February 2, 2007
Have you ever heard people say, “We need to cut back to the essentials of life”? Finances get tight, and they need to “cut back” on “luxuries”. I’m going to show that this is a confusion. Nothing is technically neccessary, nothing needed. Needs and neccessities are required to produce some sort of effect. Nothing is needed in and of itself.
I remember years back, when hearing things about “cutting back”, contentment, etc; when confronted with the problem, “What does a person really need in life?”, my first thoughts were, “All that is neccessary is that a person has food and shelter; the neccessities of life.” I thought, if we cut back down to the “bare bones”, this is as far as we can cut back.
Then I noticed that a person does not even technically ‘need’ food, clothing, and shelter. These are neccessary conditions if you want to live. If you desire to stay alive, you must eat, stay warm, and have some place to stay out of the elements. If a person wants to die, these things are not needed.
I’m not saying all of this to be pedantic. This has important considerations to examine. The main point I noticed is that what a person needs is based on what they want. Needs and neccessities are required to produce some sort of effect. Nothing is needed in and of itself.
What a person really means, when they say, “We need to cut back on our energy usage. Our electric bill has been too high lately. Quit using the air conditioner. Quit using the dishwasher. Quit using the [luxury name]”, is that their current mode of life cannot support that amount of energy usage. They do not make enough money, doing what they do now, to support that lifestyle. There’s no logical reason why they can’t change what they do to support that lifestyle. In a way, they are subtely misusing the word ‘need’.
I believe in financially tight situations, the change they’re desiring requires (needs/neccessity) too much work that they are unwilling to do to change their situation. Or should I say, they believe is too much work to change their situation. They run into a balance. There’s a strange situation here. They desire more money, but do not desire the neccessary change and work required to get that lifestyle. Therefore, they stay where they are. They believe to cut back is easier and more pleasurable than the disagreeable work that they believe is entailed to acquire a more prosperous financial position.
What I find interesting, in most cases, is that the change required to boost their lifestyle – the change needed to provide for these luxuries – is often easier than what they go through when they “cut back” on everything.
The concession mindset is not fatally flawed, however. All people have to concede, be content, be satisified, etc., with a certain degree of living. In order to say what you want, you have to specify the things you want. Whenever you specify, you must say how much money you want, how big of a house you want, how nice of a car you want, etc. You cannot always live in the realm of infinite logical possibility. I believe a person can literally have any reality they can envison – any reality they’re willing to put some effort behind to get. But, they have to specify, from this infinite logical possibility, the reality that they desire out of it. At this point, at that moment, they concede to a certain degree of living.
You cannot say, “I want as much money as possible.” This is flawed, because there is an infinite amount of money you can acquire. It is a number. We need to examine nominal money versus real money. Real money entails the physical objects you can ‘possess’ (value), nominal money is the numeric representation of value to exchange for physical objects. There is an infinte amount of matter, and an infinite amount of ways to represent this matter that is valuable, and therefore an infinte amount of money. If you say, I want as much money as possible, you end up saying, “I want everything that exists”, and God says, “you already have that, don’t you?” This is similar to saying, “I want as big a house as possible.” You’d have a home the size of the universe. Then I could see God saying, “How is your infinitely sized home any different than the universe I put you in?” At this point, you must tell God what you’re wanting. He says, “Until you tell me how your infinite house differs from my universe, I have to assume I’ve already given this to you.” What needs to change?
Even more technically, saying you want “all possible money” says you want “all value that exists.” Saying this actually says you want, what everyone else wants. Can this even be considered a real desire? If so, I would have to say the person is not actually desiring money. They’re using money as a means to … respect? honor? fame? Control? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it seems to be immaterial.
People get the wrong idea, when they throw the words ‘need’ and ‘neccessary’ around. Nothing is a luxury. Nothing is needed. This all seems to be confused thinking. I think the real situation is this: There is what you want, and there is a set of neccessary conditions you must do to get what you want. There may be multiple ways to get what you want, but there’s always something you have to do to acquire what you want.
