The title of this blog may look like a 1970s Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. Well it’s not. The title is my adaptation of a recent NYT article by the Dalai Lama: “Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded”. I admit that I hadn’t thought before about the reciprocal of my Needs-Wants-Beliefs concept. The Dalai Lama’s choice of the word “Unneeded” touched a nerve inside me.
The Unneeded seem to be the people as of a certain age that may start around 50, depending on your specific country. The Unwanted seem to be the people below the age of the Unneeded but whose background (eg, colour, education, experience, language, sexuality) provides a mismatch. The Unbelieved seem to be the ones whose opinions are disregarded following political (in)correctness.
Hillary Clinton once referred to the American Unneeded, Unwanted and Unbelieved as a “basket of deplorables” (eg, WaPo). When you feel miserable then the last thing you want to hear is that you’re also a deplorable. Her poor choice of words was an insult to many American voters.
To a certain extent, I feel Unneeded at the age of 56, and also Unwanted with my business experience in shrinking sectors like Automotive and Banking. Although Auditing should be a last resort, my audit experience appears to be outdated. That is actually hard to believe as auditing feels like riding a bike to me. Once you have learned it, you don’t forget. My previously unknown passion – writing – appears to be successful and that keeps me from also feeling Unbelieved. Since 13 November 2016, I have 100,000+ page views. My next milestone is 1 million page views.
The Unneeded, Unwanted and Unbelieved are not only the unemployed. They are also the (grand) parents unvisited by their busy (grand) children, (terminally) sick people without visitors, forgotten prisoners, reclusive neighbours, and so on and so forth. Sometimes you wonder how long it would take in this society before anyone would reach out to you during a prolonged silence. Hence, my mother (82) proposed to call me each day as we both live alone. I agreed.
Dalai Lama in NYT: “This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed. Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve our fellow men and women. As the 13th-century Buddhist sages taught, “If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one’s own way.”
The Dalai Lama states that we should start each day by consciously asking ourselves: “What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?” The 1961 JFK quote – “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – comes close to this.
The ancient wisdom of Karma would teach that we should do good and then kindness will return to us. The pay it forward philosophy is a good deed to an unknown and future benefactor rather than returning favours to a known and existing one (eg, coffee, meals).
The Dutch government’s plan for offering healthy ageing people a way to end their lives, is certainly not the way forward for societies. Also see my recent Right to Die blog. It only underlines that you are not Needed, not Wanted, and that no one Believes in you any longer.
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.