Although I'm sometimes as guilty as anyone else when it comes to falling prey to the evils and distractions of consumer culture, I do abhor conspicuous consumption and consciously work at trying to to acquire anything I don't need. So much of Western culture is poisoned by the obsession to consume. We were even told by good ol' George Bush, that shopping was a way to fight against terrorism.
That's not to say I don't enjoy gadgets and toys as much as anyone, but I've been trying to squash the obsession to consume things I don't really need as much as I can. And, it's one of the huge benefits I get from going to the desert in Mexico, renting a simple adobe room with nothing more than a light bulb, a bed, and shelter from the elements.
A strange thing happens when you cut yourself off like that. At first, you feel like you've made a terrible error and wonder what you could have been thinking. Then, surprisingly within just a few days you start to realize those cravings and desires for "stuff" start to melt away and you actually feel more free, relieved, at peace, and happy.
Some of those who know me have accused my desire to live frugally and efficiently as some sign of being "cheap". Instead, it's really about my attempting to maximize my limited resources, as well as distance myself from the popular compulsion to throw things away that still have plenty of use left, and mindlessly buy more stuff.
I've learned the closer you can get to cutting off the perpetual desire to consume, the happier and healthier you feel. Without all that distracting desire to consume clouding your mind, you start to experience what's around you more fully as well.