Men’s activities in the early days of their existence were concentrated on the acquisitions of sustenance. With the passage of time, however, they began to learn how to use certain things which were not essential for their survival but important for their comforts. In modern terms, those things would be described as luxuries. As they progressed further, however, and sought to increase their comforts, they began to regard those things as necessities. This has been men’s attitude towards all things, that is, in time they begin to regard as necessities what they originally regarded as luxuries.
We consider almost all of the things which were regarded only as luxuries a few years ago to be indispensable to our existence today. In the case of the radio, it plays a part of modern life. The expansion of education has strengthened men’s curiosity for world affairs. Consequently, the radio has become one of the main sources of information. It also provides much entertainment to a variety of people. Like radio, motor vehicles were firstly used by rich people. Those engaged in trade afterwards. They are regarded as necessities by almost all working men. This owes to the great economic and social changes having occurred in the last few decades. More and more industries are being established in various parts of the world, with the result, that the activities of man too have increased tremendously. Workers have to travel great distances to earn their livelihood, and the limited time at their disposal compels them to regard motor vehicles as indispensable to their activities.
The main reason for acceptance as necessities what were at first regarded as luxuries is that, in course of time men come to realize the benefits and comfort that they derive from the use of those things. Almost every invention or discovery benefits society in some way, and when the advantages of using a thing are fully realized, men tend to regard it as essential to their existence. Even decorative materials have acquired some importance in modern living, and many of them are considered necessities. Window curtains, for example, are now regarded as necessities, though in the past only the rich considered it worthwhile to use them for decorative purposes. It has now become a convention that the things in private chambers of a house should not be exposed to the public gaze. Hence, the use of curtain is considered essential to decent living in society.
Sometimes, however, considerations of social status too have led to the recognition of certain things as necessities. When a substantial number of people in society use certain things which were treated with indifference before or regarded as luxuries, it becomes necessary for others to use them to maintain their status in society. Men today are too conscious of their position in society, and to assert their social influence whenever it is possible, they gain possession of certain things such as telephones or refrigerators, which they had earlier regarded as luxuries.
Thus, most of the necessities of today are actually not necessities in the sense that they are indispensable for survival, but that they are required to add to the comforts of life and our social position, and there is no doubt that many more of the luxuries of today will come to be regarded as necessities tomorrow.