15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it. 16 Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”
The first humans were warned about consumption that would in turn consume them. The seeds within the forbidden fruit would grow and become unmanageable as they were seeds of insatiable self-gods. The allure was strong, the deceit believable, the outcome generational.
Scott Galloway, in his book The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, describes some of the continued effects of human consumption of the forbidden fruit. Galloway is a Clinical Professor of Marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business and Founder of L2inc. He was named “One of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” (Poets & Quants) and elected to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Leaders of Tomorrow,” which recognizes 100 individuals under the age of 40 “whose accomplishments have had impact on a global level.” He has served on the board of directors of companies such as Eddie Bauer, The New York Times, and Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Galloway covers the last twenty years of the rise of the four giants that have become household names: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. He asks if these entities are “the Four Horsemen of god, love, sex, and consumption? Or are they the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse?” and he answers, “yes to both questions.” Through his satirical humor and dire descriptions he makes a strong case for an apocalyptic outcome after the four succeed in their ultimate mission. Though it would be easy to point fingers at the drivers behind the four, we must also look at the fingers pointing back at ourselves, the consumers when 64% of us have Amazon Prime, Google is used like prayer, smart phones are our permanently glued to our hands and Facebook our relational community. Galloway argues that “Fundamental to business is the notion that in a capitalist society the consumer reigns supreme, and consumption is the most noble of activities. Thus, a country’s place in the world is correlated with its level of consumer demand and production…Consumption has taken the place of shared sacrifice during times of war and economic malaise. The nation needs you to keep buying more stuff.” Then there’s the fact that we consumers have become addicted to luxury. “The list of the four hundred wealthiest people on the planet, minus inherited wealth and finance, includes more people from luxury and retail than technology or any other industry.”
Billion-dollar companies are consuming smaller companies without regulation, human jobs are being replaced by robots, and stealing IP only to conform it for profiteering has become the norm. Galloway reveals the seeds planted early in America’s history of stealing from Britain’s textile industry and then created ways that prohibited Europeans from protecting their IP which led to other areas of thievery thus leading Galloway to argue “theft is in our DNA.” These early seeds of the forbidden fruit have grown into the mega orchards of the four and consumers are buying bigger barns to store the crops.
Galloway concludes his work by asking the question, “Yes, and Now What?” God sternly gave the answer to that question when addressing the first consumers of the forbidden fruit, the result would surely be death. This death was more than physical, it was death to their relationship with God and one another. Abundant life and love would be replaced with a relentless selfish pursuit and independence, a fight to rule over one another, and fruitfulness would only come about through toil, pain and sorrow. The four bring death to the weaker companies, are held to a different business standard, exploit our privacy, and have become so large that we are paralyzed into believing there is nothing that can be done about it. We also may close our ears to the warnings regarding the mental and physical health concerns being brought to light as a result of our smartphones and social media, not only to adults but to our children.
Galloway’s answer is to break up the big four, but I wonder what could happen at a grassroots level if consumers took charge of our lives and passions rather than being ruled by consumption? What if we set boundaries for luxury and let self-control rule rather than addiction? What if we learned contentment with godliness as our great gain? What if the seeds were planted for good to help those in need rather than being amassed for greed? What if we just say no to the forbidden fruit?
 Genesis 2:15-17 NET
 Scott Galloway, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (New York: Portfolio/Penquin, 2018), 2.
 Ibid., 16.
 Ibid., 68.
 Ibid., 154.