What Do Humans Really Want?

Are humans just naturally lazy, comfort and pleasure seeking beings? Or do we really want dignity and fulfilment?

in this riveting excerpt professor Noam Chomsky discusses how the billions upon billions of dollars spent on advertising has been used to psychologically manipulate are ideas of what we want.

Tracing trends from the industrial revolution of the 1800’s to the educated poor in the 1930’s, Chomsky argues that what we really want is a sense of belonging and dignity in our work, not evermore accumulation and consumption of products.

What are your thoughts?





7 thoughts on “What Do Humans Really Want?

  1. Another interesting discussion. I think Chomsky’s point ties in with Steven Lukes’ Three-dimensional power and Michel Foucalt’s idea of Self-policing citizens. Advertisers (of goods and political ideas, etc) seek to shape the way people think and the choices they make (purchases, votes). When this is effective it can even create social norms. Contravening social norms is uncomfortable and so we fall into line (we are self-policing), reinforcing the norm. In this way we can end up buying things we don’t need and voting for parties that don’t actually serve our interests. As Chomsky says, a lot of work by advertisers (and political parties) goes into achieving that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course, in reality it can be quite hard to differentiate between a genuine desire and one brought about largely by the power of advertising, media messages, or social norms.


  3. Regarding Chomsky? You really don’t want to know… lol

    I’ve changed majors 4 times… and can’t seem to escape him:


    I have mixed feelings about his contributions to the collective consciousness.

    Regarding this particular subject?

    He’s right, but only along very specific lines and within very confined parameters…

    Yes… he talks about THAT too… *sigh*


  4. If Adler was right and I think he was, a sense of security is first and foremost. From that I would suggest that quality of life is more important than quantity as quantity is neither lasting nor ultimately satisfying. Hence, dignity and meaning in one’s life, while often unrecognized, is what we need. Possessions are just more visible.

    Liked by 1 person

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