“Two Cheers For Materialism” The Author James Twitchell

1638 words - 7 pages

In the article, "Two Cheers for Materialism" the author James Twitchell states that "We live
through things. We create ourselves through things. And we change ourselves by changing our things."
By saying that the author implies that we humans are materialistic beings and we consider our
possessions as extensions of our self. Later in the article Twitchell says that "possessions are
definitions," which complements the previous quote and also generalizes his overall idea that objects we
own define our place in the materialistic society. This idea is something which has been a point of
controversy for quite some time as even though the "realists" agree with the idea, the "idealists" tend to
deviate from it because they focus more on the concepts of spirituality and internal growth. They believe
in the concept that the things we do define us more than the things we own. I cannot agree or disagree
with either of the beliefs because I can draw references from the real world to qualify and establish both
of those ideas.
There is no denying that we live in a world where success is defined more by the materialistic
terms like home, car and money in general and less by more subtle and innate ideas like family, friends,
community, health and happiness. I would like to provide a personal example from my life to support
the fact. I was raised in a small town in India where almost every parent wishes their daughter or son to
be an engineer because they want their kids to get a better paying job after they graduate school and
then go abroad and settle down in a big house. Here, all the parents joined this race to train their kids to
become future engineers and send them to The US, because all the parents have the same notion for
success, a notion based on materialistic terms. It is rather fortunate that I really enjoy Computer
Engineering or else I would be like the rest of my friends who were coerced into majors they do not like
just so that they and the parents themselves can meet the societal definitions of success. The parents
couldn't care less about exploring the kids talent and encouraging their kids to choose the major of his

or her liking so that they can be happy in what they wish to pursue. Here we can see that the parents,
and the society as a whole, is giving importance to the materialistic values to define their place in the
These materialistic possessions not only define our social identity but they also serve as
prerequisites to obtaining happiness and satisfaction. We use the objects as means to an end, and by
doing so we allow these objects to create our experiences, and achievements. I have a lot of personal
goals I wish to accomplish and one of them is to buy a huge house near the beach, along with a huge list
of other things like a piano, a huge flat screen, and a Lamborghini Murcielago. I want these things not
because they define my success or because they give me some social value, but because I have created
this mental barrier...

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