There’s really two options that come before a person whenever there is not enough (ex: whenever you’re struggling financially, whenever you cannot do what you want to do with your current means of life, etc)
1. Contentment: You can cut back and say you don’t ‘need’ the things you want.
2. Change: You can change the way you’re living, live smarter, and find a way to get what it is you’re wanting out of life.
Greg and I refer to this problem as the problem of ‘Scarcity’. People who view life from the perspective of contentment tend to see nothing but scarcity. They try to find ways to conform the way they’re living now, to get what they want, without changing. We see this mindset running through countless people in a myriad of different ways. Let’s take a very common example.
A. A man unsuccessful with relationships with women says to himself, “Women need to just accept me as I am!”
This man wants a relationship, but does not want to change. Then, because he does not want to change, tells the world that women are just all ‘shallow’, or inferior to him in some respect, or [fill in the blank]. (The excuses you hear justifying their position on this matter are near infinite)
A certain mindset — a certain way of being, if you will — is required on the end of both the man and the woman for a relationship to exist. Certain mindsets are incompatible with quality relationships. Others tend to promote healthy relationships. He needs to change his thinking, if he wants to find a relationship of the particular sort he’s wanting. I can’t help but think that he will need to be a certain type of man desirable to the woman he’s pursuing if he’s ever wanting success. (Marketing 101?). Though in his mind, he believes there is a possibility that a woman exists that will love him, just as he is. Maybe, maybe not. Self-assertiveness can be both a virtue and a vice, depending on what woman you’re after. Become too self-assertive, too egoistic, too “have it my way”, and you’ll find no woman wants it your way. Become too much of a “wuss”, too much “have it her way”, and you’ll end up being her lapdog. There’s more to this issue, however. You must take into account the laws of attraction.
Pretty women tend to have guys gushing all over them, praising them head to foot. Ironically, beautiful women tend to love men who are different from the main crowd, who act cocky, are not intimidated by them. Guys who give them no special treatment. You treat these girls horribly, and since you’re the only guy who has ever treated them this way, you become their goal. They say, “The game is on. I’ll show you I’m worthy of admiration.” So the beautiful girl is now attracted to men who won’t give her the time of day.
The opposite happens with women who are not typically as admired (not as pretty, etc). They tend to like men who treat them nice, as they are not normally treated very nice. They don’t have men coming in droves drooling over them. They dream that one day, one man will finally treat them how they deserve to be treated. Just one man drooling over them makes their day. A woman who is not typically shown respect, who has been shown little admiration, and has little confidence in herself, will be repulsed by a cocky, self-assertive individual.
I tend to be the self-assertive type. I don’t tend to go out of my way for any woman. My thoughts run typically as follows, “I’m going to do this. I want to do this. If some girl wants to come along, and she doesn’t annoy me while we’re there, that’s fine.” If a girl declines my date offer, I’m not typically hurt, as I didn’t care if she came to begin with. I remember going through a large dating seminar thing, Greg let me borrow one time. I remember it said that was the prime mindset to have, and that you’d end up with the most beautiful women. I see why, but lately I’ve been reconsidering the value of this egoism.
It completely protects you from all forms of pain. You never attach yourself to anything. And yes, you get dates with beautiful women whom you could care less about. But I remember thinking of the all those guys you see, who obsess over a woman, and how it just seems like a sort of blissful thing. They normally obsess over some attractive girl, and this mindset leads them to their own demise, but it still has a sort of bliss to it, nonetheless.
I remember lying in bed (this is years back) daydreaming of girls I had crushes on. I really valued them. I thought highly of them, overlooked faults – very admirable. That was, probably 6 years back. Nowadays I literally never think of women, or relationships. Women can stand as a friend, but I don’t consider relationships. The only time I ever think on it is when it’s brought up by someone else. I tend to stand out of the loop, as I never seem to convince myself a woman’s value is more than my other pursuits. This sounds bad, but when I think of girls I see, I’d much rather stay home reading Jean-Paul Sartre, then sit in a restaurant hearing most girls ramble about worthless things. (This is bad thinking! I know.)
