Our web of ten desires that drive us, Hugh Mackay (2010)
Scanning recent headlines reveals deepening global conflicts: What China wants?, Lessons of Ferguson, Ukraine's rebel war, Israel loses support pummelling Gaza, as well as locally in Australia: Catholic Church failed to act: Royal Commission, Treasurer claims poor people drive less, and Tax rise threats from stalled Budget.
What is happening? What do such stories reveal to us socially?
What are future implications?
These shifting debates recalled the extensive Australian social research of Hugh Mackay (2010), published as ”What makes us tick:? The ten desires that drive us”. He studies our social drives and depicts ten desires as an intertwined web which shapes our identity, beyond basic survival needs of food, water and shelter. Each of them overlap the others in competition to drive us socially, rather than purely rationally, as often we are unaware of them. The balance shifts over time and from experiences and interactions with others. Mackay explained each desire as neither inherently good nor bad. Unrestrained or excessive in particular desire(s) can lead to issues. More critically, he observed that unfulfilled or repressed desires may drive deep emotional frustrations in either individuals, groups or nations. This shadow of unfilled desire in ourselves can lead us to want desires to be frustrated in others as well. It explains Mackay’s research that a desire to be taken seriously has greatest impact.
The desire to be taken seriously is the desire to be acknowledged as unique individuals, beyond a categories. It is the desire to be heard, understood and remembered. When it is frustrated, it leads to disappointment or anger. And, it can be seen as the ultimate insult to be ignored or dismissed, leading to feelings of rage, hurt or anger, from those experiencing racism, tribalism or sexism, for example. Who is silenced? How may surpressed feelings emerge or erupt in the future? Alternate responses to not being taken seriously is over-compensation with vanity, arrogance, hubris or narcissism. How may our futures be influenced taking others seriously? Deep listening can engage others, in order that they engage and accept us in turn. Listening as a critical choice...
The desire for “my place” can be where one lives, feels at home, one’s history or smaller, temporary spaces or routines. Threats and other fears can lead to territorialism or becoming obsessed with security. How can comfort and security of place influence future choice? Noticing or attending to place, can open and enable options.
The desire for something to believe in encompasses religions, atheism, tribalism, even awareness movements. Beliefs need reinforcement to endure. Fundamentalism arises and is strengthened if our beliefs are under attack, How may futures be driven by beliefs? Through listening and engaging, or deeply held debating or attacking?
The desire to connect can be to know thyself. Or about connecting with each other, connecting online, or connecting with nature, meditation or mindfulness. Connections promote freedom and expression. And, if the desire to connect is repressed, our desires for control or to be taken seriously may expand to fill the void... How does being connected or being isolated affect our future potentials?
The desire to be useful can be altruistic, making contributions towards a better world, being helpful, contributing, doing meaningful work. Taken to its extreme, being useful can be perceived as knowing better than others themselves. How may our futures be realised, if we know what is best for you?
The desire to belong identifies us with our herd of 7-8 close friends. Or to larger, noisier, more public tribes linked by sport, religion, language, consumption. Our desire to belong may drive mindless compliance and conformity. Which herd or tribe drives our future choices?
The desire for more is often the shadow of other blocked desires. More leads us to seek stimulations, comforts, distractions, addictions, eating/ drinking, hunger for money, more spending and indulgence. How may futures of less be realised, when they emotionally, rather than rationally, driven?
The desire for control is the desire most likely to frustrate and disappoint with the illusion of control. We can become anxious lacking control, over-controlling others, excessive in survelliance or abusing our power. Or we may narrow our control, over-controlling ourselves in perfectionism. What if we see further Future Shock?
The desire for something to happen is our need for excitement, action, realising dreams, challenges or change. We are what we do! Is online activity sufficient? We both are pulled towards and push away from change in life. How do encourage or thwart future actions?
The desire for love involves many kinds of love: romantic, erotic, divine, companionship, unconditional love, faith, acceptance, and intimacy. And in frustration, lacking love we feel cold, empty,angry or even introspective. How does love influence options for our future? Building trust, being consistent, supportive opens potential.
So readily it explains events and behaviours with the benefit of hindsight, our complex web drives and surprises… can we notice and listen?
Rebalanced desires from those unfulfilled?
Mackay H. 2010, What makes us tick? The ten desires that drive us, Hachete Australia, Sydney.