Modern Capitalism’s Philosophy for a Better Life: You Are More Than Enough!

Stephenson Westernlund
4 min readAug 19, 2020
Artwork credit: Author (2020)

Modern society and status anxiety, we are constantly reminded by the environment and the media that we will never be good enough. You’re going to a party, someone will ask, “What do you do?”. Their future reactions will be determined by your answer, whether they will be amazed and interested in talking more to you or belittling you and leaving you. It’s no wonder that modern society will trade a good night’s sleep for winning over corporate politics and sleepless days at 4 a.m. And if you think about it, what for? For a life so short and abstract and you that will disappear when you die, for what?

The fear of status, the fear of being left behind and the fear of being left alone has nothing more to do with capitalism. At least that’s how it works, capitalism with the demands of very fast economic development demands that people be more consumptive. Very consumptive, more than anything ever before.

However, it is selfish to say that capitalism is an evil with all its contributions to science, technology, economic prosperity, modern infrastructure development, health and countless other good things. The problem lies in our perception of capitalism and how we can control the city soul in world materialism.

Credit: Andy Warhol Museum, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

We can learn from a modern art philosophy about the problems of modern society, namely Andy Warhol and his thoughts. Andy Warhol is an artist who celebrates money and capitalism but brings it to a simpler and wiser understanding. We will understand how we can learn philosophy from a work of art created by Andy Warhol to enjoy life in a more sane and grateful modern society.

Credit: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

In the world of capitalism, you have everything, you are rich enough and “rich people drink Coca-Cola too”. The painting above is one of Andy Warhol most significant works of art, Coke Bottle (1960s). From this painting, we realize that the essence of being rich and poor in today’s world has reached the stage of being just a mindset. The CEOs of the world’s top companies drink Coca-Cola too like you do. Everyone has the same internet access, you have clothes they has clothes, you have bags they has bags. Instead of looking at the brand value and the x-factor of a commodity, think about seeing it as an object with benefits. And that is a very special thing about capitalism, it is a world where you and the richest have equal access to almost everything. You don’t need a hermes bag, a bag is a bag, it should carry your things, it looks good on you and it ends up there. How many items do you need? If you get it, your satisfaction value will fade away and look for other satisfactions, enjoy the beauty of the little things that you have. Even unbranded shoes are the result of long human innovation, there’s no point in complaining just because you and people say it’s not good enough, the fact is it’s good enough.

Credit: The Museum of Modern Art, Cite:

And try to enjoy the beauty of the world by seeing and appreciating the little things in it. Like the painting above, Soup Bottle by Andy Warhol (1962s), this painting reminds us how we can easily underestimate small things which in this case are common products in the capitalist market. But look, that bottle of instant soup is a brilliant innovation, it’s affordable, tastes good and can be bought by anyone. If you think about it, isn’t that a miracle? Why complain too much? Why should our satisfaction score come from tomato soup in a five-star restaurant on the rooftop of a grand downtown building? Tomato soup is just tomato soup if you think about it, and cheap food is delicious and nutritious.