WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WANT?
In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari closes the book with this question.
I’m convinced this may be the most important question you can ask yourself.
If you are prone to “know thyself,” if you seek meaning in life, want to know what is beyond the physical veil of reality, if you are comfortable in a world where there are only questions, each of which have multiple legitimate answers and even more silly answers, then this is the fundamental question:
What do you want to want?
Not, Who am I?
Why did God put me here?
What’s the meaning of life?
Whereas all these questions are important and can lead to great metaphysical pleasure and insight, none of them are fundamental.
We are humans.
We are energy and organic matter.
This energy that makes us human and that causes us to grow from a sperm seeking an egg into a child wanting juice, an adult working to make more money, an old person sitting on a porch looking off onto the trees and wanting to paint them or write a poem, is desire.
But I wouldn’t call it wont, nor would I find the question is what do you want to want, although the poetry is much better, I would rather say what do you want to do with your desire?
Primary desire, that which makes us human, is unformed in its purest manifestation.
It has no image. Desire is pure energy that expands.
Humans have a brain that seeks happiness, pleasure, good feeling.
We want to be happy. Perhaps Happy is Desire’s first manifestation, the Understanding, the Binah on the Tree of Life, whereas Desire would be Keter, or crown.
Although happy is more limited than desire it nonetheless is still an unformed energy. Happiness in its purest form has no shape, no image.
And often times, when it finally reaches our consciousness, way down here on the bottom of the tree, some of us think to be happy is something material, a family, our own business, a vacation in Cancun, or even to go shopping and buy this and that.
We want more and more of what makes us happy.
But what makes us happy are simply neurotransmitters and hormones, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
What we THINK makes us happy is what we want.
Want is the last and the least manifestation of primary desire.
Want is temporal, material, and it is at home in the everyday world (malkuth) within which we struggle to be happy.
We think that what makes us happy is to get what we want.
But want is the least of all desire.
But no judgement here, because if that’s all you want, that chemical experience of happiness, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting more, shopping every day on Amazon, clicking here and there and buying this and that, because every time you do it, your body produces neurotransmitters that frankly make you happy.
But if that’s not enough. Some people need meaning.
Meaning could be the other unformed manifestation of primary desire.
Desire is at the top, the emanation, and it comes down and is beginning to take form as “happy” and “meaningful.”
This is your power. This is your energy. To filter it though want weakens it. So we get back to Harari’s question, what do you want to want?
What I want is not to want, but to return to desire, and to be able channel that energy into my life.
Ok, maybe I’m being a bit woo woo.
Desire creates the idea of happy and the idea of meaning.
Humans are meaning-seeking machines, who want to be happy. There is no happy without meaning. They are the first manifestations of desire, and you cannot live a balanced life without them working together.
Thoughtful people look for, find, or spontaneously discover meaning in absolutely everything.
You could behold the most beautiful sunset ever, and you will not only have a sense of pleasure and well-being, but a deep belief that you are connected to something beyond yourself, something meaningful.
Want is at the very bottom, but we often fail to see a difference between what we want and what makes us happy, because we think what we want will make us happy.
What we want can sever us from primary desire. When we obtain material wants, we usually –after a brief experience of pleasure –want more. We go back to being dissatisfied.
But what we what want is not a material item, we can begin to understand who we are.
Does this make sense?
What you want reveals who you are.
If you want a child, family, riches and fame, that tells you what is fundamentally important to you.
For most of us, even the most religious, what we want has a little to do with religion or ideology.
Our belief systems are simply scaffolding over reality, not foundations.
We find the belief (or it is given to us and we never question it) that we share with our community, and we know it as vague metaphorical narratives, but they have little to do with our everyday experience. We can take religious narrative and scaffold it over our own lives, but it is not fundamental to how and why we live.
YET the core belief in any spiritual system is some sort of unification with God, an eternal relationship with the source.
Love is unity.
Love is community.
Love is kind.
Maybe love is the creation of desire, happy, and meaningful.
Love could be what you want to want.