|Etymology of need: The more common Old English word for “need, necessity, want” was ðearf, but they were connected via a notion of “trouble, pain,” and the two formed a compound, niedðearf “need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed.” Nied also might have been influenced by Old English neod “desire, longing,” which often was spelled the same. Common in Old English compounds, e.g. niedfaru “compulsory journey,” a euphemism for “death;” niedhæmed “rape,” the second element being an Old English word meaning “sexual intercourse;” niedling “slave.” Meaning “extreme poverty, destitution” is from c.1200. Source: Online Etymology Dictionary.
In my research on the gift economy, I insist on the fact that we need to find a new language to express wealth. You can read it in the article “live rich“. Indeed, conventional language works well to describe the market economy, where everything gets bought, sold or exchanged. As for gift economy, the language that describes it remains anchored in an oral and archaic tradition. It doesn’t serve the semantic rigor that we need today.
A common word comes back all the time from the scarcity paradigm: need. What survival needs do we have, what needs for living, what needs for society, for a collective, etc.
This word narrows our view on economy down to the vital, to what we cannot live without. It leaves very little room to freedom, choice and responsibility.
Since I made the choice to live in the gift economy and integral wealth, the word need became completely inadequate. Indeed I can say that I need to eat, that I need a roof, etc. In the end, don’t these so called vital things relate to a choice? Haven’t I chosen to live? My journey has shown me that everything without exceptions falls under my full responsibility. Consequently I have no needs, but I have choices, desires, and a creative will. This founding freedom calls for riches that make us live, also the material and immaterial riches that make us thrive. How can we shrink it down to “needs”? The vow of wealth and your greatest gift articles express this philosophy of freedom.
So I had to come up with a new wording: desired wealth, or desired riches.
Today when people ask me about my needs, I then share a list of desired riches. A list that I will keep updated and share along my journey.