You are more than a mouth

Open mouth

I don’t like the word “consumer.”

When someone calls me a “consumer,” they’re making a political statement. They’re saying that I’m basically the same thing as a single-celled organism. I’m a creature the point of whose entire existence can be summed up as eating products and shitting money.

Like all living things, I consume. I consume light and food and water, and by doing so, I stay alive. But those acts of consumption are not who I am. They are the mechanisms of life, not the point of it.

Human beings have free will, and because of that, we do more than just consume. We create, we build. We make art, and philosophy, and love. And when we make love, we do more than just perpetuate our species; we make statements to each other, statements of commitment and devotion, that no other animal makes. We build monuments to each other out of bricks we fashion from our own clay.

So when people ask why Americans are willing to fight each other over cheap plastic baubles on Black Friday, I wonder if we don’t plant the seeds for such behavior when we teach people to think of themselves as consumers. If you are taught that you are just a maw into which products can be stuffed, it should come as no surprise when you act like that is true.

But it is not true. You are better than that, more than that. You are a noble creation, a consciousness illuminated by a bright, ineffable spark.

You are more, so much more, than a mouth.