We use the term „desire” to describe an inner drive that can provide strength and orientation. We experience acting in harmony with our desire as enjoyable, we feel „electrified,” we dare to push our own limits, are enthusiastic, feel alive, have a sense of tailwinds for our projects, and believe that our endeavors are meaningful.
There are many notions of desire, but none of them captures all aspects. In religious contexts, terms like „soul” and „Holy Spirit” are used, in the context of psychotherapy we find concepts such as „libido,” „hunger for meaning,” or „self-actualization.”
We should distinguish desire from need: both terms share their expression in wishing and wanting. But while a need ensures that we provide the means for living and surviving to ensure that we do not starve or freeze, desire means longing for „more,” giving meaning to the fact of being in the world. Although there can be an „enough“ concerning the satisfaction of needs, desire always refers to „more,” to abundance.
Desire is a personal impulse by which people differ from one another. But since people are also part of the world, every personal desire reflects at the same time a direction in which the world is developing. Thus, desire makes certain issues and things attractive. It makes us trust and give authority to certain persons because we feel that their desire runs in a similar direction to ours. In interaction with these persons, and all the things in the world, one can find a standard for action and a suitable way to bring one’s desire into the world.
From time to time desire is confused with specific issues that we hold on to even when desire has long dissipated, rendering our actions powerless. Some projects of the women’s movement experienced this, when goals were no longer pursued with real commitment, but out of a sense of duty.
In these cases, to stay on the trail of one’s own desire and to regain a good life, it is necessary to pause for thought and resume the search for desire; to let go of the old and take on the risk of the new. Quite often this will lead to conflict and requires painful disengagement processes or causes a loss of belonging. As desire is intangible, there may come phases in life where we may be out of touch with our desire.
We think, there is no negative version of desire. However, it can happen that desire becomes associated with specific topics and goals that can end up causing harm to a fruitful form of cohabitation.