Desire and irrational behavior a hard hitting write-up by Col P Chandra (Retd)

Col P Chandra (Retd)

(27/01/2018) Noida :
What is desire?
Why do some people behave and react irrationally? It is all due to “desire”. Desire is a strong feeling wherein the person wants to have something which he cherishes. It can be wealth, a position, and recognition in social set up, respect from people around him. The list is endless. Even taking revenge for a perceived wrongdoing can be a desire for many people. Desire is not only an individual trait. Some people cause pain to themselves due to personal attachment to a desire. A group of people may also have desire and may cling together if the desire is very strong. Various groups in a society, political parties and even fringe groups are an example of such group desire. We were born from desire and since then we are never without desire. In less “educated” people it may become a complex form of
addiction which results into destruction of rationale thinking and may even result into self destruction in extreme cases. On individual front some people never achieve the status they desired. But such people cannot connect this cause to the effect. When a person is unable or incapable of fulfilling his desire he may get frustrated, angry, abusive and aggressive. Some people may have such a personality (temperament and behavioral profile) that they are prone to feeling frustrated when desires are not fulfilled. Some people always bias their attitude in the negative direction. But personal expectations and reality of life are two different things. The second may not support the first.
The Problem of Desire
Desire gives our life a direction and meaning. There are always competing choices available. Sometimes individual desire comes into conflict with other desires. Problem arises when you desire to control other peoples’ desire. Desire, if taken beyond a limit, is destroyer of knowledge and self realization. Healthy desire never steals – it feels, kneels and heals. Now it is up to us as to what do we desire and in which direction we want to take our individual destiny. So we should try to develop insight into nature of our individual desires. It will help us to disengage from unwanted desires which may be consuming our personalities.
Desire and Frustration
When a person does not get what he wants intensely then he feels miserable. When a person faces opposition he feels frustrated. Frustration leads to anger and disappointment. He may attribute his frustration to someone else or to some other causes. He does not realize that he is feeling frustrated and miserable due to his own desire. The person has to identify the cause of his misery. For example
an alcoholic may think that his misery is due to not getting alcohol. So he will spend his energy trying to get it. But once he realizes that his misery is due to having the desire for alcohol, he will try to break free from that desire. Frustration may be due to internal causes or external causes. Internal frustration
is caused when our needs, personal goals and desires are not fulfilled. Social conflict is also a cause of internal frustration.
External causes of frustration are beyond control of an individual or a group of individuals. A difficult task or an undue desire & expectation are an example of external causes of frustration. Such a person is always under psychological stress and his internal psychological consistency is disturbed. Such people try to justify their stressful behaviour by inventing causes.
Irrational behaviour due to personal rule books
Some of us create our own rule book. Some of us tend to surround ourselves with other people who have same kind of rule book. When 10 odd such people gather together the belief becomes stronger that only my rule book is correct. Recent example is violent demonstration over the film Padmavat. But conflict arises in such a group when others do not agree with only one kind of rule book. Many of
us tend to believe that their rules are right and that the other people should do it their way. Basis of most of the conflicts can be traced to the fact that we believe that other people should change and should follow my rule book. The majority of anger and frustration that we experience in our society today occurs as a reaction when we find that someone is not playing by our rules. Personal rule books are
just your perspective and your preferences. Nothing more!! We live in a multi polar society with great diversity. There is no personal universal rule book except the Constitution of India.
Each of us should realize that it isn’t personal when someone doesn’t play by your rules. That person or group is simply exercising the right to play by their own rules. If someone else is doing things in a different way it does not invalidate your way of doing things. We should be clear that we control very little about other peoples’ belief and way of living. We cannot control other peoples’ thought,
philosophy and actions.
Here our education and upbringing comes into play. Education is ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self esteem or your self confidence. Education teaches a person to make rational choices in lie.
Upbringing defines our cognitive behavior.

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