Dishwashers Don’t Have Needs

Dishwashers Don’t Have Needs!

We say that dishwashers and other “things” 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.
This dishwasher has a serious need?

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. Consequently, it makes our complex lives more 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. As a result, 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.

Some examples:

  • The car needs a tune-up. “And 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. “First of all, I’m really getting tired of swatting those pesky files claiming trash rights. And the kitchen floor is getting pretty crowded with all that trash. 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.

Therefore, We must realize that WE are the sole caretakers of all of those needs. It’s our responsibility to know that WE own them. And WE are the ones who must act in order to  see that OUR needs are met.

Let’s look at the first list and continue the thoughts:

  • The dishwasher needs to be emptied. “Mary, if you don’t empty the dishwasher, we won’t have any place to put more dirty dishes.”
  • The school needs a new library. “If we don’t vote on building a new school library, there won’t be room for anymore books.
  • The car needs a tune-up. “If I don;t tune up my car, I won’t be confident that it will start in the morning. Then I might be late for work.”
  • The sheets need changing. “Clark, if you don;t change your sheets, they’ll get up and walk away by themselves!”
  • The tax needs to be raised. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to raise taxes in order to pay for the new freeway on/off ramps into the town center.”

How many of us have said …

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 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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