The true fulfillment of desires
A question received on an Internet Q&A site about the fulfillment of desires:
“How could one fulfill the desires of others at the expense of one’s own desires! “Leftists” would say that instead of running for your own pleasure, for example, you could have helped others instead!”
It is true, we can fulfill only one desire at one time, either our own desire or the desire of others.
And by our inherent programming, we can fulfill only desires that give us pleasures, rewards as without it we simply cannot move.
But then this becomes a bit more complicated.
What are “our own desires”? Do we have any “own” desires at all?!
You mentioned the “lefties”, but you could have mentioned the “righties” or any other interest groups, not to mention the media, marketing and entertainment constantly playing with us, injecting their ideologies, desires, “aggregate demand” into our minds. Then we start to think as if those thoughts, desires were on our own.
Let us use the example of running. Do you really enjoy running because that is best for you because all your life you were dreaming about running? Or you are “infected” by the stories of others, by the fitness industry urging you to run, the NIKE (or adverts) showing beautiful people running, smiling, athletes looking invincible (although from Orthopedic point of view I could tell you that running, especially on the streets is very damaging for your knees for example…)…
Basically none of our desires are our own, not even the most instinctive ones that are necessary for the survival of our biological bodies like food, sex, family as even those are tempered with in our times.
But let us say that these basic desires are “neither praised, nor condemned” as food, sex and family are necessary. But whatever we do beyond these desires is the direct influence of the environment we exist in. And we receive pleasure from fulfilling those desires when we see that those desires and their fulfillment are highly regarded in the environment in that environment is important for us, where we desire respect, want to belong to.
Thus in the right environment, we can actually learn to feel the greatest pleasure, reward by sensing and fulfilling the desires of others, instead of chasing self-fulfillment for our own desires that are above our personal necessities. And that has nothing to do with leftist, liberal or communistic ideas. This is according to the laws of Nature.
In Nature’s integral system balance, contentment comes from working for the whole collective, sustaining the balance and homeostasis the life and development of the whole collective (including each individual) depend on. And it used to be the same in earlier Human tribes, clans, families. We can still observe it in “less developed”, more natural Human communities today, that the happiness, contentment of the individual is tied to the happiness, contentment of the whole collective.
It is only our incessantly growing Human ego that convinced us that we need to search for individual happiness, the reward at all cost — subsequently making us the most unhappy, miserable generation of all, sunken into depression, emptiness, hopelessness, substance abuse, constantly chasing more and more individual pleasures while becoming even more empty, unsatisfied as a result.
Thus I think the best way forward is to build such an environment where sensing and fulfilling the needs, desires of others — above, after fulfilling one’s own basic necessities — becomes the most important, most respected. If we do that through the right educational method without any coercion, attracting people through positive motivation, we will gain almost immediate emotional impressions about pleasures, fulfillments we never experienced before as we will share and receive the fulfillment of the whole collective making any individual pleasure, fulfillment felt like a grain of sand.