Are you a Consumer?


“The opposite of consumption is production. It takes far more time and energy to create something than to consume something. It takes a novelist a year to write a book that someone can read in a few days…[often] our only recreational activities are actions of consumption.”
— Albert Hsu, The Suburban Christian: Finding Spiritual Vitality in the Land of Plenty


H/T:Joshua Blankenship


37 Responses to “Are you a Consumer?”

  1. Might be true ..but i know an exception ………

    in INDIA we produce more liquor than what we consume.

    thanks to our govt. its making India a drunken STATE.

  2. Aren’t we all?

    I’ve paid my dues in the producing department….or is that REproducing department? heehee

    Seriously though, we are all consumers. The question should be, are we producing enough? 😉

  3. Indianwebdesign, you went to spam so I deleted your link to get you through. hopefully your not here just for sales. if not…Welcome!

    I would say however that this quote does not speak to commercial production, but to personal production. We more often take than give. It is a good challenge to think about how we approach life. Are we serving or enslaving…ourselves or others

    Brandy, your right, we are all consumers, but think of it from a personal responsibility perspective. What should we focus on?

  4. i am certainly a consumer, but hopefully what i consume will fuel the production of God-inspired works

  5. Hey Cool Dad, nice perspective. I like that.

  6. 6 Benny Greenberg

    Interesting concept – Production vs. Consumption.

    I think I need to write a post on my blog about the deeper meanings of this – or at least expand on the comment I am going to leave here.

    Production: In the simplest of terms we were “produced” and given life. How we consume our lives and how we allow our lives to be consumed is much deeper a statement than the ideas of over saturating the Indian market with cheap hooch.

    Are our lives consumed with positive thoughts, creating positive results making a positive world? Are we consumed by negative thoughts, always dwelling on the negative, spewing negative ideas and being the downer who needs the over-abundance of cheap Indian hooch to temporarily delay the inevitable?

    That may be the difference between the products that are the result of our consumption. Is what is left over after our lives are consumed pure waste material – or is there something special there – something that will live on. Have you allowed you life to be consumed by a plan, an aim or a goal to leave a mark on society; a bright, cheery and positive mark? Have you gone out of your way to make a difference, lend a helping hand, volunteer or spread a positive outlook

    Interesting concept… Indeed

    Procasti-NATION must fall!

  7. Benny, welcome!

    I absolutely love your thoughts here. I think you’ve nailed it as I see it playing out in my head. We inevitably consume. No, we require consumption. But crap in…crap out. (Very biblical principle by the way)

    “Is what is left over after our lives are consumed pure waste material – or is there something special there – something that will live on.”

    Very well put!

  8. 8 Benny Greenberg

    Well – Ya know – My momma done sent me off to college – and I learned nothing – then I decided to get on with life – and lookie here – I got me some smarts…

    Thanks for the comment on my comment – I was serious though – I may just need to delve deeper into that comment on a post – Thanks for the thought-inducing question/statement…

    My pleasure – and I will continue to read this blog – for sure!


  9. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your post!

  10. I think, individually, when it comes to tangibles, we all consume more than we produce. Unless we are going to try and decide what products are more meaningful than others. Back in the day I used to compare, unfavorably, my meaningful productivity, as a restaurateur, to those who did ‘important’ things like brain surgeons, vaccine researchers, aeronautical engineers,teaching,pastors etc etc. Until one day a very bright guy, an emergency room physician, said to me; “Thank God guys like you do what you do. If I couldn’t go out to dinner with my wife at least once a week I’d go nuts.”

    So, we all give, and we all take. I think what’s important is how we appreciate what we get and from whom we’re getting it.

  11. Hi B, I can’t think of a much more mondane existence than one where you sit every week, day in and day out, recieve worship, recieve the Word, recieve, and take in, yet never give out. You’ve told me before a long time ago, and I’ve tried to live that way since, that it’s not about us ever. It’s about what He does through us and allows us to do for Him that counts…If we just take and take, we become chubby Christians… 😯 The best example I can think of is the Dead Sea. It recieves and recieves, but there’s no flow, no way to release, and it truly is dead. I pray I never stagnate to that degree….you can’t outgive God, but it sure is fun and rewarding to try! Thanks for your prayers, we leave in the with you soon 🙂

  12. Christian, “from who were getting it” Agreed…that is a biggie for me. Seems that if we are to be filled, it needs to be healthy.

    Deb, I agree with you. As we have tasted of God’s spiritual blessings, we understand how sweet it is. there are many that will choose to live as consumers, because they feel it is comfortable. I like your dead Sea analogy.

    We are praying for you and Jerry and Mom!

