Dealing With Desire

When I take a deep breath and make a cool-hard-headed judgement about myself (be it good or bad) I am dealing with my desire.

Desire, is of course, our aspiration to hope.  Desire is not far off from dream.  Philosophically, desire is a significant problem to be dealt with.  Socrates said that an individual’s desires should be trumped by the greater good of society.  I happen to agree.

Aristotle described desire as the twin black and white horses of passion and reason.  How poetic.  But then Hume said that reason is subject to passion.

Jacques Lacan said that psychoanalysis can only be true if the psychoanalyzed are able to truly articulate their desires.

Buddhism teaches us that desire is close to suffering.

So if desire is related to suffering then why should we place any value in it?

Well I can tell you what I desire:  World peace with sustainable cities.  Perhaps you share that desire with me?  So, how do we satisfy this desire?

How about a non-violent revolution?  A total re-examination of our values as individuals and societies.  How about a complete one-eighty from the path we are on as a species so we can collectively determine a new future?

I have a suggestion for dealing with one’s desire:  Don’t.  Dealing with your desire is like bargaining with your own personal devil.    Your desire is another person’s pain.  We are all connected to one another and desire has proven itself to lead straight down a path to greed and the exploitation of our own species.  What we must realize is that there is a very fine line between desire and temptation.  Temptation is the least helpful element of desire.

Practically, we should really start cutting our ties to a desire that enables conspicuous consumption.  We should stop desiring the American Dream and start desiring a sustainable future.

Ultimately, it comes down to resources doesn’t it?  Specifically, a desire for resources (whether human or not).  With an expected population of 7 billion humans by the end of the year 2011 there is no shortage of human resource.  But these 7 billion humans are also entitled to their individual resource needs being met regardless of their location or worth.  I believe Gandhi was right when he said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not for any one’s greed.”

Here is an article for your consideration: It’s about an economic re-organization.  This is essentially what I am advocating when I encourage us to re-examine our values.  My congresswoman Barbera Lee says that “Budgets are moral documents” and I love the implications of that.  We put our money where our desires are.  And at present, our desires our taking us on a direct path to famine, and the likely violence that would result from it.  It is time to revolt.

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