I was on a psychology forum when i came across an interesting post, that gave me a chance to engage in critical thinking and analyse the hidden meanings behind the responses.
Someone posed the question ''what would you do with three wishes?''. They sold it as a narrative, that you found a genie in a lamp (for genie we can think God, Fate). The narrative had rules: you had could not wish for extra wishes, or more genies, this was to pin people down to making interesting, diverse responses. If people type 'unlimited wishes' then there is no further need to elaborate. However, i found a commonality between the responses and so I filtered them down to three, which covered , broadly, most of the posters replies.
The three most common wishes were:
3.Immortality and power. Narcissism, god complex, fantasy of success.
It becomes interesting to examine the hidden motive behind this fantasy of gaining power and to think about what this says both about the respondents to the question and to the psychology of human beings.
The first one was probably more of a younger persons wish, a lot of students use the site.
1.all women want to have sex with me.
There were a few responses from women, but they tended to focus on physical improvements,such as movie star looks or perfect body’s. as did a lot of the men (thought penis size in their case was one of the most common responses). This really meant they wanted to feel more attractive to people, and by intimation, less lonely.
The next most common wish was family orientated, summed up best as:
2. i want no harm to come to my loved ones
Some of the replies wanted to bestow wealth and health on their family, some wished for diseases to go away, for fathers and mothers to return. For rifts to be healed. Having family and friends gives us a sense of identity, a society within a society in which we have those valuable checks and balances that allow us to feel needed and wanted.
The third was divided in to two , one philanthropic, one narcissistic. They can equally be best summed up as:
3. World peace, no war or poverty.
This can be linked directly with the ‘no harm to loved ones’ in the number two wish. We could argue that the observer expectancy effect comes in to play here. The ones who post tailor their responses to put themselves in a good light in the hope of receiving peer approval. Which can then, be held in corollary with number one. ‘I want people to find me attractive’.
Finally we come to the narcissism of being an immortal. All the responses under the umbrella term qualified their wish with good looks, and a perfect body. Some held rationale about how the prolonged life would give them time to build wealth, become a famous valuable asset to the planet.
We can now draw a line linking the three wishes, which i believe can be summed up in this statement.
I wish for people to like and love me.
I noted apart from the odd Caligula like rant, most people wanted genuine affection from others should they attain this plateaued position of fame, good lucks and pro longed life.
Thanks for reading, if you have comments you can do so anonymously if you wish