Define: Materialism

Materialism, material (n.) + ism. Material, the matter from which something is made. Ism, a specific, identifiable practice or philosophy. Word first formed in 1748. “Philosophy that nothing exists except matter” (Harper, 2017). Modern concept: the idea that that which is material (i.e. purchasable, tangible, “stuff”, “things”) is valued highly and over things of spiritual value (i.e. kindness, happiness). Self-worth found in dollar signs rather than in introspection. An obsession with what one can hold not what one can conceive or percept. Held up by social constructs and normatives. Where people tend to appropriate their funds. Does not advocate for individuality or any realization of the self. However, deserves credit in the fact that it projects a message about a person but generally not that of being unique rather instead saying “I belong”. Tells miles about a society, as to what is considered “in”, what it values, what defines belonging, and what separates people into “others”.


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