Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Three headed brute

This excerpt from Alexander Maclaren is well done on the futility of "desire".
...Nothing is more certain than that no one will get the satisfaction that his ruling passions promise him, by indulging them. It is very plain that the way never to get what you need and desire, is always to do what you like.
And that for very plain reasons. Because, for one thing, the object only satisfies for a time. Yesterday's food appeased our hunger for the day, but we awake hungry again. And the desires which are not so purely animal have the same characteristic of being stilled for the moment, and of waking more ravenous than ever. "He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again." Because, further, the desire grows and the object of it does not. The fierce longing increases, and, of course, the power of the thing that we pursue to satisfy it decreases in the same proportion. It is a fixed quantity; the appetite is indefinitely expansible.
And so, the longer I go on feeding my desire, the more I long for the food; and the more I long for it, the less taste it has when I get it. It must be more strongly spiced to titillate a jaded palate. And there soon comes to be an end of the possibilities in that direction. A man scarcely tastes his brandy, and has little pleasure in drinking it, but he cannot do without it, and so he gulps it down in bigger and bigger draughts till delirium tremens comes in to finish it. Because, for another thing, after all, these desires are each but a fragment of whole nature, and when one is satisfied another is baying to be fed. The grim brute, like the watchdog of the old mythology, has three heads, and each gaping for honey cakes. And if they were all gorged, there are other longings in men's nature that will not let them rest, and for which all the leeks and onions of Egypt are not food. So long as these are unmet, you "spend your money for that which is not bread, and you labor for that which satisfieth not."
So, we may lay it down as a universal truth, that whoever takes it for his law to do as he likes will not for long like what he does."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And it's more than sex, money, drugs and even food. It's knowledge, love, and seemingly everything we hold onto... scary. Let go, let God. Not easy tasks. -Matt