How Far Would You Go?

What are you willing to do to win, succeed, attain your goals, or fulfill your desires? What will you compromise? How important is it to you to grant a wish?   

A great deal depends on your understanding of needs versus wants. I quired Google for the definition. Google returned 1,300,000,000 returns. Here’s the synopsis:

  • Want – Have a desire to possess or do something; wish for something.
  • Need – require something because it is essential or crucial rather than just desirable.
    • Of course, I didn’t read all of them.

Abraham Maslow used a pyramid to illustrate the interdependence and order of our needs. Maslow’s hierarchy breaks needs into three major categories. The base of the pyramid is our physical needs, and the pinnacle is self-actualization.

  1. Basic Needs
    1. Physiological – food, water, warmth, rest
    2. Safety – security protection from harm
  2. Psychological – 
    1. belongingness & love; intimate relationships, friends
    2. Esteem – prestige, and feeling of accomplishment
  3. Self-fulfillment
    1. Self-actualization or achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities.

Most of us spend our lives in the first two categories, rarely entering the third section. I believe that we have a skewed view of our needs and often confuse them with our wants. For many, the line between wants and needs is obscured or blurred.

The question I posed concerns limits. Do you know your limits? As I move up the pyramid, my limits increase, I have more limitations as I near the top. I have few constraints where basic needs are involved, but my willingness to compromise decreases exponentially as I move toward the top. At the bottom, I will do whatever is necessary to survive. As I near the top, I refuse to compromise my ethics and morals. I don’t need to be self-actualized; I want the fulfillment it brings.

Am I meandering? Nope. I want you to understand this salient point. Needs and wants are vastly different.

I’m talking about what we are willing to compromise to appease our wants. Are you ready to lie to achieve your goals? Would you kill for a friend – lie for them? This dilemma poses some interesting ethical questions – and it is the point of this article: morals and ethics.

Do you really need to be president, or is this just something you want? Does your candidate need to win, or is this something you’d like? Where does this fall in Maslow’s hierarchy?

What are you willing to do to ensure that your choice succeeds? What will you compromise? What are you ready to risk? Some people are prepared to risk everything to ensure the winner of their choice, including federal criminal indictments and prosecution for fraud and election tampering. Others risk jail and financial ruin for meddling with the election. Maybe it’s a trade – money for tampering or lying to the authorities — possibly a quid pro quo arrangement. Either way, there is a great deal at stake and not just for the next president-elect.

Honestly, I don’t care who comes out on top. At this point, it is almost inconsequential, but the damage done to our country is far-reaching and of dire consequence.  

The Pew Research Center published a report in April of 2019 on public confidence. In 1958, 73% trusted the government, but by 2019 only 17% had faith, representing the lowest point in the 61-years of tracking. The research further states that only 3% always trust the government to do the right thing, and 14% expect them to do it most of the time. This study underlines missing components in our country; ethics and morals.

This research means that the rest of us – 86% – have little or no faith in our leadership.  Many hoped this message would kindle some changes in D.C. We can see the impact of studies like this in today’s election antics. Research like this hopes to expose these missing components to the responsible parties: us. It is OUR job. We are the watch-dogs of our government. We’re not barking; we’re not even whimpering. We’re sound asleep!

*Please refer to the end of this post for some pertinent information regarding their Constitutional Oath of Office.

I hope others feel equally outraged and share my articles. Maybe, when enough people reach saturation, we’ll demand and affect changes. Perhaps we’ll even clean up our political infrastructure.  

OK, that’s asking a lot, maybe too much. We do have the perfect tool to make these changes. It’s called voting. However, we’ve seen some dismal revelations with our latest election.  

It isn’t the system. It is the people trying to twist this system to their ends. (This election mess exposes how far some people will go to satisfy a want?) A secret ballot is not a complicated process. It implies the integrity of the individual and a safe place to cast your vote. Sadly, our right to vote is now a perverse tool to select or prohibit groups to skew the results. Is there any wonder confidence in government is so low?

I think a simple process of validating identity and ensuring that each person only votes once should not present a problem. Somehow it is a monumental undertaking. This simple and fundamental right is the center of ALL the issues in the last presidential contest — millions of miscounted votes – Dead people voting – Missing signatures – and thousands of mail-in ballots missing necessary information or completely blank completed by the voting regulators and monitors and intentionally miscounted ballots. No wonder we distrust our government?

What are you willing to do so that your candidate wins? Will you turn a blind eye to these shenanigans? Can you allow criminals to run our country? Did either of these contestants or the parties they represent violate the law? I won’t ask about their moral character – that’s a topic for another article. What would make someone compromise their morals and ethics for an elected position – No moral compass?

Here is the question we should be asking every candidate in every election. What is this worth to you? Maybe not directly, but certainly rhetorically. How far are you willing to go – what will you do to win? For some, the answer is obvious EVERYTHING and ANYTHING! In light of current events, I think this is the least we should demand?

The same question applies to us as we approach any critical decision. What is this worth to me? How much am I willing to compromise to win or to succeed? Our responses circles back to the basic need for a moral compass.     

I insist that we require ethics and morality to attain self-realization and that it requires a belief in a Higher Power to provide a moral center. A wise Jewish carpenter once said, “What does it profit a man who gains the world if he compromises his integrity?”

Being self-aware requires you to know your character, feelings, and desires, consciously, and honestly. Lacking a moral compass does not allow honest self-examination – unless, of course, you live to lie to yourself. Do you want this person as a leader?   

I am aware that there is a clear line between what I need and what I want. I precede each decision with quick needs/wants analysis. Sure, I’m prone to impulsive decisions, but I try to avoid them as often as possible. I try to stop and think through a choice and categorize it as a need or want. Do I really need this, or is this just nice to have? Need or Want?

Something to ponder as you move through your life.

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

George Bernard Shaw

The Oath of Office:  

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God. Set forth by the U.S. Constitution, Article VI