On anoher note, I’ve had girls hit me with the same self-assertive, “Things are going to be my way. I don’t care about you.” business. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the girl, who also knows this “psychology”, trying to come off a certain way and generate attraction, or whether they truly are a selfish bigot. Either way, I’m very unattracted to it. I honestly disdain it. I see it and think, this is disgusting. Then I typically give the girl the benefit of the doubt, especially if they’re someone who seems seasoned in relationships. I say to myself, “More of this silly game going on.”
The mindset I really hate about women is the “there’s other fish in the sea” garbage. Unreliable. Slight disagreement and they basically throw you aside. “I don’t have to put up with this.” The quicker a girl does this, the more worthless she is. It’s sad when you stand in their mind of such little value that you can be discarded so quickly.
I spoke of mindsets and their compatiblity with relationships. My mindset — the thoughts that run through my mind, and desires — are extremely incompatible with a relationship. I’ve been considering changing this, but I haven’t decided to what. My life has been literally drama free for 6 years. It’s very nice. I do not tolerate drama. Before that, I used to have weird drama, completely brought into my life by women. To be honest, I don’t miss that at all. I’ve been really happy these past years.
In a strange way, even though I intellectually disdain altruism, I am extremely attracted to it (when thinking of quality women). When someone goes out of their way for me, I’m not sure what to think of it. When I think of my mother, and how good she’s been to me, I can’t help but praise her on the highest pedestal. Both of my parents, mother and father, have the highest respect in my mind. I don’t know what to think of irrational service to someone else. I don’t know why my mother would wish stay up all night listening to me scream, or change my soiled pampers. I sit back and wonder, “Why would mother do this?” Why dad sold his camero or his classic mustang to get that family car. I don’t see what value I add to their lives.
Such self-service is of the highest virtue. It’s rare to find. I praise my mother constantly. I tell her, “You know mom, you’re wonderful.” I also have another thing I tell her, “You know I’d do anything for you, mom.” Anytime she asks me to do anything around the house, I, probably 95% of the time respond with that line. I really mean it too. Mom always responds, “Anythinggg?” and smiles. Other times I’m reading and get slightly annoyed that she bothered my thought. I try not to get mad though, but I’ll admit I do.
When it comes to selflessly serving someone else, I think there’s a lot of people who mean well, but are always too busy to come through with their word. I’ve noticed a lot of people this way. Just for an example, I had many friends on the game I play a lot (Ragnarok) say they would help me level my merchant character. They all told me, “Oh yeah man, I’ll help you. Just can’t right now…” I had many friends all tell me they’d help. I believe they would have, if the time had been just right. But I asked one friend near 6 or 7 times, another 3 or 4, and others many times as well, and they always had something else they were doing. If [fill in condition] wasn’t going on, I’m sure they would have. I never condemn people for this treatment. I don’t expect people to go out of their way for me, but I’ve typically noticed selfless service to a friend tends to get pushed pretty low on the priority scale. Needless to say, I had to level my merchant myself, mostly. The only one who did help was my friend Fraser. He was in a party, told his group to hold up, logged into another character, let me borrow some gear, wished me luck, and sent me off. That’s why, when people hear me speak of Fraser, I always have nice things to say about him.
The mindset I’ve had toward women is not a healthy one. Bad relationships in the past do not neccessarily reflect future relationships. They could fare bad as well, but I’ve learned “the secret” nowadays. The right mindset attracts the right reality. If I have a quality, good, positive mindset, I will attract a good, quality, positive mindset girl. (Vaguely speaking, there’s other components to this equation as well). She will be trusting, treat me well, etc; because I reciprocally treat her that way. If I’m sceptical minded, the good quality girl will be repulsed by the scepticism. The only girl a sceptical guy gets is another sceptical girl, and they both end up experiencing all sorts of unneccessary problems due to their mindsets. Also focusing on negative aspects never works. You focus on what you want, not what you do not want.
