What do you WANT? Why do you WANT what you WANT, and not what someone else WANTS?
The essence of WANT is the difference between you and other people. What you WANT is what makes you who you are, rather than who they are. What you WANT defines you.
Since what you WANT is what you CHOOSE, then we can say that what you WANT is the CHOICE you make for yourself, and in turn these CHOICES end up defining you. Recent psychology tells us that the trouble with us lies in the CHOICES we make. We are bombarded, sometimes gently, sometimes roughly, with questions about the CHOICES we make such as “Why are you stealing (taking drugs, defying authority, lying) when you know it’s wrong?” or “Why are you (eating too much, hoarding, self-isolating, feeling fearful) when you know it’s bad for you?” In other words we are asking, Why do you WANT to do these things, when you know you shouldn’t? It is very hard, probably impossible, for a person in trouble to give an answer to these questions. But let me start by explaining the essence of the difference between what you CHOOSE and what you WANT.
If you behave badly, is it because you WANT to behave badly or you CHOOSE to behave badly, and bear the consequences of making people upset and angry, or get in trouble with the law? Why is it that somebody else WANTS or CHOOSES to behave in the opposite way, by acting nicely, abiding by the law, getting along with others, and appearing easy to deal with? Is it because you WANT to behave badly, or because you are CHOOSING to behave badly, and is the other person WANTING to behave well or CHOOSING to behave well?
In another blog I explained the difference between intelligence and emotion. In this context I continue to use the word Intelligence to mean intellectual functions, those that we might say originate mostly in the section of the body above the neck, the head or brain. This is in contrast to the use of the word Emotions, which is used to denote emotional functions that originate mostly in the lower part of the body, below the neck, perhaps in the “gut”, such as when we have a “gut feeling”. In other words we have motivations or urges to act or behave that originate and have their basis in Intelligence, and other motivations and urges to act and behave that originate and have their basis in our emotions. To review, these are two separate functions that can be imagined to divide up more or less at the neck, with the upper part of us, the head, harbouring the intellectual functions, and the lower portion, the rest of the body, housing the emotions.
Now the difference between a CHOICE and a WANT falls exactly along these lines. A CHOICE is an intellectual function, while a WANT involves the emotions and gut feelings. Simply put:
CHOICE engages INTELLIGENCE , but WANT engages EMOTION.
A baby, having just been born into our strange world and tasked with the necessity of becoming accustomed to it, has little in the way of intellectual resources to draw on. Both experience and time are lacking, but even at this early stage, emotions are fully operational and ready to go.
Choice is an adult function. Want is a childish function.
Now, the reason why you WANT to act a certain way is because, like any other human being, you have a strong emotion or drive that compels you to WANT, and even gives you the urgent sensation that you desperately prefer to be yourself, rather than anyone else. The emotion that drives you to WANT is your childish self. For example, you may know intellectually that ice cream is not good for you, and if you thought about it and brought your intellectual powers into play, it would tell you that you shouldn’t indulge. This is your adult function. However, as you pass by the ice cream store and see all the lovely flavours, smell the aromas wafting in the air and watch other people licking and enjoying their ice creams, you may change your “mind”. Now your emotions came into play to take over and override your judgment, or intelligence. Your emotions drive you to go ahead and spend your money, forfeiting your better intellectually driven judgement in favor of the glee and reward of enjoying a temporary but satisfying indulgence in an ice cream cone.
In DOLF theory your first urges and your ability to control or not control them came from the instinctual human desire of every human being to separate yourself as an individual in your Family of Origin where you first spread your wings and became your own person as an infant and child. It was a natural instinct born inside you, so that blindly, like a baby bird that one day flies from its nest, or a salmon that swims upstream against all odds, you strove to achieve a separate identity and differentiate yourself, most especially from those whom you perceived to be a threat to your personal identity.
If you refer back to your childhood and the person immediately next to you when you were growing up, the one who had the exact same goals as you, the one who WANTED to HOG the same LOVE as you, and sought to take up exactly the same space as you, this is the one person you perceived as your arch rival, the one who could potentially displace you. This adversary was of course, whether you realized it then or now. or not at all, none other than your next-born sibling!
Yes, the drive to be separate and different from the adjacent sibling is that strong. And yes, according to the new DOLF theory outlined here, this is actually what made you who you are today! You were young then and reacted spontaneously, and it determined your WANT! Not your genes, not your peers, not even the traumatic or positive events of your life, though these latter probably had a great effect. Throughout your childhood, entirely of your own volition and in secrecy, if you found your sibling was docile and compliant, you designed, yes designed your personality to be more defiant and challenging to your parents, the purpose of which was to distract them, and attract their attention and interest away from your sibling and onto you instead. Regardless of whether your next born sib was older or younger than you, you behaved the opposite way to define yourself. If your sib was more active, you acted quiet and passive, perhaps choosing to become a bookworm or teach yourself to play guitar. If your sib showed a penchant for sports, you cultivated an interest, even a “talent” for art and drawing, and so on, and so forth.
But always keep in mind that you each acted the way you did, taking one side in a tug of war, both fanciful and real, positive or negative though it might be seen to outsiders, to please your parents the best way you knew how! If you behaved positively, then fine, your parents liked that. But if you took the opposing trail and acted negatively to capture their attention, then it was not so fine, and your parents were displeased. But what they were displeased about is what they erroneously saw as YOU, attaching the definition of YOU to your behavior!
They missed the essential part that you were acting on – NOT the feeling that you WANT to be bad or good, but just the feeling that you WANTED TO BE DIFFERENT from your sibling. NOT the feeling that you WANTED to displease your parents, but ON THE CONTRARY, the feeling that you actually WANTED TO PLEASE them and felt you had no other recourse but to try to be different! And in your naive, blind and urge-driven childhood and youth, you didn’t know HOW to do it any differently than to be the opposite of that darn next-door sibling!
YES ITS STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! BUT STUPID WHO? STUPID THEM OR STUPID US?
So knowing this now, look around you, at yourself, your immediate next born sib, and the people you know in your immediate environment. You can even look around at the people you don’t know. Suppose you see a family in a mall, with one child screaming for their parents to buy something, while the sibling merrily strolls about. Try to do as I always do and observe the opposing characteristics of even tiny sibs. In the next blog I will describe to you the formula for adding more siblings, 3, 4 and more.