  13. 13 TheNorEaster

    Whoever came up with the idea that it takes a novelist a year to write a book…

    …Never wrote a book someone would read in a few days.

    Or at all.

  14. Haha! I wondered if any authors would pick up on that. It probably doesn’t need to be said but I am sure the author was just trying to place some sort of time comparisn in the picture to make his point.

  15. If I am not putting at least as much into this society as I am taking out than someone else has to pick up my slack or our society starts to fall apart. That is how a society collapses. I think that is basically what happened in Russia.

    When we collectively begin to produce more than we take in, these surplus resources allow our society to improve itself.

    Helping someone means making more friends. My support circle gets bigger for when I will need help. If I hurt someone I make an enemy who will make my life more difficult.

    I hold the door for someone my reward is a smile, or a thank you. I close the door on someone I get a frown, maybe even a punch in the nose. 🙂

    I think production can be quantified many different ways. Making friends and helping people are things that produce a better society. Improving communications between people by blogging is another way of putting something back into our society.

    I am not sure where sitting on my couch stuffing my face watching baseball games,or farting contest, fit in. 🙂

  16. Without consumption there would be no production! Unlike God we cannot produce something from nothing (no consumption).

    You are correct B, in saying it matters more What (and Why) we consume what we consume… and what it causes us to ‘produce’ as a result.

    Crap in – Crap out. Bodies and minds!

    On a personal level (and more ‘off topic’) we no longer have the luxury of not considering our LEVELS of consumption.

    The world now has almost 6.5 BILlION human beings and the number is increasing rapidly.

    Increasing more rapidly still is the lifestyle of the ‘average’ human and that equates to a MASSIVE rise in consumption. (and pollution – our ‘waste’)

    To give you an idea of the problem here…

    If all of us lived equally – on par with the ‘average’ American – we would need to have FIVE entire planets identical with ours (four minus the humans) to support the current consumption level!!!

    That level of consumption is NOT ‘sustainable’ – neither is is ‘acceptable’ truth be known.

    It is our PERSONAL consumtion habits that contribute to this so it is OUR responsibility to fix it – we can no longer hide our heads in the sand!

    The economic imperative to increase profit infinitely (profit comes from production – consumption of ‘product’) is madness and impossible to sustain. Neither is it of God. Our limited finite planet requires a plateau of production vs consumption as Nature ensures in every part of herself. We are not listening or acting accordingly – yet.

    We will be forced to do so soon – if not by our governemnts, by Nature and God.

    Start figuring out what you can (will have to) live without.

    And what you can DO (produce) to help make the transition easier on your kids!

    It just might give you a better way to find God in the process!

    love <B

  17. Ed, a basic Biblical principle is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. You’ve spoken to that nicely. Extending a hand in relationship is always going to be bless all parties involved.

    “I am not sure where sitting on my couch stuffing my face watching baseball games,or farting contest, fit in.”

    Seem to work fine at my house 🙂

    Love, Well said,

    “The economic imperative to increase profit infinitely…is madness and impossible to sustain.”

    I think this is exactly why America is the most wasteful of all people (I won’t say nations, cause it boils down to individuals being responsible). America is a country of “need more”. It’s taught and encouraged everywhere you look.

    “We are not listening or acting accordingly – yet…We will be forced to do so soon – if not by our governemnts, by Nature and God.”

    Yes, and I honestly believe America is going to have to answer to this first (either to nature or God).

  18. I don’t do anything; I don’t produce anything; all I do is help rich companies save/make more money.

    My particular talent is that I can find something wrong with anything. I don’t see the value in this in most cases, however. The tricky part is always fixing the problems – not in identifying the problems. Still, I see things that others overlook or flat-out miss. In the IT world that is useful (in that I get paid well to perform this activity).

    It used to be that the country’s economic health was measured (in part) by its Gross National Product (GNP) or simply by what it produced. Today this economic indicator has been replaced (really superceded) by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This indicator is comprised of such components as consumption (personal spending), investments, and government spending.

    This in and of itself is telling…

  19. “It used to be that the country’s economic health was measured (in part) by its Gross National Product (GNP) or simply by what it produced. Today this economic indicator has been replaced (really superceded) by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This indicator is comprised of such components as consumption (personal spending), investments, and government spending.”

    Seems to me this is really dangerous and telling as you have said. We are no longer interested in production, but instead consumption. That works it’s way from the commercial market into our lifestyles, homes and kids. Kind of scary!

    We used to go to war to help or save. Now we go for strategy. We used to give aid to other countries because it was right, now we do it for political power. We used to use our countries resources and live less dependent on other countries resources to ease recessions, now we just hand out “tax refunds” that they hope we’ll buy a TV with to drive up the economy.

