I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way people in America seem to fetishize corporations.
Let me explain:
I’m talking about branding and corporate logos. Apple stickers on the back of your car, Ralph Lauren logos, Insert Band Name on a t-shirt.
To me, when we moved away from a tribal society and totemistic displays of our belief system, we moved towards these displays of compact ideations that we can use to uniquely identify ourselves.
In a pagan system of spirituality/theology, there are a multitude of different gods/goddesses/spirits to identify with. In Christianity, you see the same separation of ideals and qualities separated into angels, saints, and demons. You don’t have just a monolithic God, you have minor collections of very specific qualities.
With corporations you have the same thing:
What does the apple for Apple mean? For some people it’s affiliation with thinking differently, outside-the-box, Steve Jobs, etc.
IBM: reliable, compatible, but old technology.
Ford: A domestic car your grandfather drove, but also the Mustang. They were the first, but aren’t necessarily the best anymore.
You can go down the list, and see how these businesses have positioned themselves in such a segmented way throughout the marketplace, and see how people identify with them.
But why do people do this?
Personally, I think it has something to do with the increased secularization of western society, and the spiritual vacuum created. Even in modern Christian theology, you have a removal of God to a specific place: either loving or vengeful. For a being of omnipotent power, he sure doesn’t have many aspects, does he? Prior to the limiting of God, you have St. Michael, St. George, St. Edward, St. Mary, St. Peter, etc. that you could pray to.
Now? Not so much.
Now, we’re in a time of pure materialism, where our spiritual guides are created by marketers and focus groups.