Shades of Desire

“The more we know about the kaleidoscopic worlds of desire the more we are likely to be able to make satisfying choices. Desires range from split-second spasms to lifelong intentions. Some desires lead to action; others linger or wear themselves out in fantasy. Imagine a scale of desire. The weakest desires are fleeting wishes, such as: ‘I wish I could fly, change sexes for a week, eat chocolate every day . . . .’ Wants are one degree stronger than wishes: ‘I really want to have a baby, write a book, learn to ski.” Willing and deciding are manifestations of even stronger desires: ‘I probably won’t become President but I will write a book.’ Action is the final stage in the realization of desire: ‘I decide to write and am typing this paragraph.’ There is no reason to assume that all desires must end in action, but it is helpful to know which of our wishes to ripen into wants, which wants to deepen into decisions, and which decisions to finally actualize.” Sam Keen