Cecilia Vatera

Cecilia Vatera is an expression of ideas. I post my thoughts and inspirations here, in the expectation that those who read it will question and challenge it, pass it to trusted friends and family who will also challenge it, and then explain to me their contradictory thoughts. Please, let this compilation broaden your way of thinking.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On "Want"

The following excerpt was written during my junior year of high school. It is reccomended to read On "Right" and "Wrong" after finishing this piece.

"I am at school in the library right now. I should probably be studying for my SAT but I really am bored and I just spent an hour doing math, I need a break.
My SAT is this Saturday and I have barely studied for it at all. I have a math practice book that I read during SSR but other than that I am not prepared. People In my classes are carrying around twenty pound books that they study from every free moment they have. Some are even taking SAT prep classes, but I’m not. I don’t really know why. I told someone it was because my GPA would be good enough that I wouldn’t need to prove my intelligence. I told someone else that I don’t care about the SAT, that the ACT is more important to me. But I think the real reason is that I am just lazy. I always say that if you want something you’ll get it.
This is because if you want something you will work for it and eventually earn it. Although it would be nice to get an 1850 on my SAT this weekend, I don’t want it badly enough to work for it, and I probably wont get it. It really irks me when somebody says they want something and then do nothing to achieve it. No matter what, if you really want something you will find a way to get it. A 5.0? you’ll find a way. A new car? That’s an easy one. A husband? There’s nothing holding you back. People just use “want” as code for “I wish it could be handed to me”.
In history, we are learning about the great depression and I guess one of the main goals of that era were the four freedoms: freedom of religion, of speech, from fear and from want. Freedom from want? I really have no idea what it is supposed to mean politically but I think I have realized what it means personally. It means that to be free from want you are free from hoping something will happen. Without the possibility of something happening without your interference, everyone would have to work extra hard. For instance, if I wanted to be a millionaire, I might play lotto every week. Instead of investing that money in stock or another more productive way, I would spend twenty dollars a week hoping that something will happen for me. The problem is that these things happen by accident. I could have gotten a job where I could work my way to the top and save money. I could have started my own business to earn a profit. I could have done so many things rather than play the lotto, but lotto is the easiest one to do so of course that’s the one everybody tries. And because people aren’t doing something that really would make them a millionaire, they just don’t get what they “want”. In actuality, they don’t really want it because no one truly believes they are going to become a millionaire by playing lotto. They know that it is just a dream that would be nice if it worked out, but it’s just not going to. That makes it not a “want” but a hope or a dream
And that is what FDR meant in “freedom from want” I think. He meant that it was freedom to hope that other people would change the world for you and you just had to sit around and watch. His new deal did just that. Durring the depression, the unemployed blamed themselves for not keeping jobs and tried hard to get work. In today’s recession, people blame the banks, the government, anything but them selves. That’s because they don’t want to fix the economy, they hope it will be fixed. They aren’t willing to do anything, but they hope that one day somebody will. I don’t think that freedom from want is something to aspire to. We only do what we want to and if we get frustrated, we blame someone else.
For instance, if I was asked to mow the lawn, I could say I don’t want to but that’s only true if I don’t end up mowing it. In reality, I would want to not get in trouble with my parents so I would mow the lawn. Meaning I wanted to mow the lawn. If for some reason I really honestly didn’t want to mow the lawn, I wouldn’t do it and would suffer the consequences. That’s why I also get frustrated when people say they don’t want to do something. They say they don’t want to go to work, then fine, don’t show up, get fired. They don’t want to get fired so they go to work, hence they wanted to go to work. If you really don’t want to do something, you won’t.
Someone holds a gun to your head and says they want you to give them all the jewelry at the store you own. You don’t want to because it is enough to put you out of business, but you also don’t want to get shot. You weigh which one you want more in your head and conclude that you would rather go bankrupt than be dead so you give the robber the jewelry. You wanted to give the robber the jewelry. You didn’t have to, you could have chosen to be killed, but you didn’t want to die.
It’s all very simple and clean, but people see too many things as a want or a don’t want when in fact they are confusing things with “it would be nice” or “I would prefer not to”. However, both of these phrases would continue with a “but I understand that…” and the person would realize that what they really want is what may not seem as pleasing. Bottom line: You get what you want, you don’t have to do anything.
Which brings me back to my SAT. I don’t really want to do well on it, I don’t know why, but if I did, I would be studying right now instead of writing this."

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