Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On Desires

First, (desires vs needs) we need to understand what desires are and separate them from needs.

Needs are rational, logical, and arise from the body or the rational mind. There is no passion associated with needs. We don't needs chocolate (newfieism, nf). Plato termed them the white horse of reason, needs are logic based, we do need some food.

Desires arise from the automatic part of the brain and are connected to passion.  Plato termed them the black horse of passion, desires and passions are noncognitive, automatic mind responses, and are connected. These are deadly and can be classed as wants as " I wants it "(nf). Desire and passion for those desires are the deadly part. These can also arise consciousness, and must be rooted out to avoid eating because of them. These can be induced by the senses, temptation, availability, advertising, sight, smell, hearing, feeling. We can whet up desire easily by thinking how it would taste, feel, smell.

We need to separate desires into two types; appetition and volition. It is appetition group that give us the most trouble. These drive consumption. Volition can also be a issue, they can drive the act of eating.

Now what does (nf) we need to do to eliminate desires for food, or almost all desires? Buddha implied: extinguishing all desires is enlightenment.  Delusions, expectations, aversions, are all forms of desires. Vices are unskillful, virtues skillful. There is nothing wrong with skillful desires or impulses. Sense desires must be cut out completely. Skillful desires are ok, liberating and enhancing, while unskillful desires should be avoided and cause obsession, resentments, embittered negative issues.

One issue with food is too much desires. Beyond a point, some skillful desires become unskillful, and must be cropped. Over-consumption, OK.

Self-consciousness causes desires according to Kant. Passion is "agitation of the soul".
Stoics advise to live by virtue, and avoid vices. This is essentially the same thing Buddha recommends. Buddhists "generate desire" for the fostering of skillful qualities and the abandoning of unskillful ones.

So WTF does this have to do with overeating? Next we need to separate three more things; hunger, cravings and desires. Hunger is physical, cravings arise in the body or primal mind, desires  arise in the automatic mind, are whetted by senses, temptation, availability. Occasional the rational mind can give rise to desires, and these are attached to passion to give them life. So do I (we) suffer from excess hunger, cravings, or desires?

After much searching, I realized that it is desires that drive me, not cravings. These are within my control, and my responsibility, even though there is not modern training available that teaches how to control these not how to manage them either. This is a failing of modern society, and one more cause of the obesity epidemic.

Now I need to explore desire control.

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