Katrina Townsend has written a really important book that explores – based on her own experience – what consumer culture does to a person. She shares her experiences of compulsive shopping, social media addiction and the way all of this eroded her sense of self. Furthermore she does so without falling into the kind of judgemental puritanism you can find in the newly converted, and also avoids self pity or anything that seems self indulgent. It’s an impressive balancing act and makes the book exceedingly readable.
I came to this book as someone who has always lived fairly lightly and who does not do consumer culture much. I found it an incredibly helpful read because I’ve only ever been able to look at this issue from the outside. I’m glad to know that how I thought consumer culture works is about right. What this book has given me is a greater feeling of compassion for the people caught up in it. If you’re already into the eco-living I can recommend reading this book as a way to develop insight and empathy. Judging people who are in this mess won’t help them. The more we understand how all of this stuff works, the better placed we are to pull people out of it.
My guess is that for anyone caught up in consumer culture, this will be a tremendously helpful book. It exposes the processes by which people become trapped in over-consuming. There’s a lot of good information about the mechanics of the problem, which is bound to be empowering for anyone affected by it. There’s also comfort, reliably, in finding you aren’t alone with a problem and that it’s not some kind of unique, personal failing. There’s so much around consumer culture that is designed to make you feel badly about yourself. Whether you feel like you aren’t living responsibly enough, you feel out of control or you feel like you’re failing by not keeping up, you’ll also feel like you should be able to shop your way out of that. This isn’t an accident.
There isn’t a huge amount of Druidry here – Katrina is new to the path. However, what she’s able to demonstrate is the way in which developing nature based spirituality can really help a person escape from the poisonous grip of consumerism.
I think this book would pair really well with the Earth Spirit title I have coming out next year. Mine comes from the other side, looking at how to live more authentically and sharing what I know from my own experience of having managed to resist some of this culture of throwaway destructiveness. Consumer culture is a big thing to try and escape from, and the idea of taking it down is even more challenging, but our lives depend on it. Life depends on it. The more we can do to share ideas and support each other, the better.
I’m going to finish this with a quote from Katrina that summed a lot of this up for me. This is what we are up against. This is what we have to figure out how to change for everyone: “it took a long time and some serious hard work to break once and for all my association between spending money, and feeling a sense of identity, of self-worth.”
More on the publisher’s website – https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/anticonsumerist-druid-beat-shopping-addiction-nature