Thursday, September 15, 2011

Conviction & Desire

Here is the continuation of the line of thought started in the post "I Must..." (I'm including it as a pdf because I thought it was a bit long for a blog post.) There's a lot of work yet to do here; this is just a start to what I hope to be a series of thoughts/meditations/reflections of this sort, which will ultimately connect with some of the other work (about courage and humility and patience, etc.) I've been doing and posting about here.

Thoughts appreciated. I'm sort of going out on a limb here, and hopefully I won't fall off.


  1. I don't think it counts as going out on a limb unless you say something stupid, which you haven't done here. Better luck next time!

    I'm tempted to think pragmatically about this. What is it useful to call desire and what is it useful to call something else? So I might avoid statements like "A person who has this kind of conviction is not expressing a mere desire." Such a person is expressing something that we might choose to call a desire. The question, as I see it, is whether we have good reason to make that choice. The rest of the paper then gives good reason not to do so: the disadvantages outweigh the advantages as you present them.

    You go on to say that desire arises from within, but I'm not sure about this. If I see something and instantly want it, why say that the desire arose from within? (This relates to your later discussion of desiring someone's company.) Is this claim meant grammatically or phenomenologically or some other way?

  2. I see your point about the "mere desire" sentence. I want to leave it open, of course, that we could also desire to do what we think we must. (That we could desire what we see as an objective good, etc.) This is relevant to where I'm going in the next reflection.

    About desire arising from within, a couple things. I think I mean that the "welling up" of desire is a kind of urge--that the wanting is something that's "inside" (it's something we experience as a hunger, as it were). Obviously, when a desire is triggered by coming upon something we "instantly" desire, then the cause of the desire is something "out there." That feeling of attraction is--somehow--"inside me." I see your point, though, since we might take the "magnetizing" effect the thing (or person) has on me to indicate that something outside of me instills the desire within me. And certainly, we can have desires/urges that feel "alien" to us. So I do need to think more about this (before I try to say anything else). And it might require a little more distinguishing between different kinds of desires.