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Old 05-10-2010, 03:53 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: New England USA
Posts: 1,231

I like this discussion too !

But like so many other philosophical topics, it's a semantic trap.
So for me, I don't get fixated on what a particular term may mean - or be defined by others (including Maslow or any other philosopher/scientist).

What I try to focus on is what action will occur, and what effects will there be (in my or others lives) , by viewing a particular situation (or word/term) in a particular way.

The terms 'want' and 'need' seem particularly sensitive to this !


If we - in our own mind - define something as a 'need' then we may go to quite extremes to fulfill that supposed 'need'. Because, as your question points out, in the English language we have established an absolute heirachy between the terms. We've accepted that 'needs' are something almost - or fully - critical to our survival. Therefore, lacking them, our survival may be threatened. Consequently our reaction to this will be proportional.

'Wants' on the other hand we have assigned a position lower on the scale and programmed ourselves to believe that regardless of the intensity of these 'wants', they are not critical to our survival and therefore can be sacrificed more easily when necessary.

So it really becomes somewhat of an individual choice where we place various desires that we encounter.
But that 'choice' has huge implications for us and everyone we interact with in life. It has a primary impact on our own happiness !

By minimizing what we push to the top ('need' position) our lives can become more simple. Actions are not as rash and emotionally driven. When we feel our true 'needs' are reasonably met life is just simpler and more pleasant to flow through.

And this does not in any way stand in the way of defining certain 'wants' that would make things even better. But it does take some of the emotional urgency away from them and in the long run sometimes make achieving them more probable.

But that's only my view.............

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