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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


            Desire is like a highly reactive substance. It is the spark that drives our thoughts and our actions. It can persuade us into doing things we wouldn't normally do. Based on how we deal with it, desire has the power to lead us into or bring us out of despair.
            Desire is a strong feeling of wanting something or wishing something to happen. Desire can be described sexually as sexual appetite or lust, but can also be described as the desire for fundamental human needs such as nutrition or sleep. The word desire comes from the Old French term desir (12c.) which describes the action of wishing or longing for.
Desire has been analyzed with many different psychological theories. Sigmund Freud first introduced the idea of desire with his concept of wish-fulfillment and how humans involuntarily carry themselves through a thought process in order to achieve a desired satisfaction. Freud’s libido theory states that “the libido is gradually separated out from biological drives whose aims are self-preservation and nutrition, and acquires a sexual object of its own” (Freud 1905). This theory describes desire as the need for physical pleasure which can be related to sexual appetite, passion, or lust. Freud’s libido theory is developed and taken further by Lacan, who tends to broaden and desexualize the meaning of desire. Lacan argues that ‘desire is not caused by the wish to posses an object; it is caused by ‘a lack of being’ that signals the split or division at the heart of the subject.’ [1] ­ ­He went on to create the thesis that ‘man’s desire is the desire of the Other’.
For humans, desire can be dangerous in the sense that it is what drives us to take action; our actions can be dangerous or harmful to ourselves and to others. Desire can also be beneficial; it pushes us to pursue our wants. Like any other emotion, the side effects of desire can be controlled; it all depends on how far we will go and what we will do to get what we want.

[1] ­ David Macey, Dictionary of Critical Theory, (London: Penguin Group, 2000), 94-95.


Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 17, 2012. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=desire&searchmode=none.

Macey, David. Dictionary of Critical Theory. London: Penguin Group, 2000.

Oxfrod University Press, "Oxfrod English Dictionary." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 17, 2012. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/50880?rskey=aFf15e&result=1

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