    This just doesn’t seem right. And from what I see in our political process, this will never change, cause we don’t have leaders that live any differently than the people who voted them in.

  20. 20 Benny Greenberg

    As I said – Yesterday/Today was a thought-inspiring day – thanks to your blog-post.
    And I said I would let you know when it wrote my post.
    In the positive spirit needed to eliminate Procrasti-NATION.

    Here it is:

    Thanks for your inspiration!


  21. Awesome post Benny!

  22. Along the lines of where some of the comments have taken us — the US really does not produce consumables anymore… not like it used to at any rate. We import consumables like oil, food, appliances, and clothing. We export (produce) primarily ahhh… art (and technology). Music, Movies, Television, … I think “Entertainment” as measured in dollars, is our number one export/product.

  23. Except for food and agricultural products. Still doing pretty good there. But wait until the farms switch over to ethanol production. Food prices will go through the roof.

  24. “I think “Entertainment” as measured in dollars, is our number one export/product.”

    Seems to lend itself to the idea of being a consumer verse being a producer.

  25. 25 Benny Greenberg

    Just wanted to let you know – I have moved and since you are the inspiration of my latest post – you should know where I went

    Again – thanks for the Inspiration


  26. Gotcha Benny. thanks again for your great perspective on this.


  27. 27 Amy

    I love that quote. I am going to forward it to my MIL Dave. That quote reminds me too that if we expect excellence in what we do that we need to take time to cultivate our gifts, talents, media, ability to share the Gospel…

  28. Ahh Ric? I can think of one area the US EXCELS in producing consumables…

    Weapons of Mass Destruction! (Atomic, biologic and chemical – not forgetting radio-active – you all have to put your waste from all those nuclear reactors somewhere’s right – what better place than Afghanistan and Irag? (Depleted Uranium shells and armour plating))

    and not-so-mass destruction – weapons of war and for ‘peace’ at home – in the bedroom.

    You folks might like to ponder on that a while??? Are you happy for your government to keep on doing it?

    Can’t afford not to – huh? Your economy and safety would suffer too much?

    Fear is a wonderful method of crowd control!

    I wonder when we’ll all come around to a love-based economy?

    love <B

  29. Amy, it is an awesome quote. Really makes you think about what you are doing in life.

    Love, “Love based economy:” What are you selling 🙂

    Actually, that sounds pretty good!

  30. B – whatever He approves me selling! 🙂

    How about…..

    love-battery’s ??

    They are devices that you use to power any smallish electic item – from torches to i-phones that are 100% re-useable and do not consume chemicals or require mains recharging, but utilise mechanical power (supplied by the user through their own exertion/input) to generate the direct current (under 1 amp!)

    Good for the planet (no more waste batteries) and good for you – win-win!

    love <B

  31. Love, I was thinking mentioning the weapons export but its a distant 3rd to Hollywood and technology (intel, apple, microsoft). Then again, it may not be so distant if we knew the unreported/secret $$$ being transacted… And yes, 9/11 and the Bush administration has created a society guided (driven?) by fear.

    “Are you happy for your government to keep on doing it?” … Watch this year’s elections, that should answer your question. Some people, possibly many, would answer you YES. Come November, you and I will get to see what the majority wants.

    “weapons of war and for ‘peace’ at home – in the bedroom?” Are you back to** Viagra again? Can I lump pharmaceuticals in with technology?

    “I wonder when we’ll all come around to a love-based economy.” When every knee will bow and every tongue confess…

    ** I had on initially but decided to edit that.

  32. “Love Battery’s”

    I think your on to something 🙂

    Ric, One of the things that bug me in our political process is the “outcry” of the people is generally not backed up by action. I don’t think people should be allowed to complain about change unless they are willing to get involved for change.

    I am excited to see what is going to happen this fall!

  33. The porn industry makes more $$$ than all the major sports (football, basketball, baseball) combined.

  34. Oooooohh nice one B4d! – I think a lot of net porn is produced outside the US now though 😉

    lol @ Ric! – i had meant handguns for personal ‘protection’ in the bedroom Ric – not the ‘other’ kind of protection! ( or ‘weapon’ 😯 )

    I HAD forgotten about Microsoft (wishful thinking?) as a US product – and i was thinking armament manufacture was the most unforgiveable thing you guys produce!!!

    Shows you how wrong a(n aussie) guy can be huh? 😉

    Here’s hoping the majority see it MY way in Nov.

    love <B

  35. Hey Love and Bad, I read an article regarding porn production after you left your message Bad. Japan is the highest in production. they produce 60% of porn in the world…insane! The US was in the 30’s. The reporters did put in a footnote though. they said there is no ay to truly measure the US’s production because it is not monitored. So there is the possibility that the US has a much higher percentage than is noted.

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