why are things important to us?

Maybe they do prevent you from dying?

I get anxious and stressed unless I’m doing something. I need to do something, maybe watch a 40-inch widescreen…

In that case, the 40-inch widescreen is necessary.

No it is not.

You would find ANYTHING to do in ANY circumstances within objectionable reason of natural habitat.

If a 40inch screen was a need, you would find yourself getting them prescribed from hospitals.

I don’t know how you and I became confused about what exactly was needed then to start with.

I was talking about the need from the beginning. How can you remove the 40-inch widescreen from the context? I don’t see how it’s possible.

It’s a desire.

I will not die by choice of negating it.

You are not negating it. You are replacing it with something else, correct?

UR , Dude is that your actual self for your avatar??

What if it is…? Is this thing important to us?

The fact that you’re smiling is important to me. It shows me that you aren’t too far gone :smiley:

Sure, but you are confusing the two concepts.

In the dictionary, Need is listed for both necessity (crops need water) and want (needs affection), while desire is listed as a longing or craving for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment (a desire for fame); it is also compared to a wish.
(the dictionary is being used because we are disagreeing on common terms)

The first one is capable by humans and animals alike.
The second one requires imagination.

So if you wanted an absolute that didn’t require a list that could traffic to the moon and back five times, I would word it as such:
If it does not require the imagination, it is a need.
If it requires the imagination, it is a desire.

By imagination, we are talking about the ability to understand that which is not present or that which is instinct.

A man runs behind a wall going right and you are able to track his movement because you have an imagination that is able to predict that he is still moving behind that wall and will therefore come out from the right side of the wall.

Animals do not do this inherently. Some very smart animals can do this exact description, but they cannot imagine a room full of their favorite food.
(If you bring up the, “how do you know they can’t imagine” crap, I’ll smack you for making me go through the ridiculously long task of showing you how we know this)

I’m not sure that that is true. There was an experiment in a just-liberated concentration camp, where the more dead than alive women were given one lipstick, which was used eagerly by all of them - it was only that red paint on their grey faces that brought back their will to live. That luxury, instrument for desire, gave them the feeling being human again.

I think I agree with you that desire is linked to imagination. What I hold for possible is that desire/imagination is in the end more important to a human than direct need. It is what makes us human, what separates us from animals - and apparently that is a top priority. Compare it to the idea of dying with honor rather than living with humiliation.

It is of course likely that this differs from human to human. Someone raised in a mud hut with only a garden and a few critters might not be so tied to his imagination as a musician.

Good point.

Interesting, I’ll have to reflect on that one for a bit as it’s quite entertaining.

In that case, I don’t see how ‘want’ and ‘desire’ are any different.

And by your definition, “want” is a need for affection. Everything is a need; everything is necessary?

To what end, seems to be the question our respective positions are not answering.

Your statement would read something like (from what I’m gathering):
Everything is necessary that is held by a self which desires it, as the fullest extent of that self is only had with all that is desired and held in it’s need of desire.

My statement would read something like:
Everything is necessary that keeps a life from dying; a self has an ego need of desire, but the id does require desire to keep the body alive.

In regards to Want, Need, Desire as words:
Definitions are typically circular; there just doesn’t appear to be a way around that.

Need is classed as a want, but I would strip that away since a plant doesn’t want anything; it simply needs sun and water to essentially survive.

I would probably be OK with wording my view on Need vs. Desire that way:
“Need: That which is essential to keeping physical life of a body in a constant state of alive.”

you’re redifining need.

in order to talk about need you have to explain what needs what, and why.

A desire is something that left un saited could end up causing trouble, or not.

A need is something that left un saited would cause a critical problem.

Aidan always used to think that avoiding pain was a need. Ironic since he existed in perpetual pain.

So far these have been identified:
need, want, desire, necessity.

