How little do you need?

August 31, 2017 by Joshua
in Awareness, Choosing/Decision-Making, Freedom, Perception

Freedom comes from needing less more than having more, in my experience.

How little do you need? Can you decrease your needs?

I wrote a friend, in response to something he said about needs:

I’m sensitive to the word need, since I consider neediness one of the least attractive qualities people can have, so as much as I value sidchas, instead of saying you need to do the thing daily, I’d say doing so works. Other ways may or may not, but a sidcha works. It doesn’t if you half-ass it, though.

He posted on his blog, in a post “Who or what do you ACTUALLY need?“:

The only things you need are the things that keep your mind ticking over. Food, water, shelter, warmth –that’s it. You do not need any one or any other things (allowing others into your life is a choice, not a necessity or desperation).

I wrote him back something that people will probably misinterpret, but I’ll share anyway:

On need, since you mention needing food, air, and water, I suggest considering the limits of needing them. I don’t mean charlatans who claim to live on air and sunshine. Consider soldiers who choose to go on suicide missions or parents who risk their lives for their children. They choose to risk limiting their lives to a few minutes because they value what they’ll do in those few minutes—maybe save the lives of many more—over the years they might live otherwise.

To me, such cases illustrate a greater range of people’s values than most of us consider. We may never experience such situations, but we share the same emotional system with people who do, which, to me, suggests we can do more than most of us think. Do you know Bruce Lee’s “Then die” story?

I’m not suggesting limiting your life. I’m suggesting valuing what you have more. I find that this perspective makes me value food, air, and water more. It makes it easier to choose fresh fruit and vegetables over packaged and fiber-removed foods, for example, which I enjoy more as a result.

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