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Capt_Bloth's avatar

Do you have more desire than restraint?

Asked by Capt_Bloth (2703points) October 29th, 2009

It seems like a central part of becoming civilized, and religion for that matter, is abstaining from our base desires.
We all have urges that we don’t act upon, it allows us to function as a society.
I feel like giving in to my want’s in life is how I truly experience life, but I also wish I had more self control. How do you feel? Are you in control of yourself or ruled by your desires?

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24 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I’ve wavered back and forth. Self control seems to be a lost art.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do have more desire than restraint but that is a choice, not an inevitability in my life…I choose to not restrain by desires as much as possible and I do not connect this to religion though I lack (well I wouldn’t say I lack it) one and that’s all good and civilized by me, thank you very much…I never thought being ruled by one’s desires was a problem…it all depends on the desires and what are the ways that you, in particular, are ruled by yours

Facade's avatar

Since I’m not in jail, a slut, or thousands of dollars in debt, I believe I have much restraint over my desires.

nxknxk's avatar

Something in this question reminds of Beowulf… self-mastery… temperance… and those moments in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight when Gawain must resist the advances of the women in the castle. In those Ciceronian senses it’s a lost art, like @NaturalMineralWater said.

I think I have a lot of negative self-control; that is, I can prevent myself from doing something easily enough.

What I lack is positive self-control; I can rarely force myself to do something I know I should (write more, read more, go to class more). It’s only a little different than self-motivation.

Clair's avatar

I don’t think these two should be categorized apart from each other. You can have both and still be fulfilled. You can truly enjoy life while being in control of yourself. I would actually think you couldn’t enjoy life while not being in control.
Maybe I don’t understand the question.

syz's avatar

My restraint is not always what I would like it to be. But for the most part, it seems to be adequate in the important matters.

sarahny's avatar

I now have restraint over my desires….I haven’t always though.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That’s a bit of a broad question. People have desires that are greater than restraint when it comes to some situations, vice versa in others.
Then there are the situations where people have neither because they just don’t care.

efritz's avatar

That’s interesting, because I think that restraint is a natural state for me, whereas I have to push myself to follow my desires. For instance – I’d really like to go bungee-jumping, but I can’t because I don’t have the courage. Or, I’d like to eat that piece of chocolate cake, but I’m afraid I’ll get fat.

ninjacolin's avatar

neither exists, in my opinion. you will do what you want and you won’t do everything else.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

I am in control of my desires. If I wasn’t, you could probably find me by following the trail of dead bodies.

Seriously though, I used to have trouble with restraining my desires, mostly when I was younger. Then a few ‘close calls’ brought me to the understanding that if I want to remain a free man, I need to control my impulses, and to find other ways to release the pressure.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve had a tough time restraining myself, lately. Perhaps I’m too hard on myself (yeah, like that’s new). One slip, and I’m really getting on my own case. Usually, I have restrained myself. What’s hard for me to understand is how the changes in brain chemistry have made it possible for my desires to have more power than they used to.

ninjacolin's avatar

see? @Psychedelic_Zebra used to want to do crazy stuff and now he wants to avoid them. our memories and experience determine how our current life “ought” to be lived.

ninjacolin's avatar

and you @daloon, simply want different things than you used to.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@daloon changes in my brain chemistry made me take a random thought and turn it into an actual impulse back in February. If I had been two seconds faster, (damn slow reaction speed) I wouldn’t be here typing at you, I’d be wherever my family saw fit to put my physical remains, and there would be a truck driver out there with something horrible to live with the rest of his life.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

@efritz Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of thing that I would like to do, but can’t muster the courage. But I did some stupid things when I was younger, and frankly, I’m surprised that I’m alive and not in jail. As I look at my life now, I realize that I still do plenty of stupid things.
I know when I’m doing something dangerous, or stupid (usually both), but I decide that the satisfaction of the end result is worth it to me at the time.
@The_Compassionate_Heretic Perhaps the discussion is a bit broad, but I didn’t want any examples I gave to pigeon-hole the discussion. I was mostly curious if people felt in control of their actions, or at the whim of their impulses.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I’m known for giving into my desires. Usually is causes a lot of problems though, so when possible, I try to restrain myself.

rooeytoo's avatar

When I was young, it was a lot more difficult to exercise restraint, desire often took over. As I have grown older either I have become too lazy to get myself into trouble, or too smart to get caught or maybe exercising restraint gets easier with practice.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe your question is based on a mistake in your philosophy. The idea of a more civilized human is not more restraint, but merely a re-programming of our basic drives. Instead of deriving pleasure from eating too much, we will derive pleasure from having healthy bodies, instead of fighting, we will learn to put the same amount of energy into the enrichment of our fellow man.

There is no need to develop more restraint when our energies are directed to the advancement of society.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

@YARNLADY Ah but what of lent, and chastity. Who benefits?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Capt_Bloth I have no idea what you mean by lent and chastity. What do those two things have to do with the enrichment of humanity or civilization?

prude's avatar

more desire, yes

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

No because I can’t afford the consequences of some of them and I feel fortunate I have always known and accepted this.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

@YARNLADY what do you not understand? I’m addressing the part of the question you didn’t answer, religion. Lent and chastity are examples of things we sacrifice without any benifit to ourselves. The entire idea of sacrifice is giving up something you would rather not. Thank you for answering, but you have missed my point completely.

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