Sunday, October 31, 2010

No desire has ever been fulfilled for anyone

Our desires as living organisms accomplish absolutely nothing; their continued reintroduction into the environment, therefore, only drives the problem of sentience into perpetuity. Here's why:

Imagine having a swimming pool in your backyard that you fill at the start of the summer. On the first day, you go swimming for a few hours and have a lot of fun. At the start of the next day, however, you go outside to realize that the pool is, once again, empty. So you fill it again and have a great time for a second day in a row, though you're also wondering what could have possibly happened to the original water content with which you'd filled the pool the day before.

Upon waking on the third day, guess what? The pool is empty again. You have to get out the hose, the chlorine -- everything involved in keeping the pool clean and temperate. You do this laboriously, but when all of the hard work is done, you only have an hour to actually go swimming, meaning that most of the day was spent preparing yourself for the fulfillment of your desire instead of actually fulfilling it. "The preparation, the process of getting to the point of being able to swim, is also fun," you rationalize to yourself. "The work involved is what makes it all worth it."

This goes on for two weeks. At the start of every day, you have to fill the pool all over again, and this consumes the vast majority of time dedicated to your pool-related activities. Are you accomplishing something? Are you solving the problem of there being no water in the pool? No, but the renewed problem, to your psychology, is a good thing, because it gives you something to solve every day. Unlike in other areas of your life, where solving a problem is perceived as a good thing, the renewal of this problem seems to justify itself based on the intensity of your desire to go swimming. After all, you feel like swimming matters, so it must, right?

But wait! You don't just have one desire. No, you have a multitude of them: cars to keep clean, computers to maintain. Now, every morning, in addition to an empty pool, you're also presented with a car completely covered in mud and a computer without Internet access. Every day, not only do you have to fill up the pool, you also have to wash off the mud and call your ISP. It happens every day, and despite all your efforts, none of these problems is ever solved.

Eventually, you get tired of putting up with it all, so you decide to ignore the pool for a few weeks. "It can stay empty for a little while, I'm sure," you say to yourself. But then, something happens: the deprivation created by the lack of water in the pool causes you to contract AIDS. You've been punished for ignoring the problem!

Are any of the above any different from eating, sleeping, having sex, obtaining money, or enjoying so-called fun experiences? Once we satisfy our deprivations, do they ever go away, or do they come back as strong as ever in a relatively short amount of time? If it's all in good fun, then why are we punished so powerfully for ignoring the deprivations as they deepen? Why is the chase sane or logical? Why would we impose it on a new generation, other than to satisfy our egos?

1 comment:

  1. What's that? I'm sorry, I was too busy satisfying my ego to listen to your stupid fucking metaphor.