What's a word for "thing in the world that needs to be changed"?

edited August 2009 in Game Design Help
Adam is a nice guy. He sees someone trying to fix a flat tire by the side of the road and he stops and helps. Why? Because when there's a "thing in the world that needs to be changed" he believes it's his duty to change it. After all, if he doesn't change it, who will? To Adam, the person struggling to fix a flat is one of these "things in the world that needs to be changed."

Bob's a greedy guy. He sees a bank and starts making plans to rob it. Why? Because he also believes that when there's a "thing in the world that needs to be changed" it's his duty to change it. After all, if he doesn't change it, who will? Only in his case, the "thing in the world that needs to be changed" is the fact that all that money is sitting there in the bank instead of in his pocket where it belongs.

It seems to me that there should be an English word or at least a much less cumbersome phrase for "thing in the world that needs to be changed" that would apply equally to both Adam and Bob, but I'm just not coming up with one.
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Comments

  • My first guess would be Problem...

    Both Bob and the guy changing the tire have problems...
  • There's gotta be a better word than "problem". Surely in the view of most thieves the riches of their targets are not problems, but opportunities? Not that I can think of a better word myself right at this very moment...
  • Bag.

    This sort of thing is my bag, baby.

    (This joke brought to you by my complete failure to find a serious answer)
  • In a field
    I am the absence
    of field.
    This is
    always the case.
    Wherever I am
    I am what is missing.

    When I walk
    I part the air
    and always
    the air moves in
    to fill the spaces
    where my body's been.

    We all have reasons
    for moving.
    I move
    to keep things whole.

    -- Strand
  • I really like 'problem.' I mean, that's a word people use and say. Let's all try to use words like that.

  • -Transitional Opportunity-

    brought to you by CorpSpeak International.
  • a travesty

    a damn shame

    a humanitarian crisis
  • challenge?
  • "exigence"
  • Agenda.
  • Cause. Opportunity.
  • Or motivator, motivation.

    Or how about a "wrong"? A wrong you need to make right.
  • I like "wrong". It's also a duty.

    Graham
  • Flaw. Blemish. Defect. Glitch. Anomaly. Weakness.
  • edited August 2009
    Skub. As in, 'some skub thing.'

    image

    It nicely captures the fact that, in the OP's example, the notion of moral imperative is just a fancy way of saying 'something I was going to do anyway.' Fixing flats, robbing banks, it's all just some skub thing.
  • edited August 2009
    A bit strong, but what about disgrace?
  • Ron:

    The context of the game will be important for this. The answer I give you will vary depending on if it's fantasy/sci-fi/horror genre, romance, something else.
  • edited August 2009
    Does a word in another language help? Sometimes sprinkling greek, farsi, german, chinese etc where such a word/idea exists might be cool.

    Like, it's kinda long, but in Japanese you could say it poetic-like with "kawaraneba-mon" (shortened of "kawaraneba-naranai-koto").

    EDIT: Seeing the followup post, the J-version above can connotate both "good/bad' things. Basically, it's the equivalent of "Somethin' that needs a-changin' ", which could of course be a line from a good guy or a bad guy.

    -Andy
  • I'm inferring from the examples in the original post that Ron is looking for a word that applies equally well to actions that would broadly be seen as virtuous and good, as to actions that would be broadly seen as selfish and bad.

    I'm going to say that there is no word in English that means "thing in the world that needs to be changed" that doesn't impart some sort of value judgement (e.g. "Problem," "Indignity," "Outlier"). Then again, "needs to be changed" already expresses an opinion, as situations in and of themselves have no needs.

    Rather, the speaker encounters a situation with the potential to be made different, and judges that a particular subsequent state would be preferable to the current one.

    Also, both examples given in the original post are of situations that the observer is capable of changing himself. Adam can fix a tire, Bob can rob a bank. C.f. the observation of a peasant that the fascist dictatorship is ruining his life.
  • How about just 'a situation?' As in, 'we've got ourselves a situation here, boys...'
  • As change is inevitable, I think it would be far more dramatic to deal with a "thing in the world that needs to remain unchanging."
  • edited August 2009
    Keyhole: a place for using Keys.
  • Injustice?
  • I like problem or opportunity, depending on your point of view. Both imply action. The bank example leans toward opportunity, the flat tire leans toward problem, but either would work for either.
  • Regarding morality: I don't think that needs to be reflected in the word that much. "That bank's got money that's not in my pockets. That's just wrong".
  • In case my post wasn't clear (it probably wasn't), I am suggesting Strand, or thread
  • As in loose thread.
  • edited September 2009
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Simon_Pettersson</cite> motivation.

