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What I Want vs. What I Need
This explosion has been created by confusing two things in the minds of consumers: a desire for a product and a conviction that you need that product. Slow down and think a little about that last, and look at your own self from this perspective, then keep reading.
If you look around you, you will see that the message that most advertisements have in common around the world is, “You need this product.” The concept of wanting is all but extinct. There is a great difference between what you need and what you want. What you want is more than what you have; you would like to have it, but you can certainly do without it. What you need is a lack of a necessary thing; you will suffer so long as you do not have it. To control your thoughts and transform your wants into needs, we focus on you.
We focus on your Self and the improvement in your appearance if the product concerns appearance: clothing, accessories, perfume, makeup, slimming aids, and other things that will make you ‘special’. We tell you that if you do not rush to buy the product, the Other will vanquish you; the Other will be more attractive, sweeter-smelling, thinner, in a word, more special. The same goes for your home: all sorts of ideas to improve your social position, your children’s physical and emotional well-being, and to make your wife as beautiful and perpetually smiling as the model in the commercial! This miracle can only happen if you swap out your bathroom, your kitchen, your windows, plates, cups and so on, and preferably buy a whole new house. You will also be more refined, of a higher class… and Special! If you do not, well, you allow the Other to become better than you; not only that, but They will form a clique, in their gated communities, and look down on you and laugh. How much better, then, to join Them and become one of Us, and look down on some other Them from on high.
All these are subliminal messages, invisible and implicit. Most commercials now are based on these messages: different forms of pressure to become special, and threats of the Other becoming better than you if you do not give in and buy. Mission accomplished: “I want” has been turned into “I need.” But again, what has Ego to do with this?
The fact is that Ego is at the heart of the matter. Deliberately or not, the buttons to activate Ego have been pushed. I/Others/Specialness/Threat. This has resulted in the consciousness-washing, and unconsciousness-washing, of the consumer, by activating the individual and collective ego. This in turn activates self-centeredness.
Make a note of what you want and what you need in your life, and the difference between them.