Of Want

May 16, 2010

So now that the semester has been over for a while and I no longer have any major home projects to work on, I can get to work on updating this with some form of regularity. Another reason it’s taken a while is that I was trying to come up with something to write about, but tonight it actually came to me which is always better than trying to force something. I definitely prefer inspiration based writing, so there’s a good chance more of these will come out on a per-idea basis. It remains to be seen.

For this evening’s piece, the discussion will focus on the philosophical discussion of what it is to ‘want’ something. I’ve been tossing about for the past month why I hold desire for certain things, and why some things hold more strength of want than others. For example, I can easily afford a subscription to a game I enjoy to a great extent, yet I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of it for a couple of weeks now. On the other hand, I’m willing to spend even more for a game that I already know I won’t enjoy as much, and haven’t even second guessed it. Why is this? At this point nothing conclusive has come up, so I’ll continue on with some other aspects and maybe my thought processes will kick in as I’m writing. One can always hope.

The major factor behind this continued train of thoughts evolved from my trying to understand what exactly I want in a relationship, and ended up with questioning my want of one in the first place.I knew I enjoyed certain activities associated with relationships (i.e. cuddling, etc), but got into a multiple part debate about whether I needed a relationship just for these things, whether I could even hold a real relationship after only having limited ones in the past, whether I enjoyed relationships just for those aspects, and other related ideas. Eventually, the mental proceedings reached the point of was I sure if I even wanted any of this. Obviously, I enjoyed at least parts of it, so I should at least want those parts, right? Not so, it would seem, because I then reached the point where I wasn’t even sure if I liked those things at all, or if for the right reasons. Did I like them because they were part of the relationship, or because they brought me happiness on only some levels? Other questions arose as well that began to bring me in a circle, so I dove down into the philosophy of why one would want anything.

I am very must a proponent of instinct. I trust that this body will tell me what I need so as to fulfill my requirements for life and happiness, and thus I follow these desires to the best of my ability. Straightforward this seems logical, after all self-preservation is the backbone of instinct and thus your body would tell you what you need to survive and the like. But the problem arises when you look at survival needs vs mental needs. Since all want is basically “I have a desire towards X” and is a good feeling  exerted mentally towards whatever X might be (except in the case of negative reinforcement, i.e. “I do not want Y and since X is the opposite I want that”), it can be difficult to differentiate the two. You can obviously feel hunger in your stomach, but do you not also feel it mentally, the need to eat? The same can be said for emotional (mental) desires. When you like someone, it is mostly a mental process, but can you not also feel the metaphorical butterflies?

And then comes the fact that there are some thing I enjoy vs. things I want. It might seem obvious that you want the things you enjoy, but do you enjoy everything you want? Are you sure you want or enjoy anything at all?

This isn’t really making much sense anymore, I just can’t pour my thoughts onto the screen fast enough and thus this clusterfuck of concepts appeared. In all honesty, I’m not sure what all to write about this problem. I know it is a problem because I can’t figure it out, so really I just wanted to put something down in hopes I could organize my thoughts more. This was pretty unsuccessful, but I just needed to get it out in some way. Ponder it what you will, but there is no definitive anything here. Hopefully I can get something real next time.

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