needs and wants, wants and needs

want need
Waiting in for a plumber. I’m not good at waiting for someone. Deliveries, tradesmen etc. My choice is removed. I’m in their control.

I want to get out.

I need to wait though. We may have a leak. A telltale little brown patch has appeared on a ceiling.

I should wait. The leak could get worse. Despite this more sensible course of action, I’m still drawn to go out. Nowhere special, just to have the freedom to decide. It’s the freedom I want. The expert opinion I probably need.

The tension between what we want and what we need is intriguing. Are needs more powerful than wants? Are needs more fundamental to our sense of self and our wellbeing? Certainly needing shelter, water, food would seem to be basic needs. Yet wanting something can be a pretty strong draw too. Wanting to move, wanting freedom, growth, learning, progression, choice. These too are powerful motivators.

Refugees and economic migrants pouring into Europe seem to demonstrate the power of wanting a better life for your family. Wanting opportunity. Wanting freedom. Or is the migration need driven? The need for safety, for security?

I wonder if our modern world has confused the two? Do I need a new phone, or do I simply want one? Do I want a hug, or are there times I absolutely need one?

Do we know the difference any more? The difference between a need and a want? How the difference motivates our thinking? Which has more feeling? Which trumps the other? Which do we value more? The things we want and have, or the things we need and have?

Are the words interchangeable, or is it some other orientation in our lives that motivates us to prefer one word over the other? Do independent people have a penchant for wanting things? Is wanting essentially selfish? Wanting something certainly implies choice, preference. Needing something suggests less choice. It suggests necessity.

But is it the same for us all? Is there a common thread to our humanity? Or is this a more personal matter?

Maybe you want to know? Or need to? Maybe you don’t? Understanding that which motivates us would seem to be useful though? How your choice of language impacts your thinking, your emotions, your behaviours?

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