Concerning Want & Inspiration

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A reply to the author "tillymay," regarding my essay "The Absence of Want"

WANT: think of a big photo of steve jobs holding the newest version of an ipad

INSPIRATION: ayaan hirsi ali

Submitted: March 27, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 27, 2011



Regarding my essay, The Absence of Want, the author “tillymay” wrote:


“One can also learn what to keep, and what to spit out with this act of consumption, with the exception of Hitler, I believe every cloud has a silver lining. Without the need you describe, would we still have healthy inspirations? In absence of the negative, there would be no positive. I suggest that while you make an excellent argument, want, healthy wants, elevate us and we become more human, zeroing in on how we ultimately difine ourselves.”


my response:


Healthy wants are subjective.  Our consumer culture takes advantage of our impulse to want, and we succumb to it.  I am not speaking of inspiration.  Inspiration and want are not the same thing.  To want is to acknowledge a deficiency of some kind.  If I want to be something, to have something, to be somewhere, I acknowledge that in my present moment, I am not with, I do not have, and I am not presently in the place which I desire to be in.  To put it even more simply, you cannot want what you already have.  If you want to have something that you already do, then it is not that which you really want (for at best, you can only have another---acknowledging multiple alleviations of that want---or you simply have a replacement).  A want is specific.  It can only be satisfied by what it requires---exactly & precisely. 


Something which inspires you, propels your ambition.  It can exist outside anything shared by another human being.  It too, like want, is exclusively specific to the individual in question, however it differs with an important exception.  Inspiration is primal.  It resides in that place wherein humans act most impulsively.  The actions which come from inspiration are not to be regarded as inspiration itself.  They are merely the side-effects of such thoughts & ideas (if we can even call inspiration such).  Because of inspiration’s unique primal quality, it cannot be capitalized on in the same manner in which want may be.  All inspirations are healthy, if you consider human ambition healthy.  You cannot have one without the other.  The problem can arise, as in the case of  Hitler, which you yourself specifically cite, wherein the one inspired takes that inspiration and acts in a way that is detrimental to the survival of our species (as in Hitler’s case, this extreme example most assuredly was an attempt to reduce our species---at least those that he felt might not share the exact same inspiration as he himself did---and there lies the negative aspect of inspiration---it is completely relative to the individual, no matter how savagely malicious one may be). 


In defining ourselves, are we inspired to do so, or is it simply out of want that we do so?  Can it be both?  What is the reason that one who feels that they must define themselves gives themselves?  Isn’t defining oneself something shared?  It seems to be unspecific to any one individual, and in that, I feel it should be thrown into the want category.  In questioning whether we are “defined” we are engaging in a comparison between ourselves and something else---whatever that might be.  It is irrelevant, the nature of this other variable.  The only thing that matters in this is that there is another variable.  It seems to me less primal, and instead, more mechanical.  Once you feel undefined, for whatever reason, you feel the need to define yourself, and therein lies your want.  You will do anything in your power to satisfy it---especially in the case of self-definition, as in a circular manner, without it, you will feel that you cannot make another move---for that very move is one in which you further unravel into indefinable obscurity, or as you see it, you begin to define yourself.  Either way, these sensations are products of want. 

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