I remember meeting up with some old friends of mine from college on a trip back to India several years ago. This was in Delhi and we decided to go to a restaurant for dinner. The place might have been in the posh locale of Connaught place but my memory isn't the most reliable when it comes to these things. What I do remember though with much vividness were the exorbitant food prices there and what surprised me more than anything else was how comfortable everybody else was with them. The prices were dearer than what they would have been in the US if I had made a direct conversion to the USD. This time when I went to India I noticed a place selling a cup of coffee for Rs. 300 which is equivalent to around $5. It'd be hard to find a 5 dollar coffee in the US outside of the yuppie circuses.

And it is really a circus. Both here and back in India. A circus which is made up of people who have more money than brains and whose utter lack of appreciation for the value of things is rivaled only by the maniacal consumptive streak that they exhibit like pack animals. This consumptive streak is not accidental either. It is their substitute for any real meaning to their lives, any real issues and agendas, any intellectual or emotional depth, and any structure which might transcend their own individual selves or their own futile lives. This is the emergence of a new kind of human being, one whose dawn perhaps coincided with the prosperity which followed the West after the second world war. The kind of prosperity which can now be found in parts of India and China as well. This is the emergence of Nietzsche's last man. A person entirely defined by market relationships. In some sense I actually do not mind the high prices themselves as I understand that the prices of things are what people are ready to pay for them. What I do mind are the kind of people who are ready to pay these prices. I do mind the kind of society that these people constitute. I imagine having to meet one of them and having to listen to all the shit that they did not need but bought anyway. The purchase of the newest gadget, fanciest car, the small batch, fair trade, handcrafted, artisanal, and organic coffee beans straight from Peru. And of course the fancy new contraption that they had to buy in order to convert those coffee beans into the perfect cup of coffee.

I have met such people and I can recall with much clarity the sequence of feelings that I have felt at such moments. Bewilderment at the importance which is being given to such an inconsequential activity as buying something, amazement at how much I do not care to know, and the intensity with which I realize that the sum total of the joy that these people seem to feel in the moment is not worth the seconds of my life which are wasted listening to their drivel. Let's talk about topics less self-obsessed and more permanent.

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