Desire: The deception of consumerism

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Louise Hay
@louisehay
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In Psychology, the boundary between desire and necessity is well defined but in real everyday life it is not always easy to separate what you want from what we really need. The reason is simple: we come to desire something with such intensity that it becomes a real need. Or it would be better to say that we make it a condition to be happy, to feel good, to feel complete ...

What causes the confusion between desire and need? 

In the last few decades there has been such an increase in production at any level that it seems that our only goal on the face of the earth is to buy products: the latest model of car, the hi-tech mobile phone, the fashionable dress, having a large, modern home ... in the end, we don't realize that we are voluntarily plunging into a bottomless spiral that pushes us lower and lower.



However, we don't need many of the things we buy. We simply want them.

It was the ingenious and witty advertising campaigns created by the different brands that made us believe that we need certain things to feel happy, complete and integrated into the social group in which we live.

Did you know, for example, that Apple's white headphones aim not only to stand out from the competition, but also to create a sense of belonging to the group? That is, when the mp3 phenomenon exploded, those who owned white earphones stood out from the rest of mere mortals.

So everyone knew, observing that person, that he owned an Apple reproducer, and therefore, he also had a certain purchasing power and belonged to a well-defined social group (the classic group to which almost everyone wants to belong: young people of the middle class- high).



In that moment, a simple desire (to have an iPod) becomes a necessity. Because we think we will only be happy if we have this device. That is, we link our well-being to a simple desire. And this confusion is not limited only to material possessions, but is also evident in many other aspects of life, from relationships to work.

Definition of concepts 

At this point, I believe it is important to take a step back and reconsider our true needs. To do this, it is necessary to start from the differences between need and desire.

First, we must understand that human beings have two types of needs: primary and secondary. Basic needs include breathing, nutrition, a safe roof to feel protected under, rest, and a few others.

Secondaries are those that are not essential for survival, but are important for our personal development: such as the need to relate to others, to love and be loved.

As you can imagine, these needs can be met in different ways. If we are hungry, we can eat our fill of plain bread, but we can also opt for caviar.

At this point it comes into action the desire; that is, the need ceases to be a widespread and generic feeling of the lack of something and focuses on a specific object. We stop feeling hungry and develop a desire to eat caviar.

Since in Western society we see all our basic needs more or less met, desire has managed to gain a lot of space. So, since we no longer feel a real "hunger", we often tend to crave some dishes rather than others. Of course, this attitude extends to many other aspects of life.



More wishes = More unhappiness 

The famous phrase “those who have the most are no longer happy, but those who want the least” fits perfectly. Firstly, I believe that wishing is good and can help you grow as a person, but only if we set realistic goals and set up appropriate action plans.This is not meant to be a crusade against everyone. wishes but rather against superficial desires, those for which we are willing to sacrifice our happiness and without which we could live perfectly, perhaps even better.


Fortunately, the antidote is simple: ask yourself if what you want is really necessary and how you would use it. Always ask yourself if there is another way, perhaps simpler and more natural, to satisfy your needs.

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