In a few weeks, Wants Blog will be able to celebrate its first anniversary, and although I have not set any clear goals for this site yet (in the realm of success and / or evidence-based statistics types of results), I do feel both good and confident enough to call the first year a satisfactory start, at least enough so that I am willing to continue with this project for the moment, for the foreseeable future, hopefully for many years to come … and I intend to make some more announcements in the coming days, or at least in celebration of the first anniversary itself (in about 3 or 4 days) — so stay tuned! 😀
Today I would like to change the pace a little and do something of a more reflective, theoretical post.
But there is no need to miss out on quoting some intelligence from the web (or, in this case, a book published by a blogger):
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.https://markmanson.net/books/subtle-art
Mark is prone to making bold statements, and this a beautiful example. I by and large agree, but in my humble opinion, I feel it’s necessary for me to add some caveats.
First of all, I strongly agree — insofar as my own interpretation of “wanting” is similar to Mark’s in that to want is (AFAIK) a germanic verb lamenting an ill state of affairs — it is “needy” (cf. “To Want“).
Lest you think I intend to move on to the rest of the sentence, I myself want to focus more on this one word. Even more than that: I intend to go off on a tangent to an experience I had several decades ago, as a graduate student of linguistics. It was in a class very focused on some of Chomsky’s theories — probably named something like “syntax”. I think the particular topic of discussion had something to do with a theoretical construct like “subcategorization frames”, and we were discussing examples of sentences like “Jack rolled down the hill” vs. “Jack rolled the ball down the hill”. I argued that I felt as if the sentence which exluded “the ball” had an implicit default scenario, in which “Jack” would simply be duplicated — as if to say: “Jack rolled Jack down the hill”. The professor and pretty much the entire class immediately put my supposition into the realm of lunacy, thereby completely disregarding it as an unthinkable thought (never mind that I am actually a native speaker of English 😛 ).
In a similar vein, I wish to now suggest that I feel it is perhaps possible to reach a frame of mind — sound mind, mind you — which may call Mark’s statement above into question, maybe even undermine it so much that it would seem to invalidate its bold and eloquent nature completely.
For this amazing feat, let me ask you to consider that the default case of statements along the line of “I want something” may actually be “I want something for myself” … and that this default case is not necessarily always present. On the contrary, it is possible to imagine a scenario in which someone who wants something actually wants something for someone else. My hunch is that Mark would argue this point as an invalid case, insofar as we cannot truly want something for other people, those other people must want things by themselves. I think I can acknowledge that as a valid argument, but I also feel that to say something like “everyone must heal themselves” may sound valid, I remain quite skeptical that many people would be so foolish as to condemn the entire healthcare industry — the sole purpose of which is to heal others — as something akin to an impossible fantasy.
Therefore, I come to the conclusion that since wanting something for someone else may indeed be not only possible but also quite likely a positive experience (insofar as that wanting is not egotistical, but an experience which is quite reminiscent of the “golden rule”), leading me to believe that it is indeed quite a good thing to practice.
I plan to return to this topic in a few (or more) days, in order to give some more details about which direction I hope to go with such ideas as this. In the meantime, I also recommend checking out more of Mark’s ideas, which I also wrote about in “the pervasiveness of technology and mass marketing is screwing up a lot of people’s expectations for themselves” and “mental health and self-improvement“.