Diaries Magazine

What You Do Not Have

Posted on the 31 May 2021 by C. Suresh

You know, life runs on what you do not have and not on what you do. (Maybe I have said this before but then I am at an age where I am EXPECTED to repeat myself.) You know that thing called 'motivation' which is about the ONLY thing in behavioral sciences which the corporate world cares about? What else is it but about dangling the carrot of what you do not have in front of you so that you run in the direction that THEY want you to run?

You know, there are those things which you do not even notice having till you do not have it. Health, for example. If a company promises you good health (or even better health) do you feel thrilled at the prospect of working for it? Or food? I mean, yeah, if you are starving, yes, which IS the point...that you notice it only when you do NOT have it. But do you jump with joy at the prospect of a meal if you are used to eating thrice a day (and popping antacids because of your tendency to overeat?)

Some chappie, meddling with how to get employees to work better for companies, called these 'health factors'. You know, the things that you COMPLAIN about if you do not have them but are not going to run after if you are used to having them.

What is important is what you wish to have but feel that you do not have. THAT's  what allows people to lead you by the nose. You can more readily see it in advertisements. You know, the shirt which will allow you to command a group of experienced businessmen; the soft drink which will make you adventurous enough to leap mountains; the deodorant that will draw women to you like flies; yada yada.

And therein lies the rub. Beyond a point, you actually spend money to fill in perceived holes in your personality - the confidence to command, charm, sense of adventure, a carefree attitude, what have you. (OR, perhaps more to the point, you want people to SEE you as possessing such attributes. You could well be perfectly content to curl up in your couch eating popcorn and watching Netflix; but you want people to see you as the sort who likes nothing better than to jump on his bike and ride off into the wilderness on a whim.) In advertisements, when they stop talking of how good their product is - washes whiter etc etc - and start on how it will make you feel, you know what they are selling. Packaged personality, so to speak.

The thing that had always surprised me is how come trust and friendship in fiction SELL books. I mean, going by the philosophy that what you have you take for granted, they should feel boring, right? I mean, you read books about how ill people feel and cope, never about how healthy people feel, right? Does that mean that people find most others in their life untrustworthy; most friendships shallow? Is that why they seek them in fiction at least?

What?? You ask me what I think about love? Do I mean to say that the fact that people love reading about love means either that THEY wish they could really love OR that they think there is nobody who really loves them?

Are you trying to get me lynched?

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