Over the last couple of days I picked up on something. Film and television programs, in the complete spectrum from Ash vs Evil Dead, to Lilo and Stitch, to Doctor who feature important dramatic scenes where the phrase “I need you” -directly spoken or implied- has this effect; stunned silence, softening expression, lowering of hostilities, beginning of understanding, starting the change of perception and mind, hardening of resolve.
Is there any other phrase known that is able to cut through everything and reach into a person’s being than the words “I need you”? (with the possible exception perhaps of “I love you” but the argument can be made that the words “I need you” are included in our understanding of those words)
“I need you” is certainly powerful. It’s no wonder that it is often also used as a deception. We can’t help but respond to it. I am guessing it is hardwired into our being. A reminder that we are in fact social animals and we do need each other to achieve what we need to achieve, that needing others is how we survive in this hostile world of ours. A call we are unable to ignore because in the words “I need you” lays a question. Are you “us”, or are you “them”? Friendly, or hostile? Good, or evil?
Anytime you hear it, you have to make that decision on who you are.
This goes both ways. Speaking the words, you already made your decision on the same question. Spoken honestly, you have decided you are the friend of the person you spoke it to. You are part of the “us”, the friendly, the good. You decided you are worth helping. It is a invitation as much as a question at this point. “Join me. We can be in this together”
Spoken as a deception, you have decided you are hostile to the person you spoke to. And while you might think of the person as the “them”, it’s really you. Somewhere you know you are the evil.
Needing and being needed are possibly the most affirming and satisfying experiences for humans….If….
If there is a good balance. too much of one or the other is likely to result in heaps of misery, amplified by a primal knowledge that it /should/ be a good thing, but isn’t.
This is where society stumbles and falls. We royally screwed up the needing/needed balance.
Radical feminists get their panties in a twist when people suggest that sexism hurts men as much as women. It’s understandable in a way because women are more likely to end up injured or dead. But trying to make things better for women only is treating a symptom and ignoring the cause. I am not saying this is the sole cause, but I do think a large part of the cause is the screwed up needing/needed balance.
People, men in particular are being told they should not need anyone. To admit to needing is to be weak. And being weak means you are not a man. Women, in name of being equal now also are being told they do not need anyone and that needing others is in some way giving up their freedom.
This lie should be too obvious to hold true, but instead of recognizing the lie and working to a good balance, the message has turned into a excuse to use people as tools. By using tools you can still feel like you did it all yourself and are not in need of others. Getting your needs met has turned into a act of consumption instead of the exercise of trusting, bonding and satisfaction it should be.
Also if you convince yourself that you do not need anyone, it is hard to think you are needed. Instead, you fear being used as you would use others. Replace Us-them with Me-them, you can’t help but lose. One glace around and you have to realize, there are many more of them than there are of you.