Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Consumption. This word has far too many definitions. Whether the word is used in the context pertaining to the things we eat and actually digest or the things we watch, read, and learn about each day. I've heard the word used to describe how a fire engulfs a building; I've heard it used as an old term for wasting away of the body, particularly from Tuberculosis (TB). Someone who had tuberculosis seemed literally to be consumed by the disease.

 In economics, consumption is defined in its comparison to production. Then there's the common "consumption of alcohol" that may be one of the most common uses of the word which correlates with the digestion of food/beverages. As I continued to crunch on this word and its many uses in our language, I, of course, had nowhere to turn but Google, who provided me with the below 6 definitions for theword consumption:
1.The using up of a resource
  • industrialized countries should reduce their energy consumption
2.The eating, drinking, or ingesting of something

  • liquor is sold for consumption off the premises
3.An amount of something that is used up or ingested
  • a daily consumption of 15 cigarettes
4.The purchase and use of goods and services by the public
  • an article for mass consumption
5.The reception of information or entertainment, esp. by a mass audience
  • his confidential speech was not meant for public consumption
6.A wasting disease, esp. pulmonary tuberculosis
Why is it that it is so common to view this word in a negative context? Most definitely consumption, in its many forms, is a vital part of our lives on this planet. However, if we consider the definitions above, some types are more vital than others. As I continued to ponder the wordand its many uses, I moved from a "definition" search on Google to an "image" search. Some ofthe most interesting images that popped up in the search results are posted below:

It was very interesting how difficult it was to find an image that reflected any sort of positive perception of consumption. I have only known the word to have negative connotations. Is there a positive way to consume? OR is the only positive way to consume done "in moderation"? Moderation entails the opposite of the definition of consumption that we have come to understand. After pondering our cultures overuse of this word this afternoon, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to consume in a culture that is guilty of over consumption is to back it off from an 11, and dial it down to maybe, let's say a 4.5. I's necessary to consciously make the decision to consume less. That's going to mean, smaller portions at mealtime, being selective about the content that I spend time reading/watching online (news, blogs, information, videos, social media etc.); spending less money at fewer places, and using fewer resources; moderating consumption!