The morality of wishlists


Does the fact that we maintain, continuously add to, and will never run out of items on our wish lists speak to our morality (or ethics) as individuals or as a society? My wife continues to tell me that I should be 100% happy with the games I already have. Is she right? Are we spoiled consumers who have an unvarnished need to spend, spend, spend? Always chasing the next game? Never satisfied with what we have? What does having a wishlist say about us? 

Why do I always look for the next game, even after I acquire a new one that I've been wishing for? Why do I feel like this is good and natural? Should it bother me?

Heavy questions for the end of a busy work week. 

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Supporter9 months ago

Good questions.

I feel like all boardgamers are consumers. I further feel like many in our westernized 1st world society are spoiled consumers. I know I am spoiled.

I am not satisfied in the sense of being satiated by any of my collections of anything. But, I feel like I am content. I know and recognize that I have enough games, if I never could buy another one I would have a collection that could be played happily for years. But I do also believe that there is a fine line between engaging with and exploring the hobby, and engaging in mere rampant consumerism. I don't know that I have struck a balance, I feel like I probably have not. But that is one of my goals with having a "ideal" collection that I am shooting for. When one has a goal that one is shooting for, it does tend to help curb some of the other wild desires that come along.

After all, what is consumerism? I live in the tropics, without an air conditioner. If it gets hot, like it does every day, It gets hot in the house as well. My house in the states has an AC. And, it doesn't get as hot there, nor is it hot year round like it is here. Is living with AC in the states consumeristic? The livingroom in my house in the states is bigger than some of my neighbors houses here. Does that indicate that I live in a consumeristic manner there?

I do think that contentment is something that we all need to strive for. And, moving internationally for a time has helped tremendously with that. I had to split my board game collection I left almost 95% of my books in the states. I left all my tools etc... up there. I have needed to learn to be content with much much less that I had before. That is a valuable exercise. But, I don't think that I am satisfied with anything. I have areas in my personal life I want to improve. I have parts of the house here, or my house in the states I want to improve. Yesterday I was arranging new pasture management system for the flock of sheep I have on my land in the states, because I want to improve the pasture and the flock. But, the important thing is that I am already content with what I have, I have made, or have tried to make peace with the current situation before I try to change it.

Supporter9 months ago

Good thoughts. Strive for contentment. Look for contentment in what you already have. 

Premium User9 months ago

Being satisfied with what we have is the quickest path to contentment but also a very hard thing to achieve.  

I try to follow the Stoic philosophy when it comes to enjoying things: Enjoy them whole heartedly but not to the extent that the loss of them would devastate you.  (Not the exact quote but you get the idea.)

We have a lot in the western world.  More than many in the world.  So do we flagellate ourselves over that?  I can't imagine people with less would want us to enjoy what we have less because they don't have it.  If we all stopped consuming tomorrow it isn't going to magically even things up.  

In the end, enjoy the pleasures you have but don't over indulge to a ridiculous length where it harms you or people around you.


Supporter9 months ago

Excellent points. I think Marcus Aurelius would be proud. 

9 months ago

I think it is important to recognise that we have enormous privillege in being able to add games to our collections and have access to such a broad range of games and that there is nothing wrong about someone owning 3 games and being perfectly content to play those games endlessly (I imagine for some games there is a huge amount of depth and joy to be found in that).

I don't however think it is wrong to want to continue to explore something. There is obviously a balance to be found with these things like in everything in life. You could make the argument that in reality we should all live as minimally as possible: using every moment and penny not used on keeping yourself alive to help others, and there is a lot strength to that concept, we do all need to use less stuff and redistribute better. But I think it also depends on how you approach the things you own and the talents you have. I try and aim to use the collection I have built (as well as other things in my life) to bring joy to my community, and I think there is value in that too. I guess we mustn't let striving for perfection prevent us being good. I think it's worth working towards being less consumeristic, and making sure that we aren't hoarding games for ourselves but rather allowing them to circulate (either through lending, playing them with people who wouldn't have access or passing on games we no longer play) so that everyone benefits more. It is easiest to do this with board games locally but I am sure in other aspects of life there are ways to have an impact on a more global scale.

Ha, this sent my mind going in a hundred directions at once, so I apologise for the mess of sentences above, it is a great question and I think there is an increedibly nuanced and contextual discussion to be had on it. It is impossible in my mind to sum it up into a catch-all paragraph or two.

Supporter9 months ago

I agree that it's really hard to express thoughts abkut this topic.  It's funny how this weekly topic sort of backfired for me. I was expecting to have all kinds of fun posts but it really set me to thinking about the reasons for always wanting more. 

9 months ago

Haha, you let your guard down and the old conscience crept up on you!

Premium User9 months ago

A bit of a ramble here:

A wish list is a tool.  How and why you use a wishlist determines if it's good, bad, or neutal.

Money is also a tool and purchasing in a general sense is a neutral activity.

Are you spending money you don't have?  Frequently shirking responsibilities in order to peruse and purchase games?  Is your sense of self worth tied up in the purchases you make?  A yes to any of those questions tells me that yes, maybe you are using wishlists and purchasing in a way that is harmful.

The sense of self worth often pops up here when it comes to vehicles.  Some people buy these super expensive vehicles and in chats with them it becomes obvious they feel like THEY are better because they drive a fancy car or a giant truck.  Other people enjoy the vehicle and recognize that what they buy is separate from who they are.

So if you are enjoying this (relatively) inexpensive hobby, enjoy playing with your friends, finding new games to enjoy and purchase then it's not a problem.  Having a collection is not a problem.  People collect all kinds of things why should games be any different? 

If you NEED to buy another game, if you feel superior inside because of your big collection,  or you feel down and you are trying to fill a hole in yourself with purchases...then it's a problem.

Supporter9 months ago

Excellent perspective! I have caught myself in the past as using board game purchases as a kind of "retail therapy" to help balance out all the crazy at work. This behavior is right in the edge of what you mentioned as a problem. 

Premium User9 months ago

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t easier to pull the trigger on a purchase during times of stress. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little bit of that. Usually I am aware that I am doing it and choose to allow myself to do it anyways. 

It’s when you don’t have control over it that it is a problem. 

Supporter9 months ago

☝️☝️☝️Good thoughts 

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