Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | November 19, 2012

Buy Nothing (or buy a book from a small press)

Soon the insanity will begin. Mothers will fight each other over the latest baby doll; fathers will come to blows over a television set; old ladies will be crushed in stampedes to get the latest video games. This is how late capitalism celebrates the birth of a child in a manger, a symbol of simplicity and the rejection of the valuing of money over life, of spending over living. If only we could buy the right gift, the logic goes, we could make up for all the things we didn’t do over the past year.

Of course, the shopping addiction, like all addictions, doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.  A momentary high, followed by a crash and a return to the stark reality. Even more guilt and, in time, more shopping. It is no small irony that the high priests (otherwise known as “economists”) of an economic system based upon convincing people to buy things they do not need with money they do have now lecture us on “fiscal responsibility” and the utter evil of debt. Here are some alternatives:

If buying one of my books leads you to feel you are participating in the insanity, please don’t. I strongly encourage everyone to participate in “buy nothing day” on so-called “black friday.” But I acknowledge that many of us will feel compelled to buy something during the holidays. And there is nothing inherently wrong with buying a gift. But if you do buy gifts, consider two things: (1) buy from a small business, one that will most benefit those doing the work and will not contribute to the corporatocracy; (2) buy art, something that will not plug us in and tune us out, but will help us to come alive, deepen our inner lives and fortify communities.

My own publishers, Hiraeth Press and Homebound Publications, were created for the explicit purpose of transforming our way of thinking about the world through literature. In supporting them, you not only spend your money at a business that won’t be buying off politicians, you will also be learning and sharing ideas that use “creativity to transform consciousness, both individually and socially.” They were committed to revolution through poetry long before the Wall Street protests. This is where the role of the writer comes in: while the philosophy is brought forth through collective action, it is synthesized through the philosopher, the poet, the writer. Indeed, protest movements cannot and will not survive without poets. For the new paradigm they seek can only be expressed through the poetic voice.

The above titles, including The Crucifixion, are available through Homebound Press’s holiday gift set. You can still buy The Crucifixion here. It is available on Amazon and elsewhere, of course, but buying directly from a small publishing house benefits both the small business and the author most.

Finally, the above titles are available as a non-fiction gift set from Hiraeth Press, including Cosmosophia.

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