Red Wishes

Why am I wishing for a particular outcome? Where is that desire coming from? Why do I want pizza tonight? Did someone suggest it? Why do I want to find a mate or produce offspring? Does my body drive these primal wishes? The origin of wishes seems ambiguous, they pop into our thoughts — we don’t deliberately call them forth.

So should I worry about the fulfillment of these mysterious impulses? Looking at the world from a distance, it appears that these impulses help to move our lives along, providing us with suggested activities with which to fill our time. So these suggestions shouldn’t be avoided, they’re what separates us from rocks. But, their actual fulfillment is not important. If every wish was immediately fulfilled, we’d literally have nothing left to do.

Imagine you’re watching a local baseball game, you cheer for your team, but you’re happy if they win or lose because you appreciate the event and the overall excitement it provides. When we link our happiness to outcomes, we’re in a constant roller coaster of emotion. But when we appreciate the spectacle, unaffected by specific outcomes, our happiness is constant.

So in the end, wish fulfillment is a red herring, outcomes are not important. And analyzing the process of wishing, attempting to ascertain more efficient and effective fulfillment, misses the point. When a wish is fulfilled, it’s just replaced with another wish. Anticipation is the thrilling part, attainment brings this excitement to an end.


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