Desire [April 2017 Asia Test]
For humans, it’s a natural tendency to have longings or cravings for things that bring satisfaction or meaning to life. But, desire can have both a bright and dark side. Desire not only enhances survival or pleasure, but also influences all dimensions of human existence—like falling in love, spirituality, creativity and learning. On the contrary, negative manifestations of desire can lead to neuroticism or obsessively wanting things that we cannot obtain, are not good for us or destructive to our or others well-being. Given the tensions related to desire, it is worth examining its value as well as its implications on society.
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the value and implications of desire.
Desire is a direct result of dissatisfaction with one's life and only brings us unhappiness. We should instead value our time now and focus on being happy.
The feeling of desire is simply a natural sentiment that results in social progress. It can motivate us to push our limits.
In its pure form, desire is an adverse pressure that compels us to pursue selfish interests. Instead, we should focus on helping others get what they want.
Write a unified, coherent essay about the value and implications of desire. In your essay, be sure to:
• clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
• develop and support your ideas with reasoning and examples
• organize your ideas clearly and logically
• communicate your ideas effectively in standard written English
Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of those given, in partial agreement, or completely different.
Human evolution, which resulted in capabilities far beyond our mammalian counterparts, was arguably spawned based on three main factors: survival, replication and desire. The third, desire, can be split into two main categories to analyze it more clearly: “desire to consume” versus “desire to produce”. While unconstrained or misguided consumptive desires can lead to destructive behavior, the productive type has the capacity to be a highly transformational force, and thus should be nurtured, not hindered.
Unfortunately, present day surroundings can accentuate consumerist behavior through constant bombardment of materialistic goods and advertisements that continuously pitch a quick path to the “good life”. Desires that take the form of emotional or physical cravings that serve only to satisfy temporary feelings of pleasure can be dangerous. More simply put, individual needs for survival are no longer a concern in most developed countries due to modern technological advances and wide availability of food and shelter, leaving a lot of today’s youth ample time to obsess about following pop culture, shopping, eating for pleasure, enhancing superficial appearance and impulsive entertainment. This overdependence on external stimuli for self-worth is toxic because it leads to chasing the next quick “high” from a consumerist purchase, a “like” on social media from posting selfies or seeking approval from peers. Too many derive their sense of self-worth through the way others perceive them instead of how they can fulfill others. Chasing selfish desires can lead to emptiness, obsession and even depression.
However, we must not lose sight of the type of productive desire that has led to evolutionary progress and long-term transformation of society. The type of desire that is sourced from the will to do good or “produce” for family, community or society is the type that is sustainable. Young people that are instilled with a sense of esponsibility to do something great or improve the lives of those around them channel their desire into productive means to achieve excellence. Nearly any great biography or movie of a successful person contains a story of someone who had a desire to create something great beyond themselves that would persist beyond their lifetime. Thomas Edison’s will to innovate through creation of revolutionary products; Elon Musk’s mission to change the world through renewable products and space exploration; Steve Job’s vision to bring computers to the masses. While not everyone will achieve this level of greatness, the desire to better one’s family, friends and relationships can foster the hope to build love, trust and community with those around them. Nurturing this type of growth and development in people is the key to motivating people to reach their potential and thus strengthening society one individual at a time.
To summarize, the mentality of “taking” from society versus “giving” is where we must draw the line and consider where desire plays a positive role in society. The desire to produce and give to others is the type that has truly helped the human race evolve to where it is today, and it is this is form of desire that society should continually reinforce and nourish to ensure sustainable improvement for our planet.
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