Paying for Somebody Else’s Dream

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Havana ATM machine. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Rather than promoting a product for its quality or usefulness, propaganda today is aimed at cultivating the suffocating sensation of needing something, it doesn’t matter if it’s a feeling of artificial need.

It’s something that we are all familiar with, even those of us who allow ourselves to be swept up by it. However, I’m not only referring to consumerism ads on capitalist TV, posters or commercials, I also include fashion on the whole.

Somebody can be happy in a relatively humble abode with a simple TV, a not so flashy but functional phone; with basic clothes and shoes. However, as soon as they see someone with more attractive products (more so if they know this person or whether they are showing off to make you feel inferior), the happiness and peace you felt, vanishes.

However, it’s not only this phenomenon, the environment or better yet, society itself, that is the worst form of propaganda.

A simple example: holidays marked on the global calendar such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, as well as other traditional events. These days are marked by high levels of consumerism, even on this island which has still been pretty separated from unrelenting capitalism, and it’s impossible to visit any kind of store without finding posters to do with the subject.

On the other hand, friends, neighbors, work or study mates, join this out of habit and impose that this be a “special” day.

How many of us haven’t lied about our birthday or holidays being special?

However, this isn’t anything too serious; it gets serious when somebody doesn’t agree with getting caught up in the fuss. Then they are automatically pointed out as being anti-social.

Digging a little deeper into the subject, how many of us haven’t tried smoking at high school? Whether that was because we were asked to, or because everyone else was doing it and you didn’t want to be left out of the group. How many of us haven’t tried alcohol for the same reason?

This is direct proof of how it is possible to assimilate a harmful habit because of social pressure, even though you have to pay for the consequences of this bad habit alone.

However, going beyond consuming harmful pleasures like fashion, when clothes and the latest technology don’t cut it, is the issue of when our bodies become obsolete products.

Many people train extremely hard in order to obtain the figure that the media imposes on us, the figure that will make others accept us, a healthy goal which develops into determination. However, there are some people who pay to get to the finish line as quickly as possible by resorting to shortcuts: voluptuous breasts and fake butt implants, bulging muscles without doing any exercise, or even the chance to free yourself of body fat undergoing dangerous surgery.

Nearly losing your identity in the process, it’s worth asking yourself what is left or what there really was: those dreams that we used find refuge in when we were children, when the world didn’t seem like a race track, where it’s compulsory (not reaching the end because you never get to the end) but to stay among those in front, no matter what the cost.

Kabir Vega

I am a young man whose development in life has not been what many might consider normal or appropriate, but I don’t regret it. Although I am very reserved, I dissent strongly from many things. I believe that society, and not only of Cuba, is wrong and needs to change. I love animals sometimes even more than myself since they lack evil. I am also a fan of the world of Otaku. I started in Havana Times because it allowed me to tell some experiences and perhaps encourage some change in my country. I may be naive in my arguments, but I am true to my principles.

2 thoughts on “Paying for Somebody Else’s Dream

  • Have you been to Miami? Cubans in Miami are more often than not very conspicuous consumers. I believe it is cultural. I’m afraid Kabir is tilting at windmills.

  • Live simple, so others can simply live!

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