Business, Lifestyle

Outsourcing The Self

Often times, we don’t know what we want. Believe it or not, one can seek the service of a professional wantologist to help us get in touch with our innermost desires—for a fee, of course.

The mere existence of a paid wantologist indicates just how far the market has penetrated our intimate lives. Can it be that we are no longer confident to identify even our most ordinary desires without a professional to guide us?

In a world that undermines community and is wary of government, the number of available personal services is likely to proliferate. As will the cultural belief in the superiority of what’s for sale and a tendency to disparage our “amateur versions of life.”

Consider some recent shifts in language. Care of family and friends is increasingly referred to as “lay care.” The act of meeting a romantic partner at a flesh-and-blood gathering rather than online is disparaged by some dating coaches as “dating in the wild.”

We’ve put a self-perpetuating cycle in motion. The more anxious, isolated, and time-deprived we are, the more likely we are to turn to paid personal services. To finance these extra services, we work longer hours. This leaves less time to spend with family, friends and neighbors; we become less likely to call on them for help, and they on us.

And the more we rely on the market, the more hooked we become on its promises. Do you need a tidier closet? A nicer family picture album? Elderly parents who are truly well cared for? Children who have an edge in school, on tests, in college and beyond?

If we can afford the services involved, many, if not most of us, are prone to say, sure, why not?

This is a never-ending cycle. How will I know if I want a “wantologist”?

h/t: NYT

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