Desire


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Desire

 

(in psychology), an experience characterized by a more or less conscious notion of intention to accomplish some act (action). The realization of this act is experienced as the satisfaction of the desire. The word “desire” is most often used to mean an emotionally colored attraction toward some object. In this sense there is the connection of desire with feelings, emotions, and affects. Ethics and social psychology regard desire primarily from the viewpoint of its conditioning by social norms and values—in this sense desire is understood as an intention, more correctly as an impulse to achieve some goal, ideal, or daydream.

Desire is one of the most important elements of those psychological states of the personality that anticipate its behavior and activity. It characterizes primarily the motivational and volitional aspect of these states. Therefore, desire is described in psychology not only as an attraction (the emotional aspect) or striving (the value aspect) toward the object of activity but also as the will and intention of carrying out the very process of this activity. Will is understood here as the manifestation of the personality—that is, its volition, while intention is understood as the conscious inducement to realizing the action, which includes consciousness of the need for it.

The development of desire is determined both by the object of desire and the means and conditions of its satisfaction and by the persistence, duration, and strength of the desire itself. Depending on these factors desire may be feasible, unreal, contradictory, reckless, or purposeful. Desires, along with interests and convictions, characterize the conscious attitude of man to his activity.

REFERENCES

Blonskii, P. P. “Psikhologiia zhelaniia.” Voprosy psikhologii, 1965, no. 5.
Rubinshtein, S. L. Osnovy obshchei psikhologii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1946.

N. L. SATS and I. N. SEMENOV

References in classic literature ?
Something closely analogous to knowledge and desire, as regards its effects on behaviour, exists among animals, even where what we call "consciousness" is hard to believe in; something equally analogous exists in ourselves in cases where no trace of "consciousness" can be found.
It does what it does at each stage because instinct gives it an impulse to do just that, not because it foresees and desires the result of its actions.*
What have been called "unconscious" desires have been brought very much to the fore in recent years by psycho-analysis.
And what would you say of unwillingness and dislike and the absence of desire; should not these be referred to the opposite class of repulsion and rejection?
Admitting this to be true of desire generally, let us suppose a particular class of desires, and out of these we will select hunger and thirst, as they are termed, which are the most obvious of them?
And here comes the point: is not thirst the desire which the soul has of drink, and of drink only; not of drink qualified by anything else; for example, warm or cold, or much or little, or, in a word, drink of any particular sort: but if the thirst be accompanied by heat, then the desire is of cold drink; or, if accompanied by cold, then of warm drink; or, if the thirst be excessive, then the drink which is desired will be excessive; or, if not great, the quantity of drink will also be small: but thirst pure and simple will desire drink pure and simple, which is the natural satisfaction of thirst, as food is of hunger?
SOCRATES: Do you mean that they think the evils which they desire, to be good; or do they know that they are evil and yet desire them?
SOCRATES: Is it not obvious that those who are ignorant of their nature do not desire them; but they desire what they suppose to be goods although they are really evils; and if they are mistaken and suppose the evils to be goods they really desire goods?
"The man's soul is his desires. Or, if you will, the sum of his desires is his soul.
"When you have purchased the estate I desire, I want constant relays of horses at ten leagues apart along the northern and southern road."
Here I am, ready to give you any explanation you desire."
For the French retreating along the old Smolensk road, the final goal- their native land- was too remote, and their immediate goal was Smolensk, toward which all their desires and hopes, enormously intensified in the mass, urged them on.