Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Waxing Religious: What I Want vs. What I REALLY Want

I try not to get too religious with my musings and narcissistic rantings, but when I philosophize on things I find to be important, my beliefs have no successful way of hiding. You can’t effectively drown a rubber ducky, it will eventually float back up. I likewise cannot seem to submerge my religiosity without it returning to the surface at some point. But as is always the case with such texts, you can choose to stop reading the second a word makes you uncomfortable, or you can try to glean from the material something of value and interest for yourself. Just because the writer believes something, does not mean that the reader must be coaxed into a similar belief system. Literature is meant to open the mind, erase worries, and elicit never before-had thoughts.  With that under our cognitive belts, let’s get to the crux of the matter.

There are two things in this world that I want, and that I constantly want, and only recently have I been able to categorize them into two very basic groups: The things I want, and the things I REALLY want. Mind you, I am not prone to using all caps, so this was a big revelation for me. I’ve found that in almost all of my day to day decision making, in the things I desire, there are but these two degrees of want. But what is the difference? The word really, even with its brazen uniform of all caps is not that descriptive of a word. All really really implies is an entrance into reality or actuality. So when I say “I want to take out Susan this weekend” versus “I really want to take out Susan this weekend,” the only noticeable difference is that one seems more real, more genuine, more important

Here’s where I wax religious. To me, the difference in these two types of wants lies in the eternal perspective. I believe my choices will have eternal consequences, and what I REALLY want is usually indicative of an eternal desire, something I know will last and not just satisfy immediate urges.

Let’s kick a scenario. Let’s say there is someone I am courting, and I want to be intimate with them. But I also want to remain chaste, as my religious conviction reminds me. What do I do? I want to be intimate with this girl, but I want to maintain a modicum of chastity as well. So, I ask myself the simplest of questions. Which do I really want? Which choice will elevate me in the grand scheme of things? It seems like such a silly and almost ridiculous thing to have to stop and ask yourself. But I have found it helpful when contemplating what I really want. For me it is not so much a question that I ask myself before I do anything, but rather a question that remains in my head in moments of reflection and introspection. Is this something I want to keep doing, or something I REALLY want to keep doing? It’s similar to the Good/Better/Best question. Just because something isn’t abhorrent or stupid it doesn’t make that thing the best possible option. And so it is with the “What I want vs. What I REALLY want” question.

We have a tendency to think that the majority of our decisions are trivial and inconsequential in the eternal realm of things, but I think paying closer attention to the little choices, the smaller hinges that turn the wheels of our lives will prove to be greatly beneficial.  Whether you believe in an afterlife, or not, a supreme being or not, or if you just believe in the power of yourself, it isn’t a bad idea to reflect on what’s REALLY important, and if what you so often claim to want is what you REALLY want.

Thomas Wolfe, a modern writer believed deeply in the principle of small acts, the reality of all we do having a relative consequence to the future. His prose sung true in 1929 as he said,

 “Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.”