Human desire


Shane Parrish and his guests have explored human desire extensively, emphasizing its dual nature and impact on human behavior.

  1. Positive Aspect of Desire:

    • Shane Parrish and view desire as a fundamental part of being human. When channeled correctly, desire can drive people to endure hardships and achieve significant accomplishments. For example, the desire for freedom has historically motivated people to fight against oppression and tyranny 1.
  2. Dual Nature of Desire:

    • discusses how desire can lead to both suffering and innovation. As per Buddhist and Hindu philosophies, desire often leads to suffering because wanting something we can't have causes emotional pain. Conversely, in economic and capitalist frameworks, such as those described by Adam Smith, desire drives competition and innovation, ultimately benefiting humanity 2.
  3. Types of Desires:

    • Luke Burgis differentiates between "thick" and "thin" desires. Thick desires are deep-rooted and enduring, such as the desire for meaningful relationships and personal virtues. Thin desires are more transient and can quickly change based on external influences. Cultivating thick desires is crucial for long-term satisfaction 3.

      The Power of Desire

      Luke discusses the importance of desire and how it can be channeled in a positive way. He distinguishes between "thick" and "thin" desires, and emphasizes the need to cultivate and reinforce enduring desires that can act as a guide for decision-making.

      The Knowledge Project

      The Power of Mimetic Desire | Luke Burgis | Knowledge Project 138
  4. Memetic Desire:

    • The concept of memetic desire, introduced by philosopher René Girard, suggests that most of our desires are imitated from others rather than being innate. This idea helps explain societal behaviors like the pursuit of material wealth and social status, often leading to what is known as the hedonic treadmill 4.
  5. Understanding and Managing Desires:

    • Recognizing and managing desires is vital. Burgis recommends keeping a "desire journal" to track changing desires over time, aiding in better decision-making and personal growth. Understanding how desires evolve can help us align them with our long-term goals 5.
  6. Influence as Models of Desire:

    • We influence others' desires just as others influence ours. Being aware of this can help us act responsibly. For instance, as a teacher, a colleague, or a parent, our actions and what we prioritize can significantly shape the desires and behaviors of those around us 6.

In summary, while desire has the potential to lead to both positive and negative outcomes, understanding and properly channeling it can result in personal growth and societal advancement.