Tag: desire

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Another post on my recent book projects. Nerds Scholars have engaged in a lively debate for about 1.3 centuries about the nature of Augustine’s conversion to Christianity in 386 AD and the Christian character of his early writings. I have a recently published article in the area, overviewing the debate: “The Role of Platonism in […]

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I heard from the publisher today and got a look at the book cover they’ve chosen for The Conversion and Therapy of Desire. I’m not sure where the flowery background idea came from, but I’m not complaining. (And it’s growing on me.) My idea would have been to find some old public domain painting of […]

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After announcing a little book on Augustine, introducing its (very important) topic of desire, and explaining my view of Augustine’s relation to Platonism, it’s time to say a few words on the contents of the book. Why am I doing this? Here are some reasons. 1. This topic is, in its own nerdy way, kind of important. […]

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On Desire

 

shutterstock_298189988Let’s talk for a moment about life, the universe and everything. I don’t know any question about life, the universe, and everything to which the answer is definitely Forty-Two (see Douglas Adams), but I can tell you what some of the best questions are: Why aren’t we as happy as we want to be? How can we become happy?

So what about the answers? Well, these questions motivated millenia of philosophy, and a good bit of religion, too. A lot of interesting answers have been given, at least as far back as Buddha and as recently as C. S. Lewis. A lot of the big philosophers (Buddhists, Stoics, Epicureans, Platonists, Christians medievals, Descartes, Bacon, Lewis) have agreed on the problem: Our desires don’t fit the world. We desire more than this world has to offer. We desire what we can’t have — or what we can have but can’t keep — and we end up losing what we love, or fearing its loss.

There are two general strategies available to fix that problem: 1) We change what we want, so that we want what we can have; or 2) We change the world, so that we can have what we want.