A world without desire would surely be a calmer, less frenetic place.
Aspiration tied to accumulation is a modern curse.
We work ever harder and longer. We fight to keep up with ever-changing technology that was supposed to make life easier. Saving for the few days of the year when we allow ourselves to kick back, leave behind everything we have worked so hard to accumulate, and enjoy the peace we could have had at any time, if only we permitted ourselves to do so.
We are programmed for ambition. To push ourselves. To achieve more—whatever that means. To better our situation, our minds, our finances, our status, ourselves. But our purpose is lost even as it is fulfilled.
We are too well trained in anxiety to appreciate the moment of fulfilment for long. And so we want more. More of the same. More distraction from the same. We scrabble around to identify a new ambition—a new purpose. If we’re not pushing for something new, something better, there must be something wrong with us. So say the voices that fill our heads. Voices we have grown up with, turned inward and adopted as our own.
They tell us what we desire. But if we don’t take the time to question the voices—to ask where they come from, whether they really have our interests, our own identity at heart—how can we ever know our own hearts? Whose voices are they? Whose desires are we pursuing?