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OfflineTinTree
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Desire & the Abolition of it
    #3326746 - 11/06/04 04:55 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I had a debate in ethics class while discussing Stoicism about whether your desires are under your control (i.e. it is possible to cause yourself to not have that desire, not merely supress it). My argument for was the fact that at that moment I did not want a cigarette... I was addicted to cigarettes for some time... so obviously I must have changed my desire, albeit indirectly.

What do you think? Can you control your desires? Or is this merely suppression, and the desire is still present? The Buddhist in me says desires can be controlled and ultimately abolished by defeating the habits and thoughts that give rise to them. Stoics, too, I believe, would say that desires are internal and under your control, but I think most modern psychology disagrees...


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OfflinePedM
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: TinTree]
    #3327259 - 11/06/04 12:19 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Of course we can manipulate our desires without suppressing them. All we must do is concentrate on our motivation, and our reasoning behind the wish to be rid of a certain desire. We need to focus on the harmful effects of what we desire, and on the benefits of an alternative. Although we like to conceive of ourselves as the kings of animal intelligence, our minds resemble those of dogs in the way we move from object to object seeking pleasure and satisfaction, with only a narrow awareness of our actions and their effects. Like a dog, though, the mind can be tamed and trained to laser-like precision.

Take the example of a person's craving for fatty foods. Everybody knows that fatty foods pollute the body. If we want to eliminate our desire for fatty foods, we can concentrate on the terrible effects they have on our health. We can imagine our blood vessles filled with garbage, a black sludge like sewage. We can imagine the crust on our arteries, in our brains. We can see ourselves in the hospital with a stroke or a hemmorhage. If we can focus on these images singlepointedly, it won't be long before our desire for fatty foods will be replaced with aversion. We can then purify our aversion by recognizing and accepting our mistaken eating habits, and move on with our lives from there. Cravings will occassionaly persist, but if we maintain our resolve they will disappear completely.

It is important to recognize that we are not the same as our desires. At present, we are led into painful situations chasing the things we desire while fleeing the things we have aversion to. When we arrive at that suffering, it is our tendency to sabotage ourselves with blame and self-criticism. We think "Oh, I am overweight because I crave fatty foods", as though 'overweight' were our name and 'crave fatty foods' were our primary function in that moment. We assume these things as our identity, and therefore condemn ourselves to an ongoing cycle of destructive behaviour. It's much more realistic, however, to view our excess weight as just one symptom of a sickness which affects our entire being. We do not associate our identity with the flu for obvious reasons: it is a temporary affliction which can be overcome. Why should we associate our identity with our destructive habits? They too are temporary afflictions which can be uprooted.

Before we can take any action to bring an end to our destructive habits, we learn to regard them as a sickness afflicting our being, and not a fault inherent in our selves.

In the case of physical addiction, however, when there is an experience of withdrawal (such as in quitting smoking), it might be helpful to pursue a remedy such as gum or the patch in addition to training the mind. Withdrawal pains can interrupt our concentration and undermine effort to train the mind.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: TinTree]
    #3327274 - 11/06/04 12:28 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Desire is an egoic motion. We are not our egos and minds and with this realization comes the freedom from desire; yet if someone identifies with their ego, they will take the desires that arise out of their egoic minds to be who they are. They will use the word "I" in their statements of desire as if they ARE their desires. "_I_ desire a supreme superior ultimate godly banana split piled with mountains of fancy whip cream piled with maraschino cherries, pistachio nuts and some claussen pickles drowned in thick oozing chocolate syrup and showered with rainbow colored sprinkles."

Someone call the ambulance..



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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: Ped]
    #3327810 - 11/06/04 04:02 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

If we want to eliminate our desire for fatty foods, we can concentrate on the terrible effects they have on our health. We can imagine our blood vessles filled with garbage, a black sludge like sewage. We can imagine the crust on our arteries, in our brains. We can see ourselves in the hospital with a stroke or a hemmorhage. If we can focus on these images singlepointedly, it won't be long before our desire for fatty foods will be replaced with aversion.

At this point we can shift to sugary foods then picture diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. Oops! Now we can desire high-protein foods. Excessive protein leads to higher uric acid production and possible kidney damage or the formation of stones. Most protein is meat-based which comes from hormone-injected animals and is cooked, both of which contribute to the likelihood of cancer. And animal protein has no fiber which can lead to all sorts of digestive disorders.

At this point the reader will get into fasting and anorexia which leads to a whole 'nother set of problems.

Aw fuck it! *Swami grabs a coke, Big Mac and fries.*


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OfflinePedM
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: Swami]
    #3328404 - 11/06/04 08:04 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

What you're ignoring, Swami, is the motivation to stop eating excessively fatty foods. It is to keep our body healthy. Shifting to sugary foods, excessively-high protein foods, anorexia and so forth does not fit with that motivation.

A psychological addiction to fatty foods was implied, and the method I suggested is a workable means to overcome it. It supports the idea that our desires can be uprooted without engaging in repressive thinking.


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InvisibleNariusFractal
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: Ped]
    #3328430 - 11/06/04 08:15 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

yah, an intelligent person would see that a diet high in fatty foods was bad, and that a diet high in proteins only was bad. This may lead the person to understand what a healthy balanced diet consisted of.

By reading and studying the research of litereally hundreads of thousands of peoples prior to your existence, you can find out what a healthy diet consists of and make choices to pursue such a thing.


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OfflineGomp
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Re: Desire & the Abolition of it [Re: NariusFractal]
    #3328436 - 11/06/04 08:18 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

""Desire & the Abolition of it ""

is not Abolition of Desire, just another form of Desire? :P


"desires is a form of change travel, desire to desires and you get stuck"
-unknown :P


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Disclaimer!?


Edited by Gomp (11/06/04 08:22 PM)


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