Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Random Musing...

 So earlier in the day, I was talking to a friend of mine about life. What it all boils down to was the difference between wants and needs. I have been thinking about the difference between an individual’s understand of wants and needs.

I’m not pointing the finger at everyone but myself, because I’m guilty as well. I mean, I want ten million dollars, but I only need a certain amount to pay bills and have fun. It seems like in today’s world, there is no line to separate any individual’s wants from needs. 

As a former 7th and 8th grade school teacher, many of my former students confuse their wants with their needs. They want a video game, they don’t need it. They don’t want to do homework, they need to. They need to understand how our government works, but they don’t want to.  I use to have a class that they would tell me an item they wanted and its price. We would then work out what they needed to do to achieve their goal. The purchase of a $250 item took them much longer than they expected. Working a job making $10 per hour, then having taxes taken out gave them a view of the true cost of the item. Now, they are 13 and 14 years old, but the lesson did take hold for some of them.

They were confusing wanting something with needing it. Typed another way, they are confusing pleasure with happiness. One can find pleasure anywhere and is a short term want. Happiness is a long term need that pays off later. Some pleasures are good like reading a good book or talking with friends and can bring happiness. But many times, the search for pleasure leads to problems in the long term. Achieving short term pleasure at the expense of long term happiness is a major problem.  

Today, people in this country are demanding more “pleasure” than “happiness.”  It is interesting that our Declaration of Independence states that we have a right to the "pursuit of happiness." The DoI and the US Constitution protect the people’s happiness and not their pleasure. There is a difference between the "pursuit of pleasure" and the "pursuit of happiness."  I put forward that the "pursuit of happiness" is a group effort while the "pursuit of pleasure" is an individual effort. Our founders created our form of government to give us our needs (the pursuit of happiness) not our wants (the pursuit of pleasure). 

The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were created using the word “we.”  The search for happiness is always a road to be traveled on with others. Our government should therefore focus on allowing us the opportunity to pursue happiness in our lives and in the country as a whole. It should not restrict us to give pleasure to a select few groups, States or individuals. The 10th Amendment protects our right to the pursuit of happiness not of pleasure.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I don't know that I buy the pursuit of happiness as being a group effort. I can't think of too many people I'd trust with my version of "happiness".