Wanting – what it means

I’ll write a short post, even if my thoughts on the topic are long and winded.

I’m often not comfortable with the word/concept of “wanting” and I use it very rarely. I definitely avoid using it when talking about objects or even food.

I have noticed that most people I know use the word to mean “I have a goal and I will achieve it” or at least “I’m invested in something”.

For me both sentences are not well translated by “wanting” that thing. I may set a goal for myself and achieve it, but I notice that my success either depends more on the favorable context than my ability to overcome issues (sometimes there are very few and it’s not really a matter of any effort or even willpower), or when the goal requires new/better skills, I work on those, and that’s the focus.

I may be invested in something, but not because there is any personal result, rather because I care about the thing and work on supporting it.

In both situations, a personal goal doesn’t raise (nor is the product of) strong emotions. I feel much more push and adrenaline when it’s about a shared objective with positive outcomes for more people/etc than myself.

Writing this brings me to think that my thoughts around “wanting” may be the sign of more profound schemas that are not centered around the self (for a set of reasons that I’m currently researching). I’ll keep working on this.


Phugoid and mental setup

It is a quite technical post, and I hope I get my metaphor through. Bear with me!

The concept of phugoid comes from airplane flight and has been identified as a basic aircraft mode of motion, that oscillates between nose-up and nose-down, in a cyclic motion. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phugoid .

I initially felt a similarity with my own mental states, but I could not feel that my own mental states converged towards smaller oscillations as it was described for commercial airplanes, whose very shape dampens the phugoid.

I kept reading and found a more detailed explanation at https://aircraftflightmechanics.com/Dynamics/ModesofMotion.html, that made clear that commercial aircraft are DESIGNED+REQUIRED that phugoid motions get damped, while not-commercial aircraft (military, but experimental designs too) are subject to phugoid motions that diverge, and need to be handled as devices that are not going to stabilise themselves.

I took some time to carefully read through the article. I needed some time to realise that my own mind actually has a diverging phugoid mode.

It was liberating! I got the hint that I needed to handle my mind as something that is not inherently stable. No judgment, no expectation, no sadness, no nothing – just an established instability I have to deal with, and I am ready+willing to deal with, like a skilled pilot.