Ponderings with Doug – October 7, 2016


I am struggling with my wanter and my needer. Do you have trouble differentiating between what you want and what you need?

According to our friend Maslow, we have a hierarchy of needs that can be studied. We need to have our physiological needs meet. Those needs are followed by safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs and then we arrive at self-actualization needs. Those needs are divided into three broad categories our basic needs, psychological needs and self-fulfillment needs.

Now what do we want? We want to be a seventy year old trapped in a twenty five year old body or some variation of that.We want to be younger only if we can know what we know now. Right?

What if what if our wanters and needers are changed by what culture deems necessary. Let’s think about it this way.

An article began, “In the span of this century it has gone from a curiosity to a luxury to a necessity.” The author was writing in the 1890’s if that helps. Any ideas about what had moved from a curiosity to a necessity? In our day, we could say the Internet would fit the description. In the span of less than two decades the Internet has moved from a curiosity through luxury to necessity. I wonder how long we could “make it” if we could not log on and digitally connect with each other. We receive our news information, our gossip, our social connection, our weather information through the digital medium. We can bank, shop, visit the doctor, see our grandchildren, ponder, pontificate, read and star in a video without leaving our comfy chair. Everything we could want is at our fingertips. There is an app for everything. The digital connection has surpassed the old fashioned human touch. This article will be produced and sent by a computer. Over the last three decades the computer or device has moved from a curiosity to a necessity.

If you think about it as the function of desire, some things move from wants to needs. Some schools distribute laptops like they did textbooks in my day. In the early 80’s we could say, “I would like to have a computer.” They were big and slow and didn’t talk to each other. Now we need the computer to walk through life.

I’ll give you a hint about what moved from curiosity to necessity in the 19th century.

You spent all summer enjoying the benefits of this development in human culture. Hopefully your air conditioning worked and worked well. It kept you cool. It also kept you inside. Air conditioning first appeared in commercial applications in theaters and opera houses. Air conditioning allowed matinee show times and for the theater to operate year round. Refrigeration and air conditioning were the results of this one thing moving from a curiosity to necessity.

Refrigerated railcars allowed mid-western beef to make it all over the country and allowed the small town of Chicago to become a metropolis. Refrigeration allowed us to eat vegetables year round and vegetables that are not indigenous to our part of the nation. But I am still not talking about what moved from a curiosity to a necessity.

I won’t leave you hanging any longer. The answer is ice.

The super cliff notes version of the story is a guy from Boston named Frederic Tudor wondered what would happen if the ships hauling cargo from the Caribbean would return from Boston hauling ice to the Caribbean islands. He was pondering this in the 1830’s. What happened was he managed to haul 30 tons of ice to the island of Martinique. On the first journey a strange thing happened. No one wanted the ice! Not only did Tudor develop methods of shipping and storing the ice, he also fostered a taste for ice. He may be the inspiration for Ben and Jerry’s.

Tudor didn’t give up and over the course of years; ice became more necessary for life in the tropical climates. One of the side effects of the Civil War was that the south was denied access to the ice lakes of the north for those years. The defeat of the south happened when we were denied the ice for our tea.

The history of cold begins with a guy wanting to cut ice from the lakes of New England and ship it to the tropics. It is an interesting story of how ice developed from a curiosity to a necessity.

Think about living down here without ice, refrigeration, or air conditioning. You have a crazy man named Frederic Tudor to thank for the necessity of ice.

What do you need?

One of the keys to satisfaction is to align your wants with your needs. In the spiritual world Jesus should move from being a curiosity to a necessity. I need and I want Jesus. I want to know Him more each day.

It is a need and a want that is never satisfied but always satisfying.