That which is necessary is not the same to all - again the example of dying with honor as being of a higher necessity than living with humiliation. Also, to a heroin addict, extreme pleasure is of a higher necessity than the prospect of a long life.
Both of these priorities, which are somewhat unnatural if we go by the common understanding of what drives an organism, I attribute to desire. Desire for honor and desire for extreme pleasure versus need to stay alive.

A good number of old fables deal with the boy who was living blissful ignorance in his parents hut in a scarcely populated land, until a strange traveller came by one day and asked for hospitality. The guest then tells the boy a story of a far and wondrous land with houses on top of each other and many kinds of food and people. In the boy a desire is ignited. From then on, it is necessary for him to go and see this strange place.

As there is no physical need for the boy to leave his simple life, I seem desire and need as of a very different nature, originating from different sources and leading to different experiences. I would, for myself, go so far as to suggest that desire is our link to metaphysics. But that is a bridge too far now, and it is not a thought I had when I started this thread.

What I dare to suggest now that need is rooted in negative feelings, `if I don´t eat, I feel pain´ and desire in positive feelings, ´if I see this new place, Ill feel fantastic´. It is clear that the border isn´t a firm line, shoot heroin long enough and you´ll cultivate a need for it. Be in a city for long enough and you´ll suffer in your hut in the middel of nowhere. Likewise, a great meal can be a positive trigger. But it is the original motivation wherein the difference lies, I suspect.

I wonder about the Samurai, who have cultivated a need for honor. Following my own reasoning, this need must stem from a desire held by the first Samurai, or whoever it were that started the tradition of honor above life. I am interested in this desire. Honor is so different from the pleasurable sensations of sex, a drug induced high or the first visit to an awe inspiring place. Honor seems farther removed from need than pleasure. It is more akin to awe and wonder, and to name another object of desire: romantic love.

It can be much simpler than that. As you said different people have different desires, and the importance of things is sure to vary. Importance is subjective.

In order to define need, you have to define the context.

“need” does not exist alone. The sun doesn’t need to rise, what goes up doesn’t need to come down, and you don;t need to take another breath, because you don’t need to live.

The universe is very low maintenance.

In order to define a need, you have to define what the need is needed for.

In order to live, you need to continue breathing.

do you need to continue to live? not really, but you need to continue living if you want to play soccer next week.

I said that when a need goes un-saited it causes a critical problem. All you need is some sort of goal, plan or intention and you will be able to define your needs concerning that.

I think I understand what Unreasonable is getting at, providing he’s not just living up to his username… :wink:
To put it another way, need is general and desire is particular - so my need to eat food is particularised in my desire for steak in peppercorn sauce with french fries. The difference is thus one of degree rather than type. Granted it remains a semantic point, but it does suggest an important link between needs and desires that is perhaps dismissed by saying that desires are essentially unimportant.

Yes, I do. Regardless whether or not I define my needs, I have them.

It takes precisely all the energy there is to keep the universe into being. That’s as high maintenance as it gets.

Most human needs are to avoid suffering, I did cover that, if not very elaborate.

You simplify for the sake of simplifying, it seems. You are not writing about life, but about an abstraction of it that has no meaning to either of us. I am not interested in rhetorical answers, this is a genuine question. Why are things important to us? What is the difference between desire and need? How come desire can be more important than need?

The boy of the fable not seeing the city does not cause critical problems. Someone not having sex when he desires it doesn’t either. Even if his goal is to have sex, he can fail to reach that goal and not collapse. This does not go for not eating.

Good point, but I’m not sure it is valid.
Desire can be very general, and need particular. For example, there can be a need for a specific chemical to cure a disease. There can be a general desire for travel, for sex, or for new information.

Whoever says desires are unimportant must not have have any. The idea I’m playing with is that desire is actually of a ‘higher’ importance than need. Without desire, we would not procreate. There would be no new knowledge. Where need is the agent of sustenance, desire could be that of evolution.

Yes, I think you’re probably right there. Oh well…

Need is static, desire is dynamic? Clearly I’m of a mind for schematisation tonight!