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Spiritual concepts

Desire

A desire or a wish is a type of objective.  It is an activity we would like to do or a state we would like to reach.  It is by its nature entirely personal, it is not imposed, not learnt, we choose it.

This is something we want to do. 

How we choose it is dependent on our Personality.  Desires are ego driven, see Desire and personality.

Since survival is very obviously one clear ‘desire’, we nearly all have this as a goal, but we can set ourselves desires that have nothing to do with survival – we may want to learn to play the piano, or climb Mount Everest [which would seem the very opposite of wanting to survive] or run the marathon. 

Furthermore, we can set ourselves objectives and thus have desires that are not for our own benefit.  We can, for example, aim to ‘reduce poverty’ or ‘save the whale’

A ‘selfless’ or unselfish objective?

There is something so wonderfully robust, challenging and controversial about Nietzsche’s observations that I will quote what he says about the unselfish wish here first.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human

Morality as the self-division of man

A girl in love wishes the faithfulness and devotion of her love could be tested by the faithlessness of the man she loves.  A soldier wishes he could fall on the battlefield for his victorious fatherland; for his supreme desire is victor in the victory of his fatherland.  A mother gives to her child that of which she deprives herself, sleep, the best food, if need be her health, her strength – But are these all unegoistic states?
Is it not clear that in all these instances man loves something of himself, an idea, a desire, an off-spring, more than something else of himself, that he thus divides his nature and sacrifices one part of it to the other?
Is it something essentially different from when some obstinate man says; ‘I would rather be shot down than move an inch out of that fellow’s way?' – The inclination for something – wish, impulse, desire – is present in all the above mentioned instances; to give in to it, with all the consequences, is in any event not ‘unegoistic’.

You can see that I felt that he had a point, otherwise I wouldn’t have included it. 

In some respects whether an objective is personal or not, ‘selfish’ or ‘unselfish’  doesn’t matter, he is, I suspect right when he says, we are never really  ‘unselfish’ or choose to do something which might be termed ‘unselfish’ or ‘selfless’, because in the final analysis it satisfies a part of what makes us, us – our Personality.

And perhaps that part of our personality is our need to feel part of humanity and the world at large.  Almost a transcendent wish.

Observations

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