Things of Want

Studying Abroad: Learning about London & Learning about Myself Learning about History and Traveling: Are These Wanted Activities? Does anyone really want to learn about world history when they’re 15 years old? Perhaps those that are destined to become history majors in college, but I wasn’t too interested in world history at that age; however, when I took World History my sophomore year of college, I was a little more interested. I became especially interested when I discovered I was able to link historical periods with literary periods. Even though my concentration isn’t literary studies, I have a high degree of interest in the Victorian period of literature (poetry & prose). Oftentimes English majors want (or tell themselves they need) to read or buy certain books. Other times English majors want (or tell themselves they need) to take advantage of certain study abroad opportunities. I fall into both categories, and luckily I was able to participate in GSU’s Victorian London’s Underworld program that took place over spring break. Of course in preparation for the trip I packed lightly because I knew I would want a lot of things. But as it turned out I what I wanted most was something that would not fit inside a suitcase. The River Thames provides more than a nice quote; it provides a basic need to many Londoners: water. What I wanted most was the experience, and that is certainly what I got. It was my first flight and international experience, and I was not disappointed. I feel that traveling is not an unusual want, and certainly not for animals. Fish, birds, butterflies, dolphins, and numerous other animals migrate regularly. Even humans migrate (though it’s arguably...

Wanting Things

As I explored the blurred line between needing things and wanting things, I thought of the seven deadly sins. The main unhealthy reasons I think that cross the line of needing things to wanting them is insecurity or addictive behavior. Healthy reasons might include artistic fascination or ways to prolong life, but are also contestable. Although there is probably a lot more psychology behind wanting objects and needing objects, I will delve into this potential theory I have proposed.  The seven deadly sins include vanity, gluttony, envy, anger, lust, greed, and laziness. I would like to exclude lust from my theory. People who can identify with any of these characteristics can typically be traced back to insecurity or have an addictive behavior towards something. The excess beyond basic needs (food, water, human interaction, transportation, exercise, sleep) has been created because of capitalism. But capitalism came from humans wanting more, right? So, I think it comes down to mental health; that is where it all started. Endorphins rushed when people got more of what they wanted, so why would they stop trying to attain more of it? Now that scientists know what happens with serotonin and endorphins with addictive behavior and distraction from denial of insecurity, we can assess the problem. Below is an argument against people who think we need more than basic necessities (and some art). In Czikszentmihalyi’s piece, he argues that human control over what goes on in the mind is very precarious, and we need things to give our minds stabilization (22). While this may be true for some people, studies of regular practice of meditation has...

What I Learned About “Wants” from Traveling 30 Countries

To begin this post I would like to begin with a quote by Nigel Marsh in which summarizes the negative impact that consumerism has on people: “There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” When I first heard this quote it really struck me because of how true it actually is and how much we can relate it to our own lives. Think about all the “status” materials out there: Lexus, Mercedes, Michael Kors, Prada, Apple, Samsung, and think about the reason people buy these things. From one point of view, a person buys these materials to “treat” themselves with extravagant things; however, another view could see this as a sign for a person wanting to impress others and the possession is merely a tool in order to impress people. However, to what extent are these desires intrinsic qualities that all humans possess and to what extent are they cultural qualities? I would like to attempt to answer this question from my own experiences that I have gained through my cross cultural experiences. All in all, I have been to thirty countries around the world, which adds up to a total of about fourteen months abroad. Throughout this time period I did not try to be the “tourist,” but I really tried to immerse myself in the different cultures and understand how they think and compare it to how I was taught to think growing up. I...
Blog Post #9: Wanting Things

Blog Post #9: Wanting Things

Over the course of the semester, one of the things we have circled around is the problem of desire. To what extent is our desire for things an intrinsic and necessary part of human existence? For example, according to Csikszentmihalyi and Belk we need objects to help us form a cohesive sense of self. And to what extent is our desire for things manufactured by what Bejamin might call the “dominant ideology”? For example, advertisers convince us we need stuff not necessarily because we need it to survive or even to be emotionally and physically comfortable, but because companies need consumers to buy their products in order to turn a profit. For this week, consider the different factors that influence human desire. What role does basic necessity play in shaping our desire for things? How do the intrinsic properties of the things we desire influence our consumption habits? How much of desire is socially constructed? Posting: Group 1 Category: Wanting Things In your Blog #9 post, you should do more than offer a list of answers to these questions. Rather, try frame your post around the description of a central experience or practice from your own life, or an interpretation and analysis of the information you’ve gathered in your research for the object analysis. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog as they’ve been outlined in the Blog Project Description. Feature Image: “CONSUMED” by Mark Colliton on Flickr....
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