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.
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.
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- A Gift From God Ibogaine by C
- Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness - 17 The man made world as temptress
- Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness - 18 The parable of the cruise ship and the island
- Amiel, Henri - On destiny and the Great Work
- Asvaghosha - The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana - The problems of the 5 senses
- Aurelius, Marcus - Meditations - Desire
- Bergson, Henri - Time and Free Will - Anticipation and hope
- Beuys, Joseph - Honey Pump 05
- Bhagavad Gita - Asceticism is dark in kind
- Bhagavad Gita - The Tyranny of the Ego
- Bhagavad Gita - Why are we born?
- Bhagavata Purana - Reincarnation
- Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy - All pleasures have one quality alike
- Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy - If plenty from her well stocked horn
- Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad
- Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad
- Buddha - Quote - The mind has attained to the extinction of all desires
- C P Cavafy - Desires
- Charles Cotton - If solid happiness we prize
- Claudio Naranjo: The Early Days' Ibogaine Experiments
- Crowley, Aleister - Book of Lies - Buttons and Rosettes
- Crowley, Aleister - Book of Lies - The Gun Barrel
- Dandamis - We love God and have no fear of death; you love gold, kill people, fear death and despise God
- Dante - Inferno - Canto 1 :2
- Dante - Inferno [avarice]
- Dante - Inferno [obsession]
- Dante - Purgatorio - Canto 19
- Descartes, Rene - On desires and the ego
- Descartes, Rene - Why some people are unable to conceive of the existence of a spiritual realm
- Edward Young - Love of Fame - extracts
- Epictetus - The Enchiridion - 10
- Epictetus - The Enchiridion - 14
- Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters - From a letter to Giovanni Nesi, the passions
- Frost, Robert - Some say the world will end in fire
- Gentling the Bull – 06 Returning home on the back of the Bull
- Gentling the Bull – 08 Both Bull and Man forgotten
- Hesiod - Theogony - 03 Order of creation
- Hesiod - Theogony - Mnemosyne [Memory] and the Three Graces
- Huangdi Neijing - Suwen short extracts
- Ibn El-Arabi - The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq - Their abodes have become decayed
- Into The Flood Ibogaine, iboga Total Aklaloid Extract by Xorkoth
- Jami - SALÁMÁN AND ABSÁL – from 02 The Story
- Keats, John - Letter March 1819
- Khusrau, Amir - Ghazal 1034
- Krishnamurti - The Network of Thought - Fear, the pursuit of pleasure, and the burden of greed and pain
- Krishnamurti - The Network of Thought - Sorrow
- Lalla - Gourmet meals and elegant clothes can’t buy you peace of mind
- Leibniz - On desire
- Leibniz - The Monadology - 02
- Li Po - Hard is the Journey
- Madame d’Esperance - Shadow Land - 27 Out of body [continued]
- Masters and Houston - On forests
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - All suffering comes from attachment and affection
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - Free yourself from material things
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - If you wish to discover and possess complete joy
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - On detachment
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - The ego is bound up with fasting, holding vigil and ascetic practises
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - The wayless Way, where the Sons of God lose themselves
- Meister Eckhart - Selected writings - True obedience should have no ‘I want this’
- Neiye - Verse 15
- Nietzsche - Thus spake Zarathustra - Art thou a new strength and a new authority? A first motion?
- Nietzsche - Thus spake Zarathustra - As yet humanity hath not a goal
- North Whitehead, Alfred – 07 Event based processing versus objective based processing
- Plotinus - Eighth Tractate - On emotion and will
- Plotinus - The Enneads - It is certain that we shrink from the unpleasant
- Proust, Marcel - In Search of Lost Time Volume VI - On desire
- Ramana Maharshi - On happiness
- Reid, Gall, Mill, Bain and Hack-Tuke – On the nature of the Will
- Rimbaud, Arthur - O seasons, O chateaux, Who possesses a perfect soul
- Rumi - The Book of Love - The way the soul is with the senses
- Ruskin, John - Extracts from Letters to the Clergy
- Russell, George William - Song and its Fountain
- Saint Catharine of Genoa - On the destructiveness of the Ego and Desires
- Samyutta Nikaya - Wheel of life
- Schelling, F W J - Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Human Freedom – On Darkness and Light
- Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - On fleeting gratification
- Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - Opposite to sublime
- Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - Reducing desires
- Silene capensis & Nicotine - by Sabje
- Tennyson, Alfred Lord - In Memoriam A H H - Who loves not Knowledge?
- The Lotus Sutra - 02 Expedient Means - 2 Desires as the cause of affliction and endless reincarnation
- The Lotus Sutra - 02 Expedient Means - 4 The reason for the use of expediency
- The Lotus Sutra - 03 Simile and Parable - 2 The Parable of the Burning House
- The Lotus Sutra - 03 Simile and Parable - 4 The rule of extinction
- The Lotus Sutra - 23 Perceiver of the World's Sounds - 1 Brahma's sound, the sea tide sound
- The Supreme teaching
- Tibetan Book of the dead - Confession
- Tirrukural, the - Book 1 Covetousness
- Tirrukural, the - Book 1 Yearning
- Tzu, Lao - Fame or Self: Which matters more
- van Helmont, Jan Baptist - The Illumination of the Higher spirit
- Vaughan, Henry - The Pursuit
- Visual hallucinations from the powerful emotion of desire
- Waller, Edmund - Divine Poems - 04 Divine Love
- Yeats, W B - Collected poems - King Guaire walked amid his court
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book I - Sutras 01 to 51
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book II - Sutras 01 to 55
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book IV - 06. Desire carries bondage in its womb
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book IV - 07. All desires set on the Eternal
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book IV - 11. to 34.
- Yuasa, Professor Yasuo - The loss of spiritual wealth