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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Wants and needs

via reddit

We always want things we don’t have and disregard those same things when we do have them. This is the paradox of desire, which also manifests itself with items we think we need. 

We don’t need anything other than food, water, and some proper rest. Yet we often take these physiological needs for granted. If there were ever a food storage, god forbid we should hoard all the bread and water! Needs are a means of survival. 

Everything else (art, technology, cars, love) are symptoms of social belonging. What makes them feel necessary are mimetic desires and the will to communicate, also essential to survival. If one doesn’t have a smartphone with email, do they even exist? 

The non-essential becomes pervasive through social utility. Being jealous of what other people do or have compels us to conform. Feeling needed, heard, and important is vital to mankind. 

No one is neutral. Most of our choices arise from the productive promise of hope — that is, only after we get something to eat and drink. And maybe a little bit of Wifi too.

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Are We Still On?

We’re always on.  

Just because you stepped away from the computer and got outside doesn’t mean you fully embraced disconnectedness.

In fact, you’re more likely to be head down browsing the Internet on your mobile phone, chatting with friends, taking a selfie or food shot and uploading it to Instagram, or playing a mindless game.   

This is the culture we live in.  This is the culture of hyper interconnectedness and ubiquitous entertainment we all helped build.  We’re never bored but we’re ever more distracted.   

Contrary to popular opinion, mobile addiction isn’t the new smoking.  But we need to moderate our use kind of like we did five years ago when the devices weren’t Internet-connected.  

“We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan

Let’s face it:  Constant connectedness is a problem.  The phone threatens to converge all our attention and replace our eyes.  Screens are augmenting reality so that the pure world becomes fake.

Google Glasses is an amazing piece of technology, virtually a Smartphone for the eyes, but it’s only going to make screen culture worse.  We’ll record everything and remember nothing.  We’ll have face to face conversations without ever truly looking at each other and having a genuine conversation. 

A second digital self is emerging.  We all risk turning into machines.  

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 

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