What Do You Really Really Want?

Is this it?

We all want things. What differentiates us is what we want — and why. It is neither coincidence nor nature that most of our wants are material. As Matthew Crawford notes in The Case for Working With Your Hands

A man whose needs are limited will find the least noxious livelihood and work in a subsistence mode… Eventually it was learned that the only way to get them to work harder was to play upon the imagination, stimulating new needs and wants. Consumption, no less than production, needed to be brought under scientific management — the management of desire.

The “management of desire” infuses our daily life. We’re bombarded with billboards, banner ads, sponsored Facebook updates, television spots, branded content, and a thousand other canny tactics aiming to convince us that our wants can be appeased by the swipe of a credit card. Very little in the modern ether suggests or reminds us that perhaps what we really want might not be for sale. Might be love, freedom, creativity, generosity, or fresh experience.

Just as our physical appetite mistakes dehydration with hunger, leading us to gobble biscuits when we really need a glass of water, our brain can get confused. Next time you want something, take a minute before you reach for your wallet and ask yourself: “What do I really want?”

You may find your outgoings reduce considerably.


2 thoughts on “What Do You Really Really Want?

    • What a brilliant idea. The challenge is getting it implemented. Companies are fully aware that people who are socially, emotionally and spiritually alert are far less likely to look for meaning through consumption, which ruins their scam. And as long as they hold the money that pays the ad agencies we’ll struggle to get any real meaning out of advertising.

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