    .</blockquote>

    This was what I was going to post.
  • Jeez, folks, why are we still having this conversation? "Exigency" or "exigence" are English words that mean exactly what the OP is asking for:
    ex·i·gen·cy (ks-jn-s, g-zjn-)
    n. pl. ex·i·gen·cies
    1. The state or quality of requiring much effort or immediate action.
    2. A pressing or urgent situation. See Synonyms at crisis.
    3. Urgent requirements; pressing needs. Often used in the plural.
    exigence (noun)
    1. The condition of being in need of immediate assistance: distress, exigency, hot water, trouble. See help/harm/harmless.
    2. A condition in which something necessary or desirable is required or wanted: exigency, necessity, need. See necessary/unnecessary.
    3. A decisive point: climacteric, crisis, crossroad (used in plural), exigency, head, juncture, pass, turning point, zero hour. See decide/hesitate.
    4. Something asked for or needed: demand, exigency (often used in plural), need, want. See necessary/unnecessary, over/under.
    Move along, now. Nothing to see.
  • Posted By: Bill_WhiteJeez, folks, why are we still having this conversation? "Exigency" or "exigence" are English words that meanexactlywhat the OP is asking for:
    "Exigence" sounds good for the tire example, but it may be too immediately urgent for something like the thief example. I guess that brings up a question: is this word supposed to be the focus of a campaign, a session, a conflict, a task, or what?

    From that definition, though, "demand" is a nice suggestion. It addresses both needs and wants. And it can be a strong demand without necessarily being an immediate crisis.
  • Wow, I guess that word a day stuff really does make you better at knowing words no one uses.

    Now if we can amicably depart an exigency of due matter has occurred and I must abscond.
  • Posted By: Logos7Wow, I guess that word a day stuff really does make you better at knowing words no one uses.

    Now if we can amicably depart an exigency of due matter has occurred and I must abscond.
    Yeah, most people's vocabularies are, to put it kindly, benighted.
  • Exigency is a rare word? Oy vey.
  • Posted By: Bill_WhiteJeez, folks, why are we still having this conversation? "Exigency" or "exigence" are English words that meanexactlywhat the OP is asking for:
    Heh, thanks! I was actually hoping that there was a word like this in English out there somewhere that I wasn't aware of. Awesome.

    It also weirds me out a little bit that I know the word Exigence in Japanese, but I don't know if in my native tongue. It makes me natsukashii for my seishun's hibi in college.
  • Duty.

    Quest.

    DUTYQUEST.
  • Exigency is the best answer, but I kind of like the idea of Incongruity as well. It allows a sort of moral angle while tying it to the character's subjectivity. An inharmonious state, a flaw that separates the world as is and the world as it should be.
  • Exigence!!!! YES!!!

    <--------------- THREAD ENDS HERE --------------------->
  • Tada,

    In before, You can't post after

    <-----------------Thread ends here----------------->
  • Exigence is a terrible name for it.

    "OH MY GOD! That bank has money that needs to be in my pockets! Hurry! We have to rob it!"
    "Shouldn't we make a plan or get som gu-"
    "THERE'S NO TIME!"

    <
    THREAD ENDS HERE
    >
  • <----------------------Thread Ends Here's ----------------------------->
    <-----------------------------End Here-------------------------------------->
  • People thinking they can tell me that the threads ended, that's a dang nabbit exigency.
  • NO TIME FOR PLANNING< QUICK SMASH THE LINES!
  • Posted By: Simon_PetterssonExigence is a terrible name for it.

    "OH MY GOD! That bank has money that needs to be in my pockets! Hurry! We have to rob it!"
    "Shouldn't we make a plan or get som gu-"
    "THERE'S NO TIME!"
    That would be an "emergency."

    n., pl. -cies.
    1. A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action.
    2. A condition of urgent need for action or assistance: a state of emergency.
    There's some overlap, to be sure, but look again at the definitions above. There's more leeway with respect to immediacy.
  • "Damn shame" is the best one so far.

    "Man, this guy's got a flat and nobody's helping him change it. That's a damn shame. I should help."
    "Man, this bank's got all this money that I don't have. That's a damn shame. I should rob it."
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