All You Love is Need
This is the title of the Tony Walter’s book on the challenges of materialism, which of course has an interesting reverse play on words from the Beatles classic hit ‘All You Need is Love’. Walter’s book highlights the nature of necessity, needs and wants, the key determinants of fallibility. Humans are fallible and so therefore all of us have needs, necessities and vulnerabilities. Vulnerability and necessity are not weakness. Indeed, without fallibility humans would have nothing to learn, wouldn’t experience growth, development or relationships. Perfectionism needs nothing, the perfect person has no needs, doesn’t need to learn and needs no-one. The perfect person experiences no harm.
Vulnerability and necessity are the benchmarks of fallibility and offer human relationships all the richness in by-products associated with maturity and learning. Uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure make humans to be humans not super-humans. The desire for infallibility, non-vulnerability and non-necessity is a delusion. The language of delusion should have no place in human discourse.
Humans can’t live without food, water, social belonging and shelter. The nature of necessity reminds humans that they are fallible. Humans can’t go for too long without pangs of thirst and hunger and know they need water and food. If fundamental human needs are not met, humans die. Humans have bodies and bodies experience pain and suffering: we ache, sweat, fart, smell, sag, defecate, copulate and age. Our bodies hold our minds hostage to it’s imaginations and desires. Our whole perspective on life can change with an excess of alcohol and a big dinner. We discover that indigestion makes us feel sick, we pick up ‘bugs’ and infection. We get tired, run down, fatigued and stressed, all normal life experiences. To be human is to suffer and suffering is the by-product of vulnerability and necessity. The denial of suffering and harm is a denial of humanity.
Along time ago in a place far away when I was young I remember the pains of broken relationships. My first relationship break up was a lesson in harm and being harmed that taught me to be more cautious, considerate and reflective. One cannot live life in invincibility, the language of invincibility is a denial of human life and, speaking the language of invincibility alienates oneself to others and one’s self. No-one wants to know someone who speaks invincibility. The denial of need and the language of denial repels relationships and any possibility of empathy. We speak the language of superiority and invincibility at the expense of human relationships.
How strange then that safety is the only place where one hears the dumb down language of perfectionism, invincibility and superiority. Why is it that only in safety do we find people who deny the nature of necessity and fallibility? Why is it only in safety that logic goes out the window and people speak the language of absolutes and perfection? Why is it only in safety that people cannot manage the reality of necessity and speak nonsense when all we love is need?
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