How supermarket shelves reflect a philosophical emergency

‘Be where your feet are.’

‘Live in the moment.’

‘Enjoy the now.’

Ironically, it is perhaps thanks to the popularity of these adages that their ability to promote any sort of philosophical epiphany has faded.

Nevertheless, our capacity to grasp the gravity of this message requires an unprecedented urgency.

Indeed, then considering our lives’ trajectories, we have developed an increased tendency to skim through certain pages, or skip whole chapters all together, deeming what’s written there to be negligible – surely these small, forgettable moments add nothing to the narrative? We hurriedly flick through pages in our haste to get to ‘what really matters.’

I have recently found this phenomenon glaring at me from supermarket shelves, as conspicuous as a tiger amongst tabby cats: it was still October, yet Halloween had been shoved from the spotlight. It was still October, yet the supermarkets had become a Christmas cornucopia. In fact, I was surprised (but by no means disappointed) to find that the music being played was definitively not festive.

Wandering the aisles, however, I got the impression that the elephant in the room was not actually visible, much less ignored: the appearance of tinsel and advent calendars, despite December being two months away, seemed instead to illicit excitement and anticipation.

In our effort to prolong the magical season and rinse as much enjoyment from it as possible, we have fallen victim to a long-sighted mentality, attempting to mould November into part of the holiday period, failing to acknowledge it as a month in its own right. Certainly, bonfire-themed products have received comparatively little airtime in relation to those centred around Christmas, a crystal-clear reflection of the varying significance we have attached to their respective months.

This phenomenon is further perpetuated by the dominance of social media in daily life: more often than not, our feeds are filled with special occasions and moments of the year which are thought to bare the most significance, such as birthdays, or travels. Though these events are undeniably important, their monopoly over what is posted on social media convinces us that these are the only things that hold any real value in our lives.

On this note, I urge you to reconsider, and read the pages where ‘nothing really happens’ with the same rapture and attention that is given to those which recount major, defining moments. After all, it is the pages describing conversations I have with my friends, my morning cup of tea, and my dog’s ever-wagging tail, that I will never tire of re-reading.

Featured image: by Kevin Malik via Pexels

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