I have this struggle between want and need. Really I need very little. Food. Clothing. A place to live. My computer (yes, it’s necessary). Car. Probably not much beyond that. But what I want. That’s something else and something that is manipulated all the time.
Sometimes I don’t know what I want until I see someone else with it. The light goes on. Oh, I want that. Here’s the rub. Another signal is sent to my brain that says, I need that. That’s the tricky part.
The distance between want and need is nanoseconds in our culture.
And they know.
There’s a wonderfully dark novel, Feed, where sometime in the near future, we have all been implanted with devices that connect us to the Feed—continual source of information, networking, and tracking. The Feed monitors us so it predicts what we want, sending live banners and advertisements directly into our minds. We can’t think beyond simple, profane fragments. We chase meaningless things and take drugs because we’re so happy and unhappy with being that happy. We have all the information in the world, yet we know nothing. It’s frightening, yet not so difficult to foresee happening.
It’s Black Friday and I’ve slept in (thank you Mom and Dad for taking the kids). I have never been one to go out and go crazy with shopping. If you are, my advice: stay home, shop online. The deals will be around all weekend, and they’ll pop up again right before and right after Christmas.
But I’m struggling because I want so many of those things: a new car, jeans, shoes (glorious shoes), toys for kids, new rugs… And I’m thinking, I don’t just want them, I need them.
Who cares if it’s out of my budget? I deserve those wonderful pretty things sparkling in the window.