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Desires, minds and actions

Viewed 628 times 2017-11-8 14:05 |System category:Life| craving, mind, media, action

I had written in one of my article that modern society witnesses remarkable achievements in all fields but it also breeds laziness and greed. However, after I had read A Brief History of Humankind, the question- is modern society the real source of all our desires- lingers in my mind.


Media and desires


The more information we get access to, the more unsatisfied we will become. With the advent of all high technologies, we can know things not only around us, but also around the globe. Social media, for example, is one of the best-liked platforms where we get and at the same time share all kinds of information. However, it is not merely a platform. It is more like a vicious trap to me. Think about how many times we complain about the boredom of life, and how many times we turn to social media such as Wechat, Microblog, Ins etc., when we are moaning and groaning about the monotony of life. Life there is much more diverse and colorful. We can see plenty of ‘successful’ people sharing their life stories and seemingly happy lives there, famous stars promoting their image by posting photos of their charming face and body or photos of doing charities, and cyber celebrities showing off their wealth and hard-to-tell natural or fake beauty. Even when we browse our friends’ circle, all we can see is happiness and fulfilment. Nobody wants to expose his or her shortcomings or misery in front of others. We all want to get others’ attention and be welcomed by them. Although, for a very long time, self-mockery went virus online. But do not neglect the purpose behind self-mockery, it is always to gain popularity and win ‘friends’. But life is not always happy. Compared with others’ happy and adventurous lives, our normal lives seem rather too normal. Of course, different people may have totally different attitudes towards it. In contrast to others’ success, pessimists’ failure may stand out, get their full attention and eventually block their view. Whereas for optimists, others’ success is a great example and would serve as the driving force in their lives.


Different as people’s opinions may be, one thing we have to admit is that it stimulates our dissatisfaction towards our lives whether positive or negative. Here comes another prominent example -- advertisements. According to psychology, being exposed to a repeated message for a long time, we are more likely to believe in it. And whether you remember the message or not, it will have cannot-be-underestimated effects on our attitudes. Businesses take advantage of this theory and hype up their products and services using a variety of advertisements. Wherever we are, we cannot avoid seeing those ads. I won’t deny the merits advertisements have. But they do intensity our existing desires and elicit new desires. I don’t think there exists anyone who has never been lured by the ads and bought something that he or she did not need.

Desires and minds


I am not blaming the media of course, though I used to think that media is the one to blame. Having read the book A Brief History of Humankind, I found something else important and easily ignored. Our minds matter a lot. It is written in the book that our mind usually reacts with craving, and craving always involves dissatisfaction. When the minds experience something distasteful, it craves to be rid of the irritation. When the minds experiences something pleasant, it craves that the pleasure will remain and intensify. Therefore the mind is always dissatisfied and restless. For example, people dream for years about finding love but are rarely satisfied when they find it. Some become anxious that their partner will leave; others feel that they have settled cheaply and could find someone better.


(Btw: I want to mention one interesting thing I learned from psychology that when experiencing something unpleasant, we forget major negative event like disabilities, breakups and test failures much quicker and easier than minor irritations, due to the fact that major negative events would activate psychological immune system.)


Minds and actions


It is difficult to resist the charm of all sorts of temptations. Some of the desires are like viruses. Once they begin to live inside host’s body, they will multiply and spread fast, occasionally weakening the hosts and sometimes killing the hosts. They are very difficult to get rid of. They lead to actions that are out of control.

Changing our minds is much easier than changing our behavior.


Getting rid of bad habits requires determination, persistence and diligence. The only thing most people possess is determination and unfortunately it is not strong enough. For the whole time in my life, I have never had strong will. I’ve made plenty of plans, most of which were done in vain and haven’t been finished until now. Though time flies, all those plans still stay there. I’m still lingering around the beginning of the path, never getting any close to the end. That’s why, to some extent, I am a loser in life. The thing is much as I know about importance of completing my plans, it is still hard to take actions and persist. I had learned that persistence can be enhanced and gained through constant practice, however even constant practice needs persistence as well.


LOL. Am I doomed to be a loser? 


the history of humankind

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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