Want Versus Need

I think the following is the greatest, most scathing indictment of modern society it is possible to make:

Apple is the most valuable company in the world.

Not because of something negative done by the corporation, but because they simply (and very effectively) build things we want. Very little of Apple’s business derives from fulfilling an actual need. Again, I do not hold this against the corporation or their shareholders. Indeed, I own several Apple products myself. Further, I am sure technological developments begun by Apple have made life easier for many.

No, I hold it against our society.

Do we really need all our entertainments with us at all times? Do we need to be connected to everyone, all the time? Do we need to have all our favorite shows available?

No, we want those things.

When people become confused between wanting and needing something, they tend to make terrible mistakes in judgement. I am thinking in terms of the housing market collapse and subsequent financial ruin heaped upon so many. People didn’t need their home value to soar, they needed a roof over their heads. Instead, I wanted and with many others sharing from the same smoking bong of self-destruction, refinanced and nearly lost my home.

People don’t need a new car every few years, and they certainly don’t need a massive SUV to shuttle their lone child between soccer practice and their X’s place. They want that big shiny piece of shit so they can show their X how wonderful they are getting on without them.

We don’t need arguments about who did what, when. We need solutions to the problems at hand. Unfortunately, people want the easy. They want the answer which requires little thought and, on first glance, most conforms to their views of how the world should be. As a result, our political systems shudder and shake, making no movement toward the sanity we need. Instead they crash drunkenly toward a consensus of the stupid, self-involved, and narcissistic.

We need to perceive the difference between our wants and our needs, or drown in our own shit.

No one wants to be responsible for pulling us out of this. If it goes on long enough, no one will need us any longer.

And we will be there, lying in our shit; weighed, measured, and found wanting.