Are you exhausted by the present moment? Meditate on the future
Who would dream of living in the future? According to OpinionWay, 3/4 of 18-24 year olds are afraid of the future. That's a lot. At Seenk, the teams are sad to note that every time we hear about the future, it is sometimes dystopian, sometimes collapsological, and in all cases... tragic.
Is it the predicted depletion of resources that frightens us? Our future health concerns? The fear of 'maybe' not having a pension? Consuming the present is therefore more comforting than thinking about tomorrow: a godsend for our friends the brands. However, without falling into the trap of Hollywood musicals, don't they have a stronger role to play, don't they carry within them the power to reinvent our conflicting relationship with time ? To talk to us about progress, to talk to us about restore confidence in the future ?
Too much of the present kills the present.
Burger at midnight? Call Uber. The last volume of Last Man on release day? Thank you Amazon. The present is becoming the time when all our desires and desires are combined. Sociologist Eva Illouz says that emotion has become a commodity that can be consumed in the moment. We Instagram the most (or least) beautiful moments of our lives, we "savour the moment" with Coca-Cola, we drink Nescafé "for those moments that count". The Mood Booster playlist is a hit on Spotify. We are absorbed in the present, reduced to its purest transience. By advocating instant gratification of desires, brands reduce hesitation time, ensuring the act of purchase: "A desire. A car", no time to procrastinate with OuiCar.
We are then caught up in a never-ending quest to maximise pleasure. A welfare race that puts the enjoyment of the moment first, a solitary enjoyment that turns into an obsession. Whether in asceticism or in excess, our thirst for pleasure becomes autarkic, it turns in on itself, anchored in the satisfaction of a feeling trapped in the immediate.
This is a time of frustration.
Despite a real desire to reconnect with the present – to meditate, to travel, to cocoon – we seem less and less able to enjoy it. What was once exceptional and sought after - immediacy, unlimited, best price, all-in-one, etc. - is now becoming the basic norm. - is now becoming a basic standard. This increases our expectations of brands. A parcel that arrives late becomes unbearable. Whereas 15 years ago, we were only two days away. The all-at-once approach seems to lead to an ever greater desire for control and control, the opposite of relaxation and appreciation of the present.
Capitalism, however built on a sense of frustration, lhas made it intolerable. Netflix has accustomed us to binge-watching, watching a series in one go to escape the wait for weekly broadcasts. Tinder encourages us to swipe and be free as his latest campaign proclaims. We are trapped in a present from which we are absent. For our contemporary Gilles Lipovetsky, "these private pleasures lead to a wounded happiness". For the less contemporary Epicurus, only those pleasures that will not lead to suffering are worthwhile. Enjoying the present cautiously (i.e. in a limited way): a virtue lost forever?
Progress is about the future.
The prevailing discourse is Carpe Diem: pick the day so as not to think about tomorrow. But by living in the present at all costs, even if it means drowning in it and closing in on ourselves, are we not collectively giving in to a form of consensual denial of tomorrow and the consequences of our actions and purchases?
Against the current of this dynamic, a growing number of brands are inviting us to think about tomorrow. And to take part in it. An example is Tentree, a clothing and footwear brand, which places the implementation of a societal project - in this case reforestation - at the heart of its model. Business plan, branding, communication... everything is organised around a single objective: replanting trees. Which goes to show that you can sell a good business while doing it. The same principle applies to Tony's Chocolonely, which works to guarantee a "slave free" chocolate. Both of these initiatives are committed to the idea of progress and are resolutely inclusive. The consumer is always involved in the adventure. Happy to have bought myself a jumper from Tentree, I can follow the planting of the 10 trees I initiated on an interactive map. Tony's Chocolonely bars are unevenly divided to illustrate the inequality in the chocolate industry. Biting into it, I know what I am fighting against, me too.
While the time is ripe for innovation, innovation for innovation's sake disconnected from any ideal of progress is devoid of purpose. Brands have a growing opportunity to reinvest in the future. Comforting because of the hope it raises, it is also credible when it is based on measurable actions. This opens up a new and (relatively) unexplored horizon.