I want everything, I want nothing…

At approximately 4:30am she placed her head in the oven with the gas turned on high.  It had taken careful planning… She’d stuffed wet towels under all the doors so the carbon monoxide wouldn’t reach her sleeping children. Her timing was perfect; she knew the nurse wasn’t due till 9:00. 11 February 1963. Sylvia Plath was 30 years old when she committed suicide. Sylvia Plath once wrote; “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” I was recently asked the following question about Sylvia Plath’s quote; “which do you find more dangerous: wanting everything, or wanting nothing?” I don’t know the answer. Although I’ve considered alternatives.

Everything– Hitler wanted everything. Poland. Europe. Imperialism. Annexation. War. So perhaps wanting everything is most dangerous?

Everything– Martin Luther King Jr. wanted everything to be equal for everyone. Peaceful. Desegregated. Educated. So perhaps wanting everything is good?

Nothing– If we all laid around wanting nothing all day then nothing would ever get done. If “want” is what makes us “do” then “wanting nothing” would make for a horrible world; no one would work, learn, eat, or even reproduce to preserve the human race. So perhaps wanting nothing is most dangerous?

Nothing– What about charity? When someone donates money anonymously or helps a cause and wants nothing in return. So perhaps wanting nothing is good?

I’m torn. There has to be at least something that everyone wants that prevents them from wanting nothing. Right? And if somebody who wants everything wants the right thing then wanting everything would be a good thing. But what if they wanted the wrong thing? (And who is qualified to say what the “right” and “wrong” everything is?) Semantics. I want everything to get better. I want nothing to get worse. So, what do you think… which is most dangerous: wanting everything, or wanting nothing? Sylvia Plath

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