This paper is an attempt to explore the fundamental assumptions that might be said to underlie modern consumerism. The starting point for this investigation is the assumption that the latter is characterised by an emphasis on feeling and emotion and by a practice and ideology that is markedly individualistic. The connection between this system of consumption and metaphysical premises is then first explored through an examination of the relationship between the activity of consumption and the notion of identity before going on to consider its role in the provision of ontological reassurance. At the same time the existence of a distinctive consumerist epistemology is also noted, together with a tendency to endorse a belief in `magic’. Finally these features are shown to be consonant with a widespread and explicit philosophy present in contemporary society, that espoused by representatives of the New Age movement, a parallelism that seems to justify the contention that the modern West really is a `consumer civilization’.