How do we know what we want?

Story by Taylor Hodges

Today, I woke up, poured myself a bowl of Fruit Loops and began eating them until I finished the last bite. I considered it to be a successful breakfast in which I was satisfied, but was it what I really wanted or did I just think I wanted it because it was the most readily available box of cereal to me? Did I want them because I’ve seen the advertisements on TV or was I attracted to the design of the box? The point of the matter is, I ate the Fruit Loops and felt satisfied eating them, but what caused me to actually want them and did I actually want them?

There is a huge difference between needs and wants, but one may find that wants are apart of needs just as much as needs are apart of wants. For example, we need food, water, shelter and healthcare to survive, but each one of these needs provides us with choices. We may choose what food we want, what water we want, and what healthcare we want. When you think about it, it’s pretty obvious we need those four items to survive. We can’t choose if we want food or water, we have to have it otherwise we would die. When you look at wants however, we may think we know what we want just like we know we need food and water to survive, but how can we be sure it’s actually what we want instead of some third party telling us this is what we should want?

We have all been in the situation where we’ve been watching TV and an advertisement comes on for a beauty product or a fast food chain. Sometimes this prompts us to go buy those products because we feel like we want them. But do we really want them or were we brainwashed into believing we wanted them by strong advertising? Can we ever be sure we are making a decision based on our genuine belief that we want something or are our wants based off what’s advertised to us? How can we tell the difference?

This theory doesn’t just go for things we eat or which healthcare we choose, it applies to EVERYTHING. It applies to what car you drive, what career you are in, heck, even who your wife/husband is. How do we know we actually wanted that car or career?

If you are skeptical about this theory and question why I believe this let me provide you an example that, in my opinion, should put the skepticism to rest.

Media plays a big part in what we choose and want, wouldn’t you say so? Music, TV, and movies are apart of media and it’s no question we are extremely influenced by them. It’s not just commercials anymore. Take for example music. Have you ever noticed that what you hear on the radio is eerily similar? Have you noticed that country music is incorporating more “edgy” lyrics than it ever did before? Have you noticed that hip-hop and R&B songs are praising the efforts of women and men acting immoral and sleeping with whomever, wherever, and making it seem like its completely normal and actually encouraged? These are just a few examples that came to mind. While the hip-hop and R&B fiasco has been around for awhile, have you noticed that movies and TV shows are now carefully placing characters into the “cheater” role? Wouldn’t you say that cheating has almost become a normalcy in our society today? Certainly, there are people who don’t accept it (such as myself), but it’s almost brushed off like it isn’t a big deal anymore. It’s almost normal and isn’t met with the same disgust as it once was.

The point of the matter is, where do we draw the line between knowing what we value and want and thinking what we value and want? Is it something we can easily understand? I think not. I really don’t know at this point how you can tell the difference, but I sure hope we figure it out before it’s too late and we are running around basing everything we do off of what we were told was a good idea.

About the Writer…10301416_10155109711375080_5312500598063418902_n

Taylor Hodges is a senior majoring in Sport Management/Business Administration. He is the current sports editor of The Saint and his favorite hockey team is the Pittsburgh Penguins. He hopes to one day break into the hockey business as a General Manager, but until then, he encourages you to follow him on Twitter and download his mixtape.

Categories: Opinion

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