General Question

Jude's avatar

Why is it for some, that we want what we can't have?

Asked by Jude (31980 points ) April 9th, 2009

What’s the appeal? Is it because it’s a challenge? And, if you do get it in the end, sometimes, it’s like “Meh…”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

qashqai's avatar

Because we know what we already have. We don’t know what we don’t have. And for that we want it.

The unknown is fascinating.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Happiness lies in the process of attaining, not in having. Happiness lies in anticipation.

Darwin's avatar

Because some of us are immature and forget to “count our blessings.”

funky_princess's avatar

its a challenge

Mr_M's avatar

When this exists in an adult, it’s called an obsession.

Jude's avatar

@Mr_M I agree..

(I never did get why people did this..)

Bluefreedom's avatar

Because we’re only human and certain wants and desires, even those out of our own grasp that we’ll never be able to obtain, are natural feelings everyone has at one time or another. For those that say they’ve never felt this way, they’re probably lying.

DragonFace's avatar

I blame society

Darwin's avatar

I blame television.

If you don’t know it exists it is hard to long for it.

Judi's avatar

There was this garden where these two people, Adam and eve lived in complete bliss. They could have anything they wanted. Everything they needed was taken care of. The only thing off limits was one fruit tree that stood in the middle of the garden…...
@jmah This is probably the oldest question in human history! I wish I understood the answer better. Maybe I would be a better person.

Zen's avatar

I, do not want, what I have not got.

ubersiren's avatar

The grass is always greener. It’s the thrill of the hunt. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Failure to waste not, want not. Failure to count your blessings. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. We dream the impossible dream. If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with. Reach for the stars. Knowledge is power… what?

Wildman's avatar

Yup!The grass looks greener on the other side,but it reminds me of an old WB cartoon where a dog happy to the max.with his bown in his mouth until he sees his reflection on the water and believing it is another dog with a bigger bone looses his prize!So be happy with your own bone,or you may loose it!!

Kiev749's avatar

we want to “keep up with the jones” we see someone else with something and we believe if we are able to obtain it. that it will bring us the same happiness as it brought them.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s an ancient survival trait that is built into our very genes. The babies that had that trait survived, always striving for what they wanted, and the complacent ones didn’t.

ru2bz46's avatar

“Getting there is half the fun”. Have you ever really enjoyed something that you didn’t have to struggle to get?

ru2bz46's avatar

@Darwin “If you don’t know it exists it is hard to long for it.”

I had a friend try to convince me that Cuban citizens are only unhappy and want things because they see what we have. She was arguing that they were happy with their beat up crappy cars that they had to repair constantly to get around. She said they have everything they need and are happy living there. It’s only when they see what we have that they want more.

I beg to differ. It is human nature to want more and to strive to better oneself. Cuban citizens are living under a dictator. They have no hope of getting more or better, so they make do with the cards they’ve been dealt. It’s when they see that there is hope of bettering their situation that they make their move and paddle their beat up crappy cars across the water for the slight chance of making it to our shores.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s the nature of the ego or imagined self to continually justify its non existence by wanting. Having takes away its job and only leads to happiness and contentment which are unbearable conditions to the self.

Darwin's avatar

@ru2bz46 – Some Cuban citizens are indeed unhappy. Those are the ones who try to paddle to Miami in a life raft or who spend many years in jail and fighting the system. Other Cuban citizens are reasonably happy in that they feel they have more than they would have had if Castro had not succeeded and that they have a chance to better themselves, if only slightly. Some Cuban citizens are ecstatic in that they have power over others they would never have in a free society.

Most of them know what Americans and Cuban exiles have. They know from their relatives and they know from US television and radio. Many Cubans may want the material goods that come with exile, but they do not want the emotional baggage of leaving one’s home essentially forever.

It is quite a bit more complicated than your friend realizes.

Jeruba's avatar

Somewhere in our collective history, it was probably an adaptive trait. It comes out so naturally in kids—and is so hard to overcome even for supposedly rational adults—that I think it must be hard-wired.

ru2bz46's avatar

Yes, @Darwin, it is. After so much of her endless prattling, while driving around in her SUV with leather seats (she’s an “environmentalist”, too), I offered her a one way plane ticket to Cuba.

alossforwords's avatar

I can’t think of anything more rewarding than constantly trying to reach the unobtainable.

Wildman's avatar

@alossforwords If it is unatainable how can it be rewarding?

alossforwords's avatar

@Wildman The chase, the learning experience, the game… I think we (humans) find joy in the pursuit of happiness. It seems that life becomes less colorful when you have what you desire.

lrhar487's avatar

I think it is very much for the challenge of it. Defiantely for me when it comes to guys that if a guy is throwing himself at me I dont want anything to do with him even if he is probably the better guy for me. I always go for they guy that shows no interest in me to I guess prove to myself I can get him. Also I’ve had were I’ll break up with a guy yet then feel jealous when he starts going out with someone else and thinking maybe I want him back.

veronasgirl's avatar

I think its because the things we don’t have are a mystery to us, in our minds they are amazing (though they might not be in reality). They say “The grass is always greener on the other side”.

ru2bz46's avatar

Remember @veronasgirl, that the grass is greener on the side that gets watered. If you’re going to jump the fence, be sure and bring water with you.

Zuma's avatar

Not only do we want what we can’t have, we want what is not good for us. And, in many cases (if you think of the divorce rate) we want what we ultimately don’t want.

teresacuervo's avatar

The challenge of it- I don’t chase materials possessions per se, but I do like the thrill of extending my abilities and capabilities- you learn greatly in the process, and that is not a bad thing at all.

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