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Chapter 06: Want VS Need

We want and we need, but they are not the same. I will argue that if one only follows what one wants you will regress as a person, this is not to say that one should never indulge, on the contrary, the word to underline is only. Want is connected to what you know or imagine you like or will like. In contrast, if you follow your need you grow as a person. Need is connected to what you do not know and it is impartial to if you like it or not, which means it can be painful, traumatic and unpleasant.

I was inspired by the book Dune to use the following metaphor, imagine a group of people living on a desert planet who want to make there planet into a green paradise. However for them to be the hardiest and strongest people in the universe they need the desert and extreme conditions to form them. In this case, there want is what drives them, but it is there need that shapes them and if they should ever fulfill what they want they will cease to be the hardiest and strongest people in the universe. One could argue that in getting what they want they would lose there independence and become subjects of a greater system, that may not have the peoples best interest at hart. The key I believe in avoiding such a fate might be to create a want that is never achievable. Which is exactly what some religions have done, by creating a promise of a paradise after death, but again one becomes subjects of a greater system that enables power, wealth and subjugation. A system that exploits the idea that we have a need for struggle, twisting it to legitimize one’s power.

I once argued that if heaven and hell were real then heaven would be as much a hell as hell, my argument at the time was that pleasure without pain was pain. One needed a balance, but most importantly pleasure could be negative and pain could be positive. This idea is perfect as an analogy for want and need, we want pleasure and want to avoid pain, however we need pain and if we fulfill our want for pleasure we will only find pain. In the past, I would argue that the answer should be to strive for balance, whilst that is a good answer, there is a problem, it is quantifiable and suggests a finite resolution, therefore that too is vulnerable to exploitation.

If ones want is exploration, then there is never a point of achievement from where stagnation and regression can fester, but most importantly to truly explore one cannot be regulated by a system, disabling the possibility for a minority to create the idea of static power and wealth that can be quantified. What we now have is an alignment between want and need, they are no longer in opposition in that if one achieves what one wants one loses what one needs. This is not balance; instead, it is a constant state of flux.

As humans, it is easy to want to live passively, but we need to live actively to fulfill our purpose as humans. We can achieve active living by exploring, there are many ways to explore, and one way might be to truly use all our senses to experience the moment. Another way we can explore is to take on the attributes of the natural fool and become a licensed fool.


  1. Steven Cunningham-Sherret January 21, 2019

    We are hunter gatherers by nature. We are required to seek sustenance. If we are conveniently catered for then we no longer have purpose (we don’t have purpose).

    I have the ability to access the entirety of human knowledge via my phone. The immediate availability of this information is as stultifying as it is rewarding.

    We have regressed towards infantilism from the 1950’s onwards. I would posit that the ultimate objective of capitalism is for us to return to a spoon fed infant state. Androgyny is an indication of the decline of empire.

    The Fremen are stronger for their lack of water. They possess the strength and, crucially, the resource (spice malange) to eventually dominate. They foresee this through religious prophecy. Belief unifies the Fremen, we believe in nothing (of import).

  2. Steven Cunningham-Sherret January 21, 2019

    ‘Ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas’.

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