“You’ve lost your humanity, friend. Really, truly, you are no longer human.”
It was my turn to laugh. “So what? I should be more like you? You’re human?” I scoffed, gesturing at Pan’s furry hide.
“No, I’m not human. To be human is to search, to reach, to dream. And it seems to me that your purpose now, Atilius, is to connect what you want with what you Want.”
“What does that even mean?”
“Dearest Atilius,” Pan hopped off of his resting place and waved the forest nymphs away, “it’s quite simple. There are things that fulfill you in your life, things that give you meaning and a sense of purpose. These are your Waaaants,” he said with a dramatic flourish of his hand. After a pause he continued. “On the other hand, your wants are what you do to try to make your true Wants a reality. Your wants are the physical realizations of your true Wants. For example, you Want love. Love will fulfill you, love will make you whole. You want to be a general because you Want love. But the problem is that you don’t get love from being a general. Your wants aren’t aligned with your Wants. So the solution is simple. You just have to want what you Want!”
-Excerpt from Atilius and Pan by Leisa Michelle
Why is wanting what you Want so hard?
The problem is that we get fixated on the physical. Our Wants aren’t physical, they’re… something else. Something deeper. They’re connected with our essence, our feelings, our spirit, our intuition. And it’s easy to ignore our feelings, spirit, and intuition because they aren’t concrete. And as if that doesn’t make it hard enough, society in general degrades feelings, the spirit, and intuition.
“Emotion is fleeting – logic is grounding,” someone said to me once. Well yeah, emotion is fleeting if you bottle it up and bury it deep. And in that case, it’s also explosive. Good luck grounding yourself with that logic of yours when your suppressed emotional wounds explode in a sudden anxiety attack or outburst of unfounded anger or intense bout of self-deprecation.
And it seems common for intra-personal matters like the spirit and intuition to be mocked or ignored. Positivism (a philosophy that basically says if you can’t scientifically prove something, it’s not worth exploring or thinking about) was in style during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and has been endorsed by thinkers such as Herbert Spencer, Emile Zola, Emile Durkheim, Karl Popper, and Stephen Hawking. A new movement called post-positivism has come in its wake.
A critic of this very black-and-white, narrow-minded philosophy, Werner Heisenberg said, “The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear we would probably be left with completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.”
Our Wants are stored deep inside us, in our essence along with our inner drive and motivations. We have to be truly in tune to our feelings, our spirit and intuition, ourselves if we want to uncover them. So the challenge we face first is fine-tuning our self-awareness and uncovering our Wants.
Floating aimlessly through a sea of perfection
Or perhaps the bigger issue in aligning our wants with our Wants is that we all pretend to have our shit together when we really don’t. It creates this false sense of reality, an illusion. Because if everyone is putting up this facade of perfection, when we look around, we seem to be the only one struggling. It seems like we’re the only one who doesn’t know the answer. We feel like the only one with a flat tire, the only one unemployed, the only one going through a breakup, the only one who raised her voice at her kid, the only one hungry, the only one tired, the only one with problems. Our humanity becomes a burden when we’re surrounded by gods.
The first step to aligning your wants with your Wants is to identify your Wants through stillness and careful self-awareness.
What do I Want? I Want to be happy. I Want to create. I Want to build. I Want to love. I Want to explore. I Want to learn. I Want to truly live.
What do you Want?