I think dating seminar advice, like that found in David Deangelo and others dating packages, focus completely on instinctive attraction, and not on true quality. Using his advice will help you to be attractive and interesting, but if it is not accompanied by a large degree of servitude, altruism, — an attitude of reciprocal service to one another — not just fun and good times, I’m not interested in that reality. Friendship, and quality relationship is built around servitude and trust. In extreme, I feel these virtues are not good, but they’re still in style if done right.
Anyways, I don’t see much difference between personal relationships and business relationships. This person wants this, the others person wants that. What will you compromise, what will the other compromise, etc. Find a successful middle-ground. What do you want, what does the other want. Based on her mindset, and what she believes she wants, certain things will be attractive or unattractive to her. Same with the man.
The strange distinction I find here though is the problem of ‘do the means justify the ends’. This is the problem of what you want, vs what you think you want. A young girl may think she wants the exciting life, finds a particular charming individual boring, and instead pursues the wild man. Later she finds out the wild man is worthless and wishes she would have married the charming individual, whom unfortunately, at this time, has found another charming woman he has happily married.
Jean-Paul Sartre offers insight into this dilemma:
“We agree with those who say: the end justifies the means; but we add the indispensible corrective: it is the means which define the end.”
In other words, a person thinks they want this, and thinks such an effect will be produced by such actions, but whether they think so or not, their actions have corresponding consequences which are not as variable as their mind. This girl can believe that the wild man will fulfill her all she wants, but the end of the matter may not be as planned.
Back to our unlucky man. Here’s the irony. The man now, since he desires a relationship, yet does not want to change his thinking, has to either i) wait for a woman who actually enjoys him as he is, or ii) find someone desperate enough to put up with his disagreeable mindset. What happens most of the time, in these type situations, one desperate person finds another. Both end up miserably enduring each other.
Instead of conceding a few small things with a girl who would have been really great (yet not perfect), he had to have everything his way. He had to have every little specificiation fulfilled. No woman could ever meet his criteria. Next thing you know, frustration sets in and he makes the irrational decision. He simply says, “To hell with it” and goes with the next woman he meets, throwing away all filtering. That’s where the relationships goes as well — straight to hell.
Scarcity and change are the problems. Desperation comes to those who think quality significant others are rare and impossible to find (scarcity). I believe this is not the case. There are billions of people in the world. There are people just like you. There are people who would love to be with you. Yet, at the same time, you don’t have time to learn about all the billions of people out there. There’s not enough time to meet every one of them. So, this leaves you with conceding some of your wants, if you want a relationship. I only argue, don’t be like most people and, upon frustration, concede near everything you want for a sub-par reality. That’s irrational.
The scarcity mindset tells them it’s not likely they will find the quality object they’re after. If you study likelihood and statistics, you find your probability of success depends on how you’re going about achieving your goal. What a person really has to do, in times of scarcity, is be creative with his mind. Since the world is so vast, he has to determine exactly what it is he wants, and has to place himself in locations where he is likely to be found. How clever you can get with this marketing of yourself, your desires, and your ability to communicate what you’re wanting to the right target mediums, is the solution to scarcity. This is a lot of work, and requires knowledge and research. That’s why it’s rarely done. It’s easier just to dream wishfully that your dream woman, perfect in every respect, will just bump into you one day in the supermarket. Once again, if you’re real with yourself, this isn’t likely. I believe the work to creatively market yourself is less work than you traveling around the world, hoping you’re going to just bump into that intelligent, witty, and charming woman you’re after. Not to mention all the dates, getting to know the wrong people, etc.
Though often criticized, I think the personal profiles on the internet, with websites such as match.com, yahoo personals, eharmony, etc, are really a great thing for people who are looking for a rare find. There are people who woud be near impossible to find if it wasn’t for these kinds of sites. There are beautiful women, then there are beautiful women who can entertain interesting conversation related to Aristotle, Kant, and Freud. Ahh, the thought. *daydreams*
I better conclude this, as I have to go install Windows Vista on my computer! There is no such thing as ‘need’ in and of itself. Once again, everything boils down to what you want, not what you need.Tags: contentment, necessity, needs