Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Empty selves at Starbucks

"Walk into a participating Starbucks with your laptop, iPhone, or iPod touch and buy whatever’s playing — along with millions of songs on iTunes — while your latte cools."

Now you can listen and buy songs at the Starbucks from you own laptop... "while your latte cools". God, that's what I always needed! I can imagine Apple had thought: "what can we do now to make even more money?". And who can blame them? After all, it's the very notion of consumerism that is keeping the modern economies running. But at what price? Clearly, this latest move by apple doesn't meet a public need. As a matter of fact, it's the dumbest product I have seen in years.

I don't want to be moralistic in this. But perhaps, it is appropriate to quote Philip Cushman, introducing the notion of "empty self" as a characterizing feature of human beings in modern societies.

"The empty self is soothed and made
cohesive by becoming "filled up" with food, consumer
products, and celebrities.... The two professions most responsible
for healing the empty self, advertising and psychotherapy,
find themselves in a bind: They must treat a psychological
symptom without being able to address its historical
causes. Both circumvent the bind by employing the lifestyle
solution, a strategy that attempts to heal by covertly
filling the empty self with the accoutrements, values, and
mannerisms of idealized figures. This strategy solves an
old problem but creates new ones..." (Cushman, 1990, p. 600).

Read his entire artice here. (pdf)