Who gets to decide what you want?Posted by Kurt Daradics on August 31, 2009
When George Washington was a teenager, did he really, really, really want a car?
In order to want something, you probably need to know it exists. But my guess is that it surely helps if you've been marketed to.
One definition of happiness is wanting the things you're likely to get (or, conversely, not wanting the unattainable). One definition of marketing is persuading the world it wants what you have, regardless of whether they can afford it or not.
We don't hesitate to motivate employees by marketing them the benefits of being promoted, even if they all can't possibly get this. We don't hesitate to tease kids by marketing every conceivable unattainable Christmas gift at them, relentlessly.
Teenage girls are taught what to want by magazines and by peers.
Patients are taught what to want by doctors who prescribe new tests. And doctors are taught to do that by lawyers eager to sue if they don't. Imagine going home and saying, "the doctor wanted to give me another test, but I said no..."
This cycle of assigned wants is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The game theory demands it.And so, once again it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with.