Thursday, August 12, 2010

High School Junior Writes About What Matters

The Deepest Desires of Mankind

By Elizabeth Barney, Grade 11

Materialism has been defined as the belief that physical well-being and worldly possessions hold the greatest goods and highest values in life. People have become so successful at fabricating and manipulating the world that we have come to believe that altering our surroundings is the way to solve our problems. Due to these assumptions, materialism now directs our lives. Humans identify themselves and others by beauty, power, and wealth.

The 20th century has seen a huge upsurge in the importance of physical beauty, particularly in women. The fashion, cosmetics, and plastic surgery industries have thrived on the preoccupation that affects women in every sphere, whether they choose to pander to it or not. Alissa Quart wrote, “Youth is nothing less than a metaphor for change.” Kids are just trying to establish their identities (Colson 127). From puberty onwards, young girls are pressured by the media to look a certain way. This is nothing more than grooming young girls to be the sexual objects young men want them to be (Colson 137). Beauty is the beast that drives females to depression (McDowell 169). Without beauty people often feel powerless.

Power is what people have come to see as a capacity to impose control on others and their own unruly emotions. Power comes from taking advantage of differences between people. Humanists believe that man is sincerely capable of delivering himself and his world from all evils without the help of any god (McDowell 189). Napoleon Bonaparte, a former leader in France, had this exact belief. Bonaparte even once said, “I love power. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.” (

Barack Obama is another person that is going to go down in history as one who hungers for power. He has said, “Yes, we can change. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future.”( Obama believes that he can fix the problems of the world with his own power and control. This is evident in how aggressively he climbed to the top in the political world. Humans, especially men – in the military, in the church, in the work place – quickly arrange themselves vertically, according to their power and control. In many cases, the higher someone is on the economic ladder, the higher they are on the power ladder.

NARAL, America’s most powerful abortion organization, hits the right chords when it comes to wealth and promoting. Their website is full of “fun and crazy ways” to push for abortion and to recruit more followers (Colson 54). This is a prime example of how America is being consumed by materialism. NARAL vindicates their argument about killing babies simply for more money. In one general hospital abortion brought $68,000.00 in a ten-year period (Lutzer 105). The world not only justifies killing babies but it also justifies the porn industry. Selling sex is one of the oldest businesses in the world, and right now, business has never been better. Pornography brings America at least $3.9 billion dollars a year ( People are becoming so blinded by material things, such as money, that they are completely forgetting about moral values.

American society has been in hot pursuit of everything that is killing our souls. We spend millions of dollars a year seeking the ideal physical images to find our inner peace. Some of us think we can find that “peace” by being revered by those we have stepped on to get to the top. Others walk through life with their vision completely clouded by dollar signs. All of us have holes in our hearts that we long to fill, but will these materialistic aspirations make us complete? Are physical attributions, authority, and monetary gain really the greatest good and highest value in life?

The world seeks after things that aren’t going to satisfy their deepest desires. They’re deceived into believing that the emptiness they feel can easily be fixed by pursuing everything but the Truth. God created mankind intentionally to hunger for Him and only Him. Beauty, power, and wealth will never bring us true joy; A personal relationship with Christ is the only medicine.

Works Cited

Ackamn, Dan. "How Big is Porn?" Forbes Online. 25 May 2001.

Bonaparte, Napoleon. Xplore Incorporated. 17 May 2010.

Colson, Charles. Lies That Go Unchallenged in Popular Culture. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Incorporated, 2005.

Lutzer, Erwin W. Twelve Myths American Believe. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1993.

McDowell, Josh. Don't Check Your Brains at the Door. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 1992.

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