parts of culture beyond how we handle our forks, tip our hats, court our women, post our horses, duel our opponents and nail up our treatises.


Post a Comment

<< Home