by Manet Years ago I had a good friend who always had crushes on unavailable women. Specifically, unavailable in this tantalizing way where they seemed like they were almost about to reciprocate his feelings, almost ready for a committed relationship. One day he was telling me about the latest in this series and I said,
Have you read Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground? He makes a different point (on the same topic) that humans will act counter to their self interest to validate their existence
Have gone through a roller coaster of emotions with the phrase “you have what you want”, originally being frustrated and partially terrified with the notion that one is helpless to their “base/impulsive wants” in life.
Yet the more I’ve focused on it, the more I’ve come to the acceptance that it is quite profound to accept that the things you “seek” are consistent with your personality/DNA/subconscious self, and instead of fighting it one should pay more attention to what is being sought and why. It reminds me of this interview with Steven Spielberg I’d like to share:
“Dreams always come from behind you, not right between your eyes. It sneaks up on you. But when you have a dream, it doesn't often come at you screaming in your face, "This is who you are, this is what you must be for the rest of your life." Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I've always said to my kids, the hardest thing to listen to—your instincts, your human personal intuition—always whispers; it never shouts. Very hard to hear. So you have to every day of your lives be ready to hear what whispers in your ear; it very rarely shouts. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it's something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do.“
I’ve accepted, that for me at least, the phrase “you get what you want”, is a reminder to pay attention to the “whispers” that ultimately are trying to guide you towards what is true to you.
This resonates with so much. I was literally just talking to my therapist about my annoyance regarding my constant involvement with women who seem emotionally unavailable.
I'm also familiar with S' dilemma... I'm currently divorced, got married in my mid 20s, straight out of uni, after living a crazy frat boy life for 7 years. Early in my marriage I missed the bachelor's life, and at the same time I loved the security and sense of purpose I felt being married. I scrutinized my own mind to understand this contradiction, and learned a lot from doing so.
Right now, I have a comfortable job, good pay, and enough free time to spend traveling and enjoying my hobbies, but at the same time I want to challenge myself to a more committed career in which I'd explore the full extent of my capabilities and put work at the center of my life. It really feels like a fractured self. But looking back, I think I did actively looked for a job that would pay me well while allowing me enough free time to do the things I like. And that's what I got lol
Anyway, although I think mostly our lives are shaped by bits and pieces of random events that we cannot predict or control, it does feel like I live a life that at least part of me unconsciously wants
Seems this assumes people act rationally (in line with their goals). I think often people have constraints (environmental, psychological,..) that prevent them from achieving their goals. As an alternative explanation for your friend, he could have the masochistic tendency to go for unavailable women because when he gets rejected he can save his ego by saying "she was taken anyway."
You have what you want.. the most
This essay struck a chord with me. Amazing, sending love from Argentina :)
Almost every essay you write resonates with me in some way. Some more and some less. But this one hits different.
But how does one stop fantasising about the unlived life? I mean literally how do I stop myself, my brain, from fantasising about it?
Exploring this idea of unlived lives in The Midnight Library by Matt Haig which I’m listening to as well. I guess the grass is greener where you water it.
I just want to view the consequences...
Best book to interrogate this Idea is Aspiration: the agency of Becoming by UChicago Philosopher Agnes Callard. It's about value change and it's paradoxes.
It's been a while since an article made me look inward and question my actions and choices. Thank you for this, Ava!
This made me think. It makes sense because you do attract based on what you want and the type of person you are. That's why it's so hard to truly change because it involves being aware of what's happening unconsciously (ex. going for unavailable women), understanding why you have these avoidance/commitment issues, then actively changing them.
Aspiration by Agnes Callard provides a lot of ideas on this point.
Love this piece. Makes me feel somewhat normal. Thank you !
Is it possible to affect what we want in life? Or is our role in life to simply find out what it is that we want and then either get it or make peace not having it?