Thursday, August 25, 2011

My take on Desire

Photo credit-Idea Go @

Why does a child sob uncontrollably when denied a candy? What causes a lady to skip a heartbeat on looking at fashion magazines, or makes a man drool over the flavour of the month heroine’s photo-shoot? To put it plainly, it is because of the emotion called desire.

Desire is the root cause of all evil, is a common saying. It may well be part of our scriptures. However, desire is not just the cause of evil; it is also the cause of improvement, a cause of action. It is the proportion of desire,  the genesis of it,  and the mind’s will-or the lack of it- to stick to a certain set of ideals which we may have either been brought up with, or have picked up while growing, that makes the repercussions of desire or the path we take to achieve it questionable.

Desire, as mentioned, is the genesis of any action.  
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A child cries when desiring milk, a woman sighs on seeing a pregnant woman when desiring the experience to those maternal feelings, a man leers at a well-endowed woman when desiring carnal pleasures. As we age, like most living things, our understanding of the world around us increases. However, the increase in our desires is alarmingly exponential.

A child desires a shiny new toy, just one more than his neighbor. A woman desires the appreciation of the opposite sex, and would be happy if she were to be showered with a little more attention as compared to her best friend, or sister, even. A man desires to earn a little more, just a little more than his competitive colleague.

While these examples may vary from person to person and are not related to just one gender, the crux of the matter is that our desires, as we grow, increases manifold. We desire attention, we crave acceptance, and we seek conformity. Human beings are social animals after all, and same is the case with their desires too.

Most of our desires are social.
Photo Credit- Graur Codrin@

Meaning, those objects of desire; a new car, a better physique, a higher salary, have more to do with how you will be seen in society, they are carved out of this strong intrinsic need to look good amongst our like. Right since childhood, why, infancy, we are constantly fed values which are conducive to social acceptance. In our childhood, parents lure us with candy; offering it to us if we perform some ludicrous act which they find funny or entertaining like reciting poetry. See how the child learns it’s a give- take world so early in his life? 

Of course, the parents desire to be seen by others as good parents, and hence are coerced into enticing their child to showcase his intellect- and in turn reflect theirs. This public display of the child intellect is sometimes pushed too far by parents, who shove their unfulfilled desires into the helpless child’s throat. The child desires to come across as an obedient child, and this desire, nay, this innate need to please people has led to many a burnout.

A burnout might typically happen in a scenario where the desires were too big, and the desirous person was either not capable of fulfilling that desire, or was required to pursue it.

Unnatural and unrealistic desires sadden us. 
Photo Credit- Ambro @

A child may want a particular lollipop which another child is passionately devouring; a young adolescent might hanker for his best friend’s bonny lass, while a man might crave for his boss’ job.

However, how many of those unnatural desires last? A child forgets the lollipop, stops crying and starts licking the ice cream his parents have brought; they brought it to pacify him, the need to buy stemmed from a desire to be thought of as a good parent. The child would have stopped crying nonetheless, with or without the ice cream substitute.

The young adolescent will soon fancy another friend’s bonny lass, while the enthusiastic professional eager to step into his bosses shoes might find the shoes too tight a fit.

This is an important lesson one must introduce to children. We have many desires. Most cause harm, some goad us into action, and some are un-realistic. We must identify our desires, understand them, and then act on them.

If desire is the root cause of all evil, then desire is the root cause of all good too.
Photo Credit- Digitalart @

If it was the perverted desire that led the man to rape a helpless woman, it was the desire for the sense of fairness amongst the authorities that brought him to justice. Inventors desired to be famous, some desired recognition, and others desired the gratification that comes with innovation, while others desired money. Whatever their reasons for desire were, it was desire that led them to inventing new things which have made life so easy for others, for us. 

As Man is a social animal, he has to exist, he has to conform, and he has to behave in a socially accepted manner. Walking around naked if one desires to would call for stern action from the powers to be. Desires lead to action, and every action has a response. As human beings, we are blessed with the powers of deduction, and we would hence do well to identify the desire, understand it, and if it is worthwhile, considering the repercussions, act on it. Some harmful or un-realistic fleeting desires will pass you by.

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