04 June 2015

Meconomics: Can you Buy Happiness?

This post is a continuation to:

Meconomics: I need my Wants and Want my Needs to be Satisfied
Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living 
Meconomics: Do you Spend your Money Objectively or Subjectively?

I ended off my previous post with the following:

“So – we have looked at how wants can in a moment override a need – where we identified subjective experiences and time as important players – but we can look a bit further and ask: why does it sometimes feel like we ‘NEEEED’ the things that we ACTUALLY don’t need. Objectively speaking – they are wants, things you can go without – and yet, you can experience a sense of ‘urgency’ and ‘must have’ and ‘I need it’ towards that which you want. Now wants really start messing with your sense of priority, lol. It’s one thing to be clear on the fact that what you are enticed by in a moment is not something you truly need, but you want to indulge yourself anyway – it’s another to feel like you actually NEED it when you don’t.”

Let’s do an exercise: search for one of those moments in your memory – a moment where: you felt that you absolutely NEEDED to have something, where, if you look back at it now, you didn’t ACTUALLY really need it, but you wanted it so bad that it FELT like you needed it. Now zoom in to the actual experience of need and ask yourself the following: were you experiencing physical discomfort? Were you deprived of something on a physical level, which needed replenishing to ensure you remain functional in your body? Were you in physical danger?

You’ll see that the answers to those questions are ‘no’ – because the apparent ‘need’ was not experienced on a physical level – it was instead experienced on an ENERGETIC/ EMOTIONAL level – where we feel we are being emotionally tortured so long as we don’t go and buy whatever it is we’ve now fixated on wanting to get. If those are not actual, physical, genuine needs, then what are they?

Here we need to actually look at different types of wants or desires. And more specifically – how realistic our expectations are of fulfilling these wants and desires. See – you can want to have a cup of coffee, because you expect that for a moment you’ll really enjoy drinking that coffee and it might assist you being more focused and awake for a short period of time – and when actually having that coffee – that’s exactly what you’re experiencing and what happens. That would be a want with realistic expectations. A want with unrealistic expectations, would be for instance if you want to buy the newest smart-phone because you think your friends will accept you if you keep up with the latest tech trends. What you actually want here, or expect to gain – is acceptance – that is the underlying want you are looking to fulfil. Now smartphones can increasingly do very impressive stuff – but giving you acceptance in yourself and your life is a huge and unrealistic responsibility to place on any phone. Realistic expectations of fulfilling a want stand in direct relation to the actual properties and functions of your want. If you like the taste of coffee, then you will enjoy drinking that cup of coffee and coffee has the characteristic and property of keeping you awake and more focused for a little while – those expectations stand in direct relation to your want, which is coffee. Acceptance however, is not directly related to a smartphone – it’s not within its power to give that to you. When you buy a smartphone, what you will get is a smartphone – acceptance is not part of the package.

It is when we have such unrealistic expectations of fulfilling a particular want – that the experience of ‘want’ can be experienced as a ‘need’ or a ‘must have’. And this is known by the marketing industry and is deliberately used within advertising strategies. I watched a series the other day where one of the characters, who was a car salesman said: “I don’t sell cars, I sell freedom”. As an exercise for yourself, you can look at advertisement and try to see what unrealistic expectation they are trying to create within their viewers – and as a fun challenge within that: try to see how many products apparently will give you passionate sex, lol – advertisements of all kinds of products, from soft drinks, to cars, to perfumes – implicitly play on the desire and urge for sex to sell their products for them. 

So what is it about those wants where we have unrealistic expectations, that we would experience them as a ‘need’?

I’ll continue exploring this topic in my next post.


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