Showing than Being
I became curious after reading a small snippet in the business page of a daily, recently. The news item was about the most preferred colour by the customers while purchasing cars. Among the total cars running on the Indian roads, 32% are white in colour, says the report. I began to ask myself, and it dragged me to a thought about the human psyche in general.
Are people in general too crazy about white cars or is it something else that works behind this choice of colour during the purchase? Well, every colour is said to represent something symbolically. In the phenomenon of symbolism colours play an important role. Black is said to symbolize mourning or opposition. Similarly white symbolizes purity and peace.
Throughout human history we see there has been a common urge for an individual to express himself/herself to the society. We all have a subconscious urge to ‘show off’ ourselves to everyone. In the present consumerist societal makeup, this urge has taken a materialistic twist. It’s quite common to see people vouching themselves, for their honesty and nobility. We meet such people every day, and at times we have also been like every other person. And instead of conveying or swearing this in words always, humans prefer to express it through symbolic representations. This is where the materialism comes into the picture.
In India, most of the South Indian politicians prefer to sport white attires. A man with a white shirt and dhothi in most immaculate white possible can easily been assumed as a politician. That has almost become an identity to them. This is nothing but an attempt to boast their purity and honesty and their selfless devotion to the public good. (Whether it’s really true doesn’t matter at all here). Just like their South Indian counterparts, politicians in North India prefer ‘Khadhi’ attires. This is to express that they too share the Gandhian ideology and their people centered mindset, and may their agreement with non-violence. This is the quintessential example to how people are more deliberate in showing than being.
Common public are in no way different from their political top heads. Only their way of showing off differs. In recent years, public figures often mimic politicos in their outfits and style of expressing themselves. This includes actors, business men, bureaucrats and the like.
In every level this ‘showing off’ has become common. In the intellectual strata, we might often encounter people who post selfies with their books shelves at the backdrop or snaps of the pile of books they had recently purchased in the Book fairs. The showing off – at every level in every aspect- attitude is only fanned by the possibilities offered by the social networking platforms.
The over spending middle class exhibits nothing but their urge to identify themselves as rich, even though they really are not. This urge is one of the most important key factors for ever escalating consumerism. When the consumer choices and behaviours are viewed through the social and cultural anthropological lenses, many things may begin to surface up more distinctively and help one to understand the human behavior in any given era.