I cant say I’ve ever really understood the difference between a need and a want and it seems sometimes in this modern society in which we live, it becomes increasingly more difficult to understand and comprehend the difference between what you may ‘need’and what you may just ‘want’. You see the phrase need means something completely different to the phrase want, one with connotations of a necessity and one of desire, however what one person may call a necessity another may simply call a desire. With this difference in understanding becomes the confusion of the terms all together and as we grow older it is said that we learn the difference between these two terms but my question is do we really ever understand the true difference?
With some things it’s easy, like for example water, is it a need or a want? Well obviously its a need because its a necessity and without it we wouldn’t survive but I can guarantee that 99.9% of you wouldn’t have ever taken a minute to think about the other side of the argument. You see, for some water could be considered a want. A desire, something they wish for but struggle to find. Lets take the people of rural Africa for example if you asked them if Water was a need or a want it may be a little bit harder for them to answer because although water is still a necessity it also becomes a desire when it isn’t so readily available. Yes they may have dirty water infected with parasites and yes it is still water and yes it is still a need but here is where it also becomes a want. They WANT clean water, water free from microbes and disease, that’s a desire.
This is where the confusion lies.
It isn’t only a confusion of words but more a confusion of cultures, of different statuses ,of different PEOPLE altogether… This however isn’t quite the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue lies within the reality of our society. Growing up in England, an MEDC, we have no shortage of the necessities like food and water which means sometimes we forget that they are necessities at all because we are constantly exposed to them without considering their worth. Its like anything, we can get too comfortable after a while, we begin to struggle to appreciate it’s worth. Take your family for example, when was the last time you sat down and fully considered all the things they have ever done for you. I don’t blame you for struggling to remember, i’d probably struggle too but let me ask you this… You know when you was doing your work and almost by magic a drink appeared by your side or how about when you got home from work or school and all your clothes had been washed and ironed and placed in a neat pile on your bed, did you ever take a moment to realise how they got there? You probably didn’t even think about it because it’s just become normality but does that in turn transform that single action into a necessity? Do you rely on that person to do that for you? If so, doesn’t that almost make it a need?
It’s things like this that cause the issues within our society because one person may think that the latest Xbox or the latest i phone is a necessity but to another person they may think that it is a desire, something that they could live without but would like to have. It’s at these times when arguments can occur and the selfish nature of our world can be revealed because we often seem to take advantage of our supplies and as a result we are manipulated into believing that we can keep adding to the ‘necessities’ list without actually considering the word itself. As a result we end up becoming more and more demanding for items claiming that we ‘need’ to have them without realising that people not so far from us have survived without them for their entire lives and will probably continues to survive without them for many years to come.
So I urge you to take a moment to consider what you value in your life as a ‘need’ or as a ‘want’ and also to take into account what others elsewhere may value as these things and perhaps you may realise that what you want isn’t always what you need…