Posted by: jackslife | April 15, 2009

Not For Want of Wanting

Another great post from Jason Peters on the Front Porch, in which he weighs the evolution of the word “want” and finds it…, well, you know.

It is amazing to see how some words come to be defined differently over time.  How does a word cease to mean “lack” and begin to mean “desire”?  The new definition certainly fits our society.  We no longer seek to merely have our needs met; now we demand that our desires are fulfilled as well.  We cry that we are being pursecuted if we are denied the newest bobble or trinket.  Even our concept of poverty would be unrecognizable to previous generations, or even to many other countries today.

Here’s a little bit of the article –

If in our economic life to want something meant to lack something essential, we would necessarily hold with Thoreau that that something amounts to little more than food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. But we don’t lack; we desire. For us, to want something means, more often than not, to desire something that is not essential. It means to crave a superfluity. And it is not by lacking but by desiring that we have consented to an economy that leads to wastefulness and profligacy. It is not by lacking but by desiring that we have accepted pollution and exhaustion as acceptable trade-offs for doing business as usual—for carrying out, that is, modernity’s imperative to achieve commodious living and ease man’s estate.



  1. That was a great article. This is something I struggle almost constantly in my personal life. I often feel almost guilty for all the excess I have in my life. Not because I feel that God does not want me to be happy and enjoy what I have, but rather that what I have is never enough. Also because of all the many ways God has provided needs and even desires, I think I should be more inclined to have compassion on those less fortunate and to help meet their needs instead of only fulfilling my own. I continue to seek for ways to be content and to show love and compassion to others.

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