To discuss each point, I'll go in order as best I can.There are no musts and must nots.
One cannot deny the existence of “must” without also denying the existence of “needs”. By their very definition, needs are things that must be met. That would be like saying “necessities are not necessary” or "I don't need to meet my needs". If you can afford to not meet them, then they aren't needs to begin with.
So I find it interesting that of all the philosophies, CL is most based in meeting needs
yet at the same time the only one denying must
. In fact, the words need and must are interchangeable. "I need to brush my teeth now" is the same as "I must brush my teeth now".
It sounds a little too much like word aversion more than evidence based opinion. These are contradictions that cannot be remedied with "Well it works for me" responses.
Provisos are recommended for this slippery slope. Something perhaps like:
(proviso 1) To maintain life
You must have access to a food source.
You must eat.
You must drink or eat wet foods.
You must get sunshine.
You must sleep.
You must go to the toilet.
You must be protected from predators and environmental elements.
(proviso 2) To maintain the barest of health
You must have access to nutrient dense
food, not just food.
You must have a minimum of social interaction.
(note, an infant's life span is considerably shorter without touch than an adults)
You must move your body.
And so on until you reach the point of choice. And this list is only that which is scientifically proven. There are endless things we must do if we extend that list to include one's own belief system that are not biologically based (ie, areas not so easily proven by science) such as:
you must learn from your mistakes, or risk their repetition;
you must make choices; choosing nothing is still a choice;
you must reap the consequences of your actions or inaction.
Once we have a choice
to engage in a behaviour or not, we are free from “must” and “need”. Much like Maslow's hierarchy of needs
, most of us can live without those things toward the upper end of the pyramid, but it is still debatable as to whether they are needs that must be met. For joy in life, perhaps they become needs that must be met... but to merely survive they are not factors at all.
No such thing as must? Why is there so much fear of that which must be done? Is it based on some kind of childhood deprivation of liberty that we are trying to exact here? How many different ways can we use semantics to avoid saying out loud that something has to get done? "I don't have to eat, I WANT to eat"... I dunno, sounds a bit like denial. I felt a bit like that when I was nine months pregnant... "I WANT to push this baby out... I want
to give birth..." when the reality was it doesn't matter what I tell myself, when I'm heavily pregnant, the baby must
come out! Is a well meaning CL mama going to tell me that there is no such thing as must in that situation? How do they expect to help me get away with that... stand at my vagina and push the baby back in? More importantly, what are we trying to achieve when we say it?
What does a CL mama tell her daughter if she is pregnant and due any minute and says "but mama, you told me I don't have to do anything I don't want to... well, I don't want to give birth!" I would probably try to avoid saying, "well hon, you don't actually have a choice" but that pretty much sums it up.
Within the above proviso lists, there is room for choice, ie within “you must eat” there are endless choices about what
to eat, or about how to feel about the fact that you must eat. But unlike the frustrating car seat example where people respond with “but you don't need to drive, so the seat belt is not necessary”, at least in this example, there IS NO CHOICE to not eat. Unless you consider death an option, but I covered that with the provisos.
I shall briefly acknowledge that I didn't overlook the response to the statement “we must breathe” many pages back. If you missed it, the response was “we don't have
to breathe, the body breathes for us, if you try to stop breathing, your body will force you to breathe” (the body is not very consensual, is it?
). Interesting take on it, and in some small way, sleeping falls into that category because the body can take over and force – however! you die quicker from lack of sleep than you do from lack of food. Scientific fact.
I get the idealistic premise of "there is no such thing as must or must not", I really do. I also believe that for some people death is a valid choice. I am assuming we are all life affirming and reasonable in this discussion and that
"choice" would only be used in desperation, because who is going to teach that to their child? I assume consensual living does NOT expect the ultimate sacrifice is part of anyone's list of options on a given family day.