Most of us have an incredibly complex relationship with Desire.
We come into this world as hedonists; pleasure- and comfort-seeking, pain- and discomfort-averse. Soon, however, our education in overriding and subjugating our desires begins. As toddlers, we get the lesson that just because we want that twenty-foot blue gorilla doesn’t mean we get it. And if you’ve ever been around a two-year old as they are learning this hard lesson, they are pretty pissed off about it and really want you to know. “I want what I want when I want it” could be their mantra. A trip to the grocery store with the under-ten crowd is a solid reminder that children are completely aware of their desires and aversions.
With further socialization, us human-types realize that the attention we receive when kicking and screaming maybe not the attention we’d like to get. We learn to accept not getting what we want all the time. We’re taught to ignore basic body desires like peeing or hungry, instead synchronizing our desires with the correct time for those on the elementary classroom clock. Mid-morning bathroom break for all kindergarteners: this is when you have to pee. 12:30 Lunch time for the fifth grade: be hungry now. Tick. Tick. Tick.
This body training begins the process of moving us away from our authentic desire. Ironically (or not,) as we start to move away from our organic desire, the $255 billion ad industry begins to feed us a steady diet of easily fulfilled-through-three-low-payments-of-$19.99 desire. Our desires are policed not only by what we are taught as socially sanctioned behavior, and adherence to a timetable and our parents’ control, but also by a mega-industry that exists for the sole purpose of making us hungry, of creating false desire within us. We are offered a devil’s deal: quick, constant and cheap fulfillment of desire in exchange for real, (and perhaps delayed) deeply satsifying satiation.
Example #1: In order to fulfill our desire for human touch, we can trade the felicitous (yet inconstant and ephemeral) satiation of a parent’s hug for the ever-present satisfying touch of a teddy bear, featuring a recorded echo of our absent mother’s heartbeat.
Example #2: We have an innate desire to explore the natural world. Hunger to witness the wonder of the starry night sky and full moon is fulfilled not with a camping trip outdoors, but with Uncle Milton’s “Stars in My Room.” Companies like Baby Einstein and LeapFrog Learning capitalize on exposing children to natural patterns and rhythms that were once learned outside.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, average children view 40,000 ads each year. That’s a whole lotta being told what you want! Is it surprising that we find it so hard to access our authentic Desire, when we’ve been force-fed our own desire for years??
Relearning authentic desire is a process. My deep belief is that we do know what we really want and need, but must remember and relearn listening deeply for the truest voice of our Desire.
Tomorrow I’ll be writing more about finding authentic desire within, and how to regain the absolute knowing we had as babies. Until then, check out this worksheet on Finding your Desire http://www.emancipating-sexuality.com/resources.html that I created this morning. Yeah, I’m a teacher, here’s your homo-work. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
- To learn, unlearn & relearn (sharedtracks.wordpress.com)
- Children, Adolescents and Advertising (American Academy of Pediatrics)