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Mingjie Liu (Ben)

Sociology Online
Project 1: Video/DVD Analysis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk1i7UGBz1Q
The video I watched is by Erin Janus. She believes that everyone in the world has fallen into the
trap of materialism. She claims that the way human beings are living are very dependent on
things. She believes that if you have clothes, electronics, shelter, and a little bit of money, then
you are living in the top 10% of the population, considering the amount of people that are dying
of thirst, hunger, and unmanageable impoverished country. Right now, people in the U.S. are
obsessed with things. Materials have become a motivator for most people. The way the economy
of a country can only survive if people buy THINGS. She believes that a lot of THINGS in the
house can be thrown away because it is just a way of entangling yourself with things and also
when youre entangled with things, you are only going to seek for buy better and things. Today, a
lot of people are trying to keep up with technology and luxurious things. Although, their phone
or computer is not even close to breaking down, but if a newer version releases, they would have
desires for it. As they are being satisfied with new and better things. People from third-world
countries or impoverished countries and suffering for our desires. Animals are suffering as well.
Everyone should consider how many people are dying when they are trying to satisfy their
desires. Every item someone purchases can actually save a life. Adam Smith believed in
capitalism and promote competition. He can be the reason why so many people are so
materialistic because he gave everyone the ability to purchase THINGS. No one needs to live in
a mansion. She wonders what people are living for. A question she asked was Are we living for
things? Or Are we living to share this beautiful place with the future generations who have not

yet enjoyed a little bit of this planet. A majority of the human population are obsessed with things
and believe that things determines reputation, level of happiness, and our emotions. People spend
so much time buying things to decorate a house thats already nice. However, all the items and
going to rot and become dust for future generation.
She has successfully motivated me to rethink the way I live my life. I believe that I have
fallen the trap of materialism just like everyone else. I have never considered the consequences
that occurs every time I purchase things. Considering all those people that are suffering, I feel
like I have no right to complain about my life because I am currently living a life that is filled
with opportunities and a chance to make the planet a better place to live for the future
generations. Also, she makes me want to change the third-world countries and have the people
suffering to enjoy what we are enjoying because all human beings are equal and we share this
planet so they deserve what we have.
I believe that Karl Marx thinks materialism shapes the society because he studies the
economic conflict between social classes. In a world of materialism, materials determines
reputation, level of happiness, and wealth. Having expensive materials is considered to be
wealthy in a first-world country. It automatically condition people to think that in order to have a
good standard of living, they must buy nice cars, nice clothes, and a nice house. Celebrities own
a house that can contain like 45 rooms. The question is is that really necessary?. Karl Marxs
on historical materialism states that, the engine of history rests in the internal contradictions in
the system of material production (Harvey 3). In other words, people produce produce the
things they need for survival. Which connects back to the video. The only reason why people are
so motivated to purchase so many new things because they believe that without these good

things there is no survival. People in modern and first countries would not want to live if they do
not posses the items they have today.
Comte believes in the laws of society which are the three stages. The first stage is the
theological stage. Humans are always dominated by their mind as it was aforementioned in the
video. Comte believes that there are living spirits in objects. Which relates to materialism
because a lot of consumers believe that objects provide their mind a good feeling since many
people are dominated by the mind. It is interesting because today a lot of people decorate their
houses with different furniture because there may be living spirits behind it. In Asia, many homes
possess materials that are spiritual. The positive stage is a more affective way of materialism. It
represents the scientific way of thinking. Today, technology has advanced to a very high level,
and a lot of people are trying to be modernize and keep up with technology. Comte would
probably agree with consumers buying electronic materials because thats how people are going
to connect with each other. Without communication and connection, there will be no society.
Emily Durkheim believed that the society before is made up of simple shared values,
religion, and symbols. Common shared purpose and values is the key to computing a society.
However, today, people are very differential in values, religion and symbols. With that being
said, Durkheim would probably not a favor of materialism. He would understand Erin Janus in
the video that people should understand that there should not be separation of people satisfying
and people suffering. The world is shared by all people, so there shouldnt be people sacrificing
for peoples luxurious desires. We live in a variety of different symbols and values. Materials for
instance have so many symbols and stories behind it. Some people believe Diamond represents
love and some people do not agree. There are so much differences among the people right now,
therefore Durkheim would probably think materialism has cause social order to disrupt.

I think this video relates a lot to functionalism. Functionalism sees society as a structure
with interrelated parts designed to meet biological and social needs of individuals who make up
that society. It is so true in the society we live in today because so many people agree that having
a lot of luxurious materials makes us happy and its the path to happiness. Which is to buy new
things. Possessing items would make us happier and have a huge motivator for our success.
However, that may be wrong. I believe nothing is more wealthier than living life to its fullest.

Reference
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk1i7UGBz1Q

http://routledgesoc.com/category/profile-tags/historical-materialism
http://study.com/academy/lesson/emile-durkheims-theories-functionalism-anomie-and-divisionof-labor.html