why are things important to us?

According to one poster, desire is a derivative of need. This was disputed by another one.
My question to the second power would be; what is it that claims for desire a different essence than that of need? And the first one I would ask; is need a sufficiently powerful drive to sustain life?

Need. How can it be qualified? . Need = that which one cannot live without. Yes, but why does one need to live?
The second poster could answer: to fulfill desires. Need, then, becomes equal to desire. We need to fulfill our desires.

Sophistry… bah, I’ve not evolved much since I rejected absolutism.
But the question continues to puzzle me - the subject of this need is elusive.
One may say ‘life’, the other ‘that is different for everyone’. A third might say ‘power’.
That is interesting. Why do we need power? Someone might smile a grin, and quote Nietzsche:
“What is good? — All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
What is happiness? — The feeling that power increases”

I would scratch my head and try to figure out if progress has been made with the search.
Good leads to happiness, through the will to power. Happiness is the feeling of increased power.

I’d want to ask the first poster how need plays into this. Do we need to be happy? If not, why do we pursue it? If so, how different is need from desire? What is more important, something that we need, or something we have desire for?

We need food. We have desire for sex. Without food, we die. Without sex, our race dies.

In this light desire appears more altruistic than need.
Do we not favor those with the greatest desire over those with the greatest needs?

If so, it is important for humans to have desire. We need desire. It is what makes our needs worth satisfying.

Needs are those desires that we all have and agree should be satisfied.

I think there is an initial difficulty in overgeneralisation. And reification. And just plain sloppy thinking.

And the case you cite illustrates this brilliantly, Jake.

I need food.

Every individual does.

But no individual needs for the race to survive.

When you ask: “is need a sufficiently powerful drive to sustain life?” -

whose life do you mean?

I agree with faust.

When you’re carrying a heavy T.V, why is it important that you don’t drop it on your foot?

(unless that was your intention)

There is a missed beauty of the duality of desire and need with this picture that, I think, sums up the entire conversation very nicely.

Kudos bike_seat

I mean the life of the person who has the need.
I have my doubts. If I only had needs and no desires, I would not have anything to live for.

We can do very well with a simple garden, some breeding barn yard critturs, water, and a plain cave or hut. Those are needs, above that, its all desire.
Hmm, dyslexia strikes a note of boring interest, I just mispelled plain as palin, Interesting no one else has caught that.

I don’t think we can, as a species. I know I can’t. Maybe it’s only the exception that hunts for experience and knowledge.

And the sex and procreation issue? We don’t die if we don’t have sex, so it is not a need. But it is fundamental to the species survival.

Nietzsche once argued that ‘Philosophers’ were not created by a choice of study but driven by need for knowledge. The classic distinction between high and low pleasures also illustrates that, for everyone (I think) life requires more than just just the low needs. Yes I have just conflated ‘need’ and pleasure but the point still stands.

Marx’s idea of humanity was that we a driven by a desire to create, to change the world around us and in so doing, create ourselves as beings of talents. This isn’t a desire, this is a need, a need to be human.

I’m not saying that these goals can’t be achieved in your simple garden, they all can. But I don’t think the aspects of modern life that you dismiss as ‘all desire’ is strictly true. However i don’t know, I’m not sure clear distinctions between needs and desires are possible when examining the world, as concepts, yes, but not as applied ideas…

Sex can be a need when driven by pheramones other than that its a desire.

The only knowledge truly needed are survival skills past that its desire. Desire seperates us greatly from other animals.

No, it’s not! :laughing:

There is no difference between ‘desire’ and ‘pheramones’…

Perhaps in that example, but there are human desires beyond pheromones.

Equally, not all animals contain the same desires as their needs, and those that hold desires separate from their needs are different from each other species that does.
It is the human, however, that appears unique in desire from individual human to individual human.

All desires are based in needs.

You desire a candy bar, but why? It connects to your need to nourish yourself, as an evolved human animal.

desires are needs, needs are desires - they overlap and run together, but you can still have them as seperate things, and then combine them to get something else = at the end of a figurative day you’ve got three distinct, identifiable substances mixed on no your pallet and human nature shining from the canvas.

Just kidding. Sort of, etc.

I don’t need paisley drapery for my windows.
I don’t need a 40 inch LCD.
I don’t need to talk on online forums.

Then take them all away and see what kind of an affect it has on you…

What would you think?

I think I’ve done that.
I think that it’s liberating.
I think that it is exactly a desire based on only knowing they are an option, not a need.

People in Africa that are starving (oh yeah…I pulled it) don’t long for drapery or a 40 inch screen.

A need is “needed” for survival of life.

If you take them away only temporarily, then I don’t see how you do not need them. That is my point.

My point is that I do not need them to prevent myself from dying.

That is a need.

I cannot CHOOSE to go without air, food, or water and expect to stay alive.