Getting what you need

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime you find

You can get what you need

Words from the Rolling Stones.

When I was an administrator, I did some things that were probably weird for reasoning with Ph.D.s. I would quote lyrics from popular songs in some of the presentations I made. I used the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want” because it was suited to the reality of the under-resourcing of higher education in North Dakota.

The lines from the famous hook popped into my head again, but for a different situation. Just what was the message and to what circumstances does it apply? I guess it can mean whatever you want it to mean, but I read in the wikipedia analysis that the lyric can be translated as life involves us in optimism, followed by disillusionment, followed by pragmatism.

I somehow connected “what you want and need” with the world at this time as given to us by the Internet and social media. With the Internet, the wisdom of the Stones from the late ‘60s may have changed. Maybe, more and more, the Internet gives us what we want rather than what we need. Search has been tweeked over time so that our personal history is taken into account in responding to our queries. Our wants end up prioritized over our needs. We can adjust our Facebook feed and others can target what appears in our feed based on what is known about our preferences and interests. We do see what we want to see.

Maybe it is time to rethink getting what we want.

You can always get what you want

You can always get what want

But if you try sometime (and read more widely)

You can get what you need