Dishwashers Don’t Have Needs …

The dishwasher needs to be emptied. The school needs a new library. The car needs a tune-up. The sheets need changing. The tax needs to be raised.



Do they really?


Non-human objects, institutions, etc. don’t have needs. We project our human needs onto them in order to help us manage our lives … and the vast amount of tasks encumbered upon us. It makes our complex lives mare manageable, more structured, and easier to deal with. It’s similar to sorting and filing our papers and records.


However by projecting our own [human] needs onto non-human items, we subconsciously remove the personal responsibility that we own. The demands of those needs are now “out of our hands” and have become the responsibility of someone or something else … specifically, the object itself.


  • The car needs a tune-up. “Well I sure wish it would hurry up and schedule one so I can arrange alternate transportation to work.”
  • The trash needs to be taken out. “I’m really getting tired of swatting the files that are claiming trash rights. And there isn’t much room left on the kitchen floor. I sure wish that trash would take itself out.”
  • The school needs a new library. “Every night, as I leave work, the school yells at me for its overcrowded book shelves.”


Absurd no doubt


All of the above are examples of needs which are really “ours”. WE own them and WE are responsible for attending to them.

We must realize that we are the sole caretakers of all of those needs that are OURS and we are the ones to do what must be done to see that they are met.

The car needs a tuneup
  • “I need to get the car tuned up. If I don’t do it soon, I might void the warrantee. I had better call the mechanic and schedule one … and arrange for alternate transportation to work as well.”
  • “We need to have the trash taken out. Alice, it’s your responsibility as one of your chores, can you take care of it before dinner tonight?”
  • “We need a new library in our high-school. Can we escalate that as an agenda item at our next school board meeting?”


WE own these needs. WE are the only ones who can get them met. It’s OUR responsibility.

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