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Need, Want and The Way You Feel: An Alternative Perspective

December 21, 2011

First of all, reader be ware. This is a “Red Pill” article. It is part of an alternative way of thinking and, if not carefully read, can be misunderstood to be an excuse to do what, more experienced people, would say is the wrong thing to do. This is no such excuse. Reader discretion is advised.

Let me say this. I think Wants and Needs are like apples and oranges, in that they don’t directly compare to each other. So it’s not as easy to say, that Needs are more important than Wants, as one might think. I’ll even take it a step further and say this. Without Need, Want may never be achieved. But without Want, there is no such thing as Need. However, neither Need nor Want exist without the threat of some degree of pain. It is pain (i.e. the stresses of life) that animates us. And the greater the stress, the more animated we get in our efforts to avoid, reduce or eliminate that stress. I think happiness itself is basically a result of successful pain/stress/stimuli management.

Think about it. You are born bathed in a sea of stimuli that never ever lets up. Every picosecond of every day, even if you are alone, you can bet that your nervous system is buzzing with information being sent to your brain for assimilation. Especially in today’s time, with electricity surging through wires and appliances all around us, just sound, alone, guarantees that there is not a moment of complete silence to be had anywhere unless the room is specifically designed for it. Even then, there is other nervous system activity like air temperature, light intensity, or just all the different biological functions and chemical reactions that happen inside the body itself. There is virtually no break in the flow of stimuli traveling to your brain through your nervous system.

It’s not that all stimuli is so painful (the degree to which you would call it pain is a matter of your own pain threshold); it’s that, on some level of our being, we are working to insure that the pain is minimized and that is stays that way. This is where Need, Want and The way you feel, comes into play. They are tools that you use to help balance your imbalances which come from stimuli that originate from your environment.

There appears to be a, sort of, system or order of operations to this balancing process. First there is the stimuli, itself, creating an imbalance within you. Then your body’s automatic functions kick in. Before you even feel anything, your body is hard at work, fighting to regulate and/or adapt to any form of pain or undesirable stimuli it encounters. If your body starts to loose the fight then it, increasingly, loads your nervous system with sensory data, coming from what ever part or parts of it that are stressed. This data comes together in your mind and shapes “HOW YOU FEEL.” Your feelings function as a, sort of, barometer for your state of being and when your state of being is undesirable, you start to “WANT”, in effort to improve it, and bring it back to a desirable state.

This is the function of “Want”. Your Wants are like goals that are always aimed at improving your state of being to a desirable state. The specifics of your Wants (the specific goals) are intended to address the specific Feelings that developed from the stresses that your automatic bodily functions had trouble handling.

So. Your Wants are goals that you set, through trial and error, based on how you Feel, that are aimed at improving your state of being to a desirable state by helping you manage the pain that comes from the imbalances that are created, within you, by undesirable stimuli that originate from your environment.

The point here is that your Wants are goals. So what are your Needs? The short answer is that your Needs are goals too, but they are of a different type. The support for this is that there is a pretty consistent difference between, how we use the word Want, as apposed to, how we use the word Need. It has to do with one other word. “Why”. One can say “I want” all day long, without having to answer the question, of Why, and the Want is still considered valid. But if the person says “I Need,” the question, Why, must have an answer or the person will have difficulty showing that the need is valid.

One significant thing about this attribute of Need is that it negates Need from being used as the ultimate reason for anything. You can say “you Need” and then answer the question, Why, with another Need and then answer the question, Why, for that Need with even another Need and the string of Needs will go on indefinitely until you answer the question, Why, with something that is not yet another Need.

This makes a case for the relationship between Need and Want in a person’s life. Both Need and Want function as goals, but Need does not function as a final goal. It is what we Want, that is the ultimate conscious or subconscious reason for why we animate. But achieving what we want is not always as easy as just taking action. It is by way of the, more restrictive, yet ordered and logically based, Need, that we are able to map out more complex paths to our Wants.

Basically our Wants are like goals and our Needs are like sub-goals or checkpoints to help us get to what we want. This is why it is so important for us to know what we Want. All the reasons that we animate are a result of it and we can’t properly assess our Needs unless we know it.

Every action that you take or determine that you Need to take, is ultimately driven by something you Want. And everything you want is aimed at bringing your state of being to a desirable state. Whether it’s robbery, theft, playing the lottery, jumping out of the way of an on coming vehicle, getting hit by that vehicle while tossing a child out of it’s path, working a job, volunteerism, acts of charity or even servitude to a higher power, when you decide or intend to take action, what ever that action may be, you are trying to maintain or improve your state of being or prevent or avoid an undesirable state of being for now and/or for the future, FOR YOURSELF. No matter how many people you help or how bad you are willing to let yourself get hurt trying to help them, you are still trying to end up in a desirable state of being. Again it is what animates you and is ultimately why you take any action at all. The concept of selfishness is better thought of as over-selfishness. And it is, likely, the result of the less experienced person’s efforts toward a desirable state of being BUT, most likely, achieving a less desirable state of being for lack of awareness of the negative effects of his or her own actions or inactions on the state of being of others.

This alternative viewpoint of Need and Want does not try the change the mechanics of either word. It is an attempt at opening a topic of discussion aimed at addressing how well we understand ourselves and each other when we use these words.

If any of what I have written so far makes since, you might see my concern. I can sum it up in one word. Manipulation.

I am concerned that people are so busy plugging away at their Needs and giving such little thought to what it is that they Want that drives those Needs, that they, unwittingly, make it easier for themselves to work the Needs of others who may over-selfishly serve their own Wants to the detriment of those who are (apparently, unwittingly) working for them. The better we are able to understand what animates us (which is to understand how we work), the more likely that we can create an environment that leaves a person, little option than to support Needs that minimize abuse to others as much as possible.

Please share you thoughts.

Thank you,



From → Alternative

  1. Do you express wants and needs at the level of amoebae? Can you? I can see my body as trillions of cells working together (unwittingly perhaps) to survive (mediate pain?) in a way that makes sense. I wish I understood the the why of the ‘need’ for sleep in this though.

    One day, these questions and more will have answers that make sense to me.

  2. The Want/Need concept is a higher, conscious thought, level explanation of how the stress/release energy balance concept registers in our minds. I would look at it as stress and release (action/reaction) for amoebae.

    As for sleep:
    Ultimately, you have the last word on identifying your wants and deducing what you need, in order to accomplish them. The reason why I believe I need to sleep is because I think it alleviates stresses that I feel if I don’t.

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