Desire

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
When some desire that we should be ashamed of is attributed to us, we notice that we have never had it consciously, in the sense of saying to ourselves, "I wish that would happen." We therefore look for some other interpretation of our actions, and regard our friends as very unjust when they refuse to be convinced by our repudiation of what we hold to be a calumny.
I believe--as I shall try to prove in a later lecture -that desire, like force in mechanics, is of the nature of a convenient fiction for describing shortly certain laws of behaviour.
He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element.
These two, as you may perceive, have a place in our State; and the meaner desires of the are held down by the virtuous desires and wisdom of the few.
Then if there be any city which may be described as master of its own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, ours may claim such a designation?
SOCRATES: But if there is no one who desires to be miserable, there is no one, Meno, who desires evil; for what is misery but the desire and possession of evil?
MENO: That appears to be the truth, Socrates, and I admit that nobody desires evil.
"The man's soul is his desires. Or, if you will, the sum of his desires is his soul.
Before I had time to express any desire to know, he had me by the throat with his gorilla grip, and by a faint quiver of the muscles- -a hint, as it were--he suggested to me the twist that would surely have broken my neck.
But he wished a fire and made it, And in Adam's heart he laid it, Singing.--"Fire, fire, burning Fire, Stand up and reach your heart's desire!"(The Apple Blossom's set.)
And the point is that this development of desire was entirely in my brain.
Now, leave me, and desire my valet de chambre to come hither." Scarcely had Ali disappeared when the valet entered the chamber.