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Ivy's avatar

Is there a difference between hope and desire?

Asked by Ivy (2479points) July 7th, 2010

Christianity teaches to hope all things. Buddhism teaches that desire is at the heart of suffering. So is there a difference between hope and desire?

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20 Answers

CMaz's avatar

You hope that your desires come true.

ChaoSS's avatar

Hope is something that you just wish would come true because you know its almost impossible for you to do.

Desire is something you will get because you really, really want it.

My two cents.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, hope is passive, desire is a motivator.

To desire is not the problem…it is unfulfilled desire that causes suffering.

It’s okay to want, to desire, but it is in the non-attachment of fulfillment that liberation lies.

It’s okay if you get it, it’s okay if don’t.

This is where the ‘enlightend’ part ways with those still attached to outcome.

In an enlightened state of being one can play with the world of form but their happiness and identity is not built on acheivement or attainment to anything that fosters a strengtening of self based on transient desires.

marinelife's avatar

Hope is an emotion that carries us through dark times; that buoys us up when we would otherwise go under.

Desire is self-based.

LostInParadise's avatar

Desire is tied more closely to physical feelings, like a desire for food or sleep.

Cruiser's avatar

You hope for what you desire, and you desire what you hope for. Hope though is the catalyst for taking a course of action to achieve what you desire. Without hope and a realistic course of action, a desire is then but a dream.

Spider's avatar

It can be the same thing, or it can be different – it depends on how you use them.

If I hope that I have smooth traffic on my way into work in the morning, but I’m disappointed when there’s a backup, hope is the same as desire, and my attachment to a certain outcome causes suffering.

If I hope that my Mother recovers well from heart surgery, my desire for her general well-being results from basic compassion, and any suffering would be in the form of empathy and care unrelated to an attachment to an outcome.

Perhaps a more helpful examination would be to compare hope and faith.

@Coloma GA!

Herolegion's avatar

In my view, Hope is something you lie to or console yourself with if you’re unable or unwilling to do or get a certain thing.
Desire is either hope mixed with lots of frustration that you wish will come true or willingness or resolve to make your wish come true.

liminal's avatar

Hope is an expectant waiting for something certain and not a wanting. It is a trusting.
(which is what the greek suggests see I Cor 13:7 so does merriam-webster). I hope for my partners return from work at the end of the day.

Desire is a strong wanting or wishing to obtain something (which when referred to as the root of suffering is often called Taṇhā ) I desire the perfect piece of chocolate.

I like what Coloma states, except that I think hope is active. Sometimes I think desire gets a negative reputation. It can be the very fuel that moves us forward in life towards justice and peace. It is the dogmatic tying of desire to possession that causes desire to be toxic.

Seek's avatar

I hope to lose ten pounds. I desire the brownies I know I can have ready in an hour.

I think the Buddhists are right on this one. ^_^

Marva's avatar

Agreed with @Coloma. with nuance:
There is somewhat of a vicitmazation in hope in the passive way, when I hope for something I wish to happen, to happen to me, I sort of leave it to greater forces in a sort of helplessness, it is not up to me. When I desire something to happen, I work on my own without letting greater forces to lead me to my right place in life.

I chose wanting: I admit my will, and let it go. I keep it my mind, without insisting it is the right thing for me, and see what happens over time: if an opportunity arrives, I take it, as long as it doesn’t, I go on with my life. This way I am not a victim nor an over-achiever.

LostInParadise's avatar

I take the opposite view. Desire is passive. Desire for food or sex is not something we choose. An addict desires drugs. Hope is something we choose to wish to happen. I hope for peace.

sharpstick's avatar

Hope is future looking, usually about things out of our control. – I hope the economy improves before I sell my house. Desire is more immediate and usually involves things within our ability to control. – I desire sweets. They can be present in the same impulse. I desire the beautiful model in the magazine, and I hope that she would talk to me if we met. Hope can also be more cerebral, desire more instinctual.

Coloma's avatar

Base desire for base needs, food, water, shelter, air, is not the same thing as desire for stuff, recognition, status, success, which are ‘things’ that bolster egos need to be seen as special or better than.

All of the above can still be enjoyed as long as it is felt, understood, that these things are not to be over identified with as the core of ones self and self worth.

I enjoy my lifestyle but am fully prepared to lose it all, and while I might not be able to say I would be happy, I also would not end up committing suicide over loss of stuff or status. lol

You can always tell the ones that have become overly identifed with a particular status or way of life, if they lose it, they often do become suicidal, have nervous breakdowns, as they built their entire identity around a job, relationship, there physical looks, athleticism etc.

When the whatever goes, and it always does, sooner or later, they fall apart as they lose their sense of self along with the material or physical or emotional losses.

Yes, hope is cerebral…meaning it is nothing more than a thought form.

Hope is a wish.

PoiPoi's avatar

Hope is that against all odds, there’s the slight chance something good might happen if you believe it can be. Desire is the insatiable appetite of the body, only to pleasure it and give nothing in return.

Jellybean9's avatar

We as people need hope to grasp onto tomorrow.We as people also need desire to make sure tommorow comes.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

I like the Derrick Jensen’s take on hope: “hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.”

For example, you might desire to have tacos for dinner. In your desire, you could decide that would will make or buy tacos. Or, you can hope that the person who cooks for you will provide you with tacos. When you say you hope for something, you are either admitting you have no control over what you hope for, or at least you believe that to be the case.

FR07en's avatar

Yes, “hope,” I agree with those that stated it here, is the intangible intrigue in one’s wishful dreams or otherwise baseless desires, while “desire,” itself is also a want, perhaps as intriguing, but with a base of commitment, that when coupled with intent, allows one to take control, thereby giving better chance to fulfill the desire, leaving only hope to carry on, wishing to be as fulfilled, or with luck, to have found it so, eventually. So, “hope” is to “desire” as “wish” is to “want.”

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Myekell's avatar

Hope is a desire coupled with expectation. One that is stranded on a desert island desires freedom from his or her circumstances. But unless there is some expectation that the desire can be fulfilled there is no hope. However, if he or she sees the light of a ship on the horizon the desire then turns to hope because there is some expectation of fulfillment of the desire.

The Christian has the desire to be saved from coming destruction. By accepting Jesus as his or her Savior the desire now is coupled with expectation. Desire now turns to hope—the desire will be fulfilled.

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