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The present moment exhausts you?
Meditate on the future

The present moment exhausts you? Meditate on the future
Who would want to live in the future? According to OpinionWay, three quarters of 3 to 4- year-olds are afraid of the future. That's a lot. What is it that scares us?

The inevitable depletion of resources? Future health concerns? The specter of "possibly" ending up without a pension? At Seenk we’re saddened to see that every time the future comes up, it appears either dystopian or collapsological, tragic either way. Consuming the present then becomes more comforting than thinking about tomorrow: a boon for our brand buddies. But perhaps they have a stronger role to play. Without falling into the tuneful tomorrows of Hollywood musicals, they do perhaps have sway in reinventing our conflictual relationship to time. Could they not talk to us about progress, restore our confidence in the future ?

Too much present kills the present.

Fancy a midnight burger? Call Uber. The latest volume of Last Man on the day of its release? Thanks Amazon. The present has become the time when all our wishes and desires come together. According to sociologist Eva Illouz, emotion has become a commodity that can be consumed in the moment.We Instagram the most (or least) beautiful moments of our lives, we "taste the feeling" with Coca-Cola, we drink Nescafé "for the moments that matter." The Mood Booster playlist is a hit on Spotify. We are absorbed by the present, reduced to its purest transience. By extolling instant satisfaction, brands leave little time for hesitation, leading thus to swift purchasing decisions: "A wish. A car.” [« Une envie. Une voiture. »], No time to procrastinate with car rental app OuiCar.

So we’re caught in an interminable quest to maximize pleasure. Chasing after a sort of well-being that prioritizes the enjoyment of the moment a solitary enjoyment that slides towards obsession. Whether in asceticism or excess, our thirst for pleasure becomes autarkic, turning in on itself, anchored to the satisfaction of a feeling trapped in the instant.

Frustration time!

Despite a real desire to reconnect to the present - to meditate, to travel, to cocoon we seem less and less able to enjoy it. The qualities that used to be exceptional and sought after: instant, unlimited, best price, all-in-one, have become a basic standard. Our expectations of brands have increased. A package that arrives late has become unbearable. While just 1 years ago, we weren’t worried about waiting a few days more. The “everything now” mentality seems to lead to an ever-greater desire for control, running contrary to the idea of relaxation and appreciation of the present.

Although capitalism is built on the feeling of frustration, it has become intolerable. Netflix has gotten us used to binge-watching, gulping down a whole series in one go, avoiding the traditional weekly wait for the next episode. Tinder encourages us to swipe and to stay “Single. Not Sorry” as its latest campaign proclaims. We find ourselves trapped in a present from which we are absent. For our contemporary Gilles Lipovetsky, "these private pleasures lead to damaged happiness". For the less contemporary Epicurus, only the pleasures that will not cause any suffering are worth it. Is the enjoyment of the present in a careful (and therefore limited) way a definitively lost virtue?

Progress is a matter for the future.

The ambient discourse is very Carpe Diem: seize the day so you don’t have 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 sanctioned denial of the future and of the consequences of our actions, our purchases?

As a counter-current to this force, more and more brands are encouraging us to think about the future, and to take part in it. For example, Tentrees, a clothing and shoes brand that puts a social goal at the heart of its business model – in this case, reforestation. Its business plan, branding, communication ... everything is organized around a single objective: to replant trees. Which goes to show, you can make good sales while doing good deeds. Same principle at Tony’s Chocoleny which works to guarantee a completely “slave free” chocolate. These two approaches are committed, progressive and resolutely inclusive. The consumer is always part of the adventure. Happy to have bought myself a sweater at TentreeI can follow an interactive map to see my 10 trees being planted. Tony's Chocoleny's bars are unevenly divided to illustrate the inequality in the chocolate industry. By taking a bite, I’m also aware of what I'm fighting against.

We are in an age of innovation, but 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. They can inspire hope, which is comforting, while measurable actions give them credibility. This opens up a whole new, (relatively) unexplored horizon.

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