I've recently started on a course called Trendspotting, under the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. It's an interesting class, attended by people from all faculties and all walks of live - I've never seen a class so full of people who want to learn, and aren't taking the module just to get their credits.
One of the things that we discussed today was that our values often times play a significant role in forming trends. I agree - When someone throws out an idea/product that corresponds with the values in our life, we get hooked on to it pretty fast. And when we adopt an idea/product that is in line with our goals in life, we start a trend.
But one thing our professor pointed out was that people had noticed a trend of our shifting values. Over the last 30 years (and even before), we have started to shift from having idealistic values and valuing security, to materialism and openness to change.
I was a little uncomfortable with him labeling materialism as a value. Does anyone else see the irony in this? We've shifted so far from preserving 'old traditions and values', to actually associate materialism with something of value.
One of the synonyms of value is "To regard highly". I think it's scary that we live in a society that regards money so highly, that they can abandon ideals such as justice and equality with the flick of the finger. Then again, I'm an idealist. I don't want to live for money - I want to live. And I've seen, too many times, how the pursuit of money can destroy your ultimate aim - the pursuit for happiness.
I'll end this post with a last thought - Could it be that our values aren't what's shaping trends, but that our trends are also what forms our values? In the chase to keep up with the 'next big thing', our personal values change. Michael Jackson was a trend-setter whose dance moves revolutionized today's dance forms. Back in his time, line dancing was the most extreme you could get. (Have you watched the Stylistics? It's hilarious! :P) And I bet that, when he first started, his now-famous-crotch-grabbing-with-a-high-pitch-yell move was considered unthinkable and obscene. Now, you see that dance move everywhere, especially in the hip hop and modern dance sectors. Did our values set the trends? Well, Michael Jackson's values, openness to change and exploratory mind did set the trend. But for the rest of the world, I believe that trends were what mutated our value system.
But I could be wrong - After all, I'm just a student.
[On a side note, I really liked Michael Jackson's dance moves, and I thought he looked good when he was still in his Thriller era :P]