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josie's avatar

What is the compromise between "wanting it all" and being a committed loser?

Asked by josie (30931points) June 28th, 2015

Over the weekend I saw “Interstellar”, a terrific movie, and I loved every minute of it. If you have not, you should see it.

There is a line in the movie that really got my attention.

The grandpa or uncle or who ever he is, reflecting on the demise of Earth, laments about (paraphrasing) 6 billion people, each of them wanting it all.

It occurred to me that the character was on to something-everybody can’t simultaneously have everything, especially while they are temporarily confined to one space.

On the other hand, it is not in accordance to human nature to not attempt to achieve as much as possible. People who are excessively timid about “going for it” are denying something about their humanity. In the extreme, they might be what I would call a loser.

What might be the standard that would satisfy this apparent contradiction?

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17 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Wanting an equal share.

dappled_leaves's avatar

It used to be the middle class, but look what happened to them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Some people are de facto losers I guess, because they refuse to play. Like those who won’t make a choice or have an opinion have by default made one by not choosing anything.

cookieman's avatar

I’m not sure a compromise is necessary by definition. Seems to me there’s a lot of middle ground between those two options for everyone to play.

Plus, how do you define “all”? All of what?

Lawn's avatar

When what it means to “have it all” is defined by social media, celebrity culture and other forms of external validation, then a lot of people are going to be disappointed.

Alternatives can be found in Eastern philosophies: acceptance, letting go of desire/ego, being present rather than striving, focus on character, etc. All of that good stuff.

Pachy's avatar

I was never committed to being a loser (though not sure what my definition of that is), and I don’t recall ever wanting it all (and again, not sure what that is)—just some (and even that not at anyone else’s expense, though there surely were many times in both work and in my personal life that what I sought and got was at someone else’s expense.). But at this stage in my life, my need and desire for even some is quite diminished. It’s a relief.

thorninmud's avatar

I’d say that the reasonable standard is sustainability: On the individual level, that would mean making lifestyle decisions based not on what I can afford (or get away with), but on what the planet can afford in the long run. It would mean asking the question, “If everyone behaved this way, what would be the long-term impact on the planet?”

That leaves plenty of room, though, for the application of human drive. You can certainly “go for it” by working within the limits of sustainability. If my definition of “going for it” involves robbing future generations to indulge my greed, that’s not only unreasonable but ethically bankrupt.

josie's avatar

Thus, by your reasoning, the US Federal Government which has run up a debt in the neighborhood of $20,000,000,000,000, a number that current living Americans could never pay in their lifetime, and as a result future generations are condemned to toil to pay, is unreasonable and ethically bankrupt?

thorninmud's avatar

@josie Frankly, I understand macroeconomics about as well as you understand climate change, but on the face of it yes, I agree. Where we would perhaps disagree is on what should be done to correct the imbalance.

Blueroses's avatar

It is defining “all”. Thorn and Josie, I think, agree on “greed” as a destructive concept. Now, define greed.

When you step away, the concepts of value and ownership seem ridiculous. My paper tiger can beat yours in a fight.

Step back into the real world you have to survive in. Ridiculous becomes truth. I need to align with your paper tiger or people will come take my home and deny me healthcare.
We are coerced into the ruling greed paradigm.

Jaxk's avatar

Wanting it ‘all’ is a cliché that few if anyone really wants or strives for. Wanting ‘more’ on the other hand is quite common in all walks of life. I see nothing wrong with wanting more and working to attain it. The alternative would be to ‘settle’ for what you have. Civilization does not progress when people ‘settle’ for what they have or are given.

Coloma's avatar

@Jaxk Aaaah but…then there is the choice of being content with what you have vs. “more.” Contentment is about as close to sustainable “happiness” one can get. When one is stuck in the “more” mode they neglect to enjoy what they already have.

Jaxk's avatar

@Coloma – Some of us enjoy the journey more than the destination.

Coloma's avatar

@Jaxk We can enjoy the journey too but without attachment to more. My journey includes good food, travel and peaceful living. I don’t need a Mercedes in the driveway to feel worthy. lol

Jaxk's avatar

@Coloma – That is the stereotype that is always pushed in these threads. A new Mercedes, however is not the journey. Look at some of the Tech moguls, Elon Musk made his fortune with Paypal and is now head of Tesla. He is also in the commercial space race with SpaceX. I don’t think he’s doing all this for another new Mercedes, He has plenty. Or Jeff Bezos, co-founder of Amazon, that started Blue Origin to develop space travel. The list goes on. When Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple, he didn’t fade away into obscurity, he founded Next Computers. He didn’t need the money either but thank god these guys want to continue to build things, to expand our horizons, and drive us into the future. Not everyone is a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk and may play on a smaller field but with the same drive and ambition to continue building and improving. It’s not for the money directly but each success provides the opportunity for even bigger and greater successes. If your content with travel and good food, you’ve reached the end of your journey., with or without a Mercedes.

Coloma's avatar

@Jaxk Being content with what you have and finding inner peace in letting go of useless social and status strivings for more is what I am talking about not shelving ones natural gifts. I have a passion for rescue animals and country living and have made and continue to make many contributions to the planet.

bossob's avatar

I’m more like @Coloma. I’ve reached the point in life where I realize that ‘I want what I need, but I don’t need what I want.’

I haven’t always been that way. As a younger man, I busted my ass to get ahead. At some point, I realized that I had matched or exceeded the financial accomplishments of my parents. But I wondered, ‘Is this all there is?’ I began to slow down and to understand that it would be more rewarding for me to turn my efforts towards giving back and helping others. My income shrunk, but the day-to-day journey has been so much more rewarding.

I’ve never wanted to be rich, but I wish I was wealthy enough that I didn’t have to worry about health care costs ruining our lives.

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