Ever since my childhood Ive wanted to put this little blue pill to bed. Now I finally have the articulation and the platform to do so. Without further adoooo… (?) Lets examine the following platitude.
“You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”
Before We more closely examine each part of this common saying, vocabulary up to this point would be helpful.
1. want [ wont ]
desire something: to feel a need or desire for something
wish something done: to desire to do something or that something be done
miss something: to feel the lack of something
2. need [ need ]
require something: require something in order to have success or achieve a goal
be necessary: used to indicate that a course of action is desirable or necessary
deserve something: to deserve something, especially as punishment
Alright lets take the first part “You can’t always get what you want.” My first response to this would initially be… Why not? Why can’t you always get what you want out of life? I for one, have always been a fairly reasonable person. My wants have always been pretty basic. Family, Job, Friends, Lovers, and Music. I have never wanted, for instance, to be a Dragon. Which brings me to my next point. YOU decide what YOU want. Therefore its entirely possible to set your bar exceedingly low and always get what you want. Do you want nothing more than to work at Target, rent a studio apartment, and spend your free time playing Minecraft? There. I’ve just come up with a scenario where someone always got what they wanted, and it wasn’t even that challenging. Barring impossibilities, its not at all unlikely that you actually get everything you want… Every time.
“You get what you need.” Said who? Mick Jagger? And now you. When people hear the word need in this phrase they tend to take it down to bare bone essentials. You need food in order to eat. Air in order to breath. Shelter in order to not freeze your nuts off. The key part here is in order to without that, the word need is essentially meaningless. How exactly are we determining that you “get what you need” who or what is making this so? God? Ah yes… The lord will provide. Why don’t you try telling that to Mujimbe Bumbambo in whatever third world African shithole. You see today he needed his hands in order to whack off… Unfortunately some warlord decided to cut them off. Did he really need his hands though? Perhaps he merely wanted his hands. The answer is yes. In order to whack off… With the proper “in order to”, any want can be turned into a need.
Now we get to the social conditioning nature of this retarded saying. Like all truisms it sounds good. Its meant to imply that wanting anything apart from basic survival is a little too much to expect. It also implies that you not working to attain what you want is alright and completely normal. The more people that spout this garbage the more its alright for you to gravitate towards elementary subsistence. Whenever people try to explain the difference between want and need, I always let it go in one ear and right out the other. In my mind the two words are completely interchangeable. If you have the time and computer to read philosophy on the internet, you most likely have your survival needs fulfilled. It might just be time to find the proper in order to to turn your wants into needs.
Think about it.