Monday, June 11, 2007

want

I've had a conceptualization lately of want as an electrical circuit: it's either open or closed. On or off. The phrase "I don't know what I want" strikes me as absurd. When you want (or don't want) something, you'll know it. Want is positive or negative, but not neutral.

"I don't know what I want for dinner" means you can't decide what to order from the menu. There's a big difference between indecision and want. I want the steak. I don't want the deep-fried parmesan [gag]. Don't say "I don't know what I want to order," but rather, "I can't decide what to order."

I tried explaining this to my brother a few weeks ago, and he asked if I had been smoking pot.

18 comments:

Adorable said...

I follow and I have not smoked pot any time recently or perhaps ever.

Butchieboy said...

That kitty is funny!

kelly ripafart said...

it was good shit, innit?

tornwordo said...

You must have watched that 60 minutes too. That tribe that doesn't have when nor want in their language. Can't decide is much better put though in your example.

Snooze said...

Now I'm hungry.

Timmy said...

poor wil kitty

Riss said...

I WANT to smoke pot now.

Pablo said...

I can't decide if I agree with you.

I can decide that I think you must have bumped your head. Many times.

Salem said...

As long as people are saying "real good", I'll let the misuse of "want" go.

car@ said...

jaja! actually, is a good point of view Madame! :-)

Kieran said...

You are wise.
There is pink coming out of the cat. Good stuff.

Sinister Sally said...

if you don't take a bath, you will stink, kitteh.

Kunstemæcker said...

Nonono. You have a good point there, even the LOLcats know that.

Jason said...

Stop talking fancy. Let's get drunk!

George Larson said...

Well, if you're going to be all anal about it...

Shouldn't you be concerned about the fact that the not wanting of "don't want" differs (logically) from the desire to not?

That is "I don't want the parmesan crusted bullshit" does not contain the implicit gag. For that we should say "I want to not have the parmesan crusty bullshit".

Of course "I want to not have..." sounds awkward to me. However, I don't get all stressed out about dangling participles or copyrights or stop lights, should I miss'em.

I don't want to type no more

Steven said...

Did you want to smoke pot after the talk with your brother?

Butchieboy said...

LOLZIES!!!!

Phronk said...

I dunno. If something on the menu has both positive aspects and negative aspects - say, it has both chocolate (good) and strawberries (gross) - then you can be in a state of both "want" and "do not want" at the same time. You want it for some reasons, and do not want it for other reasons.

And if someone says "I don't know what I want", I think they usually mean "I want a lot of things but cannot have them all, and I cannot decide which one I want the most".