home | what's new | other sitescontact | about



Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity






“It isn't normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” Abraham H. Maslow



Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Desire

Editor's Essay: What Men Really Want






Frederic W. H. Myers, in the afterlife, transmitted to Juliet S. Goodenow, Vanishing Night: “You [shall] find whatever you search after. In all the category of experience, you gain what you are searching after — in literature, in art, knowledge, science, invention, love-attainment, in culture, wisdom, riches or treasure… All is accorded you. The spiritual embodiment of your life work is your treasure in Heaven, those laid up by yourself [that is, what you have made of yourself, reflecting your particular talents], your treasures, your mansion, your reward for all you have done on the Earth Plane is laid up by yourself, for yourself, when at last you attain your reward for deeds done in the body. No arbitrary avenging angel awaits you. Creation afforded you in the beginning the implements of industrious labor to satisfy the craving of hunger of the body, and for the satisfaction of the soul. Within your complex organism the Creator placed a guide [that is, your particular desire and sentiment, which reveal destiny] — your passport through the world and through eternity.”

Ayn Rand: "A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."

Mario Andretti: "Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek."

Confucius: "The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."



"Ever desireless, one can see the mystery; ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations. And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding."

The Tao Te Ching, the first verse



Plato: "Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge."

Marsha Sinetar: "Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power - a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment."

George Bernard Shaw: "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."

Robert Frost: "Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."

George Washington: "If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War."

E. W. Howe: "Many people would be more truthful were it not for their uncontrollable desire to talk."

Rumi: "Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart."

James E. Faust: "To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children. As a consequence of this sacrifice, conscientious parents develop a nobility of character and learn to put into practice the selfless truths..."

Sheri L. Dew: "Indeed, this life is a test. It is a test of many things - of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires."

Bessie Coleman: "If I can create the minimum of my plans and desires, there shall be no regrets."

Elie Wiesel: "Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories."

Thomas Carlyle: "Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment."

Susan B. Anthony: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

Aristotle: "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self."

Paramahansa Yogananda: "The yogi offers his labyrinthine human longings to a monotheistic bonfire dedicated to the unparalleled God. This is indeed the true yogic fire ceremony, in which all past and present desires are fuel consumed by love divine."

Victor Hugo: "When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide."

Epicurus: "If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires."

Chanakya: "Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and of a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform."

Orison Swett Marden: "A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires."

Jean-Paul Sartre: "I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul."

Paulo Coelho: "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream."

John Stuart Mill: "I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them."

Pope Benedict XVI: "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."

Gloria Estefan: "Whatever it is your heart desires, please go for it, it's yours to have."

Nelson Mandela: "There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires."

Socrates: "From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate."

Buddha: "A woman of the world is anxious to exhibit her form and shape, whether walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping. Even when represented as a picture, she desires to captivate with the charms of her beauty and, thus, to rob men of their steadfast heart."

Niccolo Machiavelli: "Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked."

Joseph de Maistre: "Man is insatiable for power; he is infantile in his desires and, always discontented with what he has, loves only what he has not. People complain of the despotism of princes; they ought to complain of the despotism of man."

John Milton: "He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king."

Xun Kuang: "The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him."

Billy Graham: "Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer. Then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish."

Kahlil Gibran: "I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires."

Audre Lorde: "Our visions begin with our desires."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us."

Bertrand Russell: "Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires."

Ramana Maharshi: "The greatest error of a man is to think that he is weak by nature, evil by nature. Every man is divine and strong in his real nature. What are weak and evil are his habits, his desires and thoughts, but not himself."

Marcus Aurelius: "Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh."

Sitting Bull: "He put in your heart certain wishes and plans; in my heart, he put other different desires."

Henry George: "Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied."

Niccolo Machiavelli: "Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."

Anna Louise Strong: "To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be."

Bill James: "Some people give themselves over to their most evil desires, and those people become evil. But in general, it's reductive to think of evil as something foreign and separate from the rest of us. Evil is part of everyone. We all have the capacity to commit evil acts."

Theodore Dalrymple: "It is clear to me that people often want incompatible things. They want danger and excitement on the one hand, and safety and security on the other, and often simultaneously. Contradictory desires mean that life can never be wholly satisfying or without frustration."

Kate Forsyth: "Fairytales work on two levels. On a conscious level, they are stories of true love and triumph and overcoming difficult odds and so are pleasurable to read. But they work on a deeper and symbolic level in that they play out our universal psychological dramas and hidden desires and fears."

Leo Tolstoy: "Boredom: the desire for desires."

Abraham Lincoln: "Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old."

Swami Sivananda: "Desire nothing, give up all desires and be happy."

Jeremy Taylor: "No man is poor who does not think himself so. But if in a full fortune with impatience he desires more, he proclaims his wants and his beggarly condition."

Paracelsus: "When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven, as it were, and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him... For such is the immensity of man that he is greater than heaven and earth."

John Ortberg: "When the soul is understood and attended to, we can be liberated from hurry, preoccupation, unsatisfied desires, and chronic discontent."

Christian Nestell Bovee: "We trifle when we assign limits to our desires, since nature hath set none."

David Hume: "Eloquence, at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection, but addresses itself entirely to the desires and affections, captivating the willing hearers, and subduing their understanding."

Swami Sivananda: "A desire arises in the mind. It is satisfied immediately another comes. In the interval which separates two desires a perfect calm reigns in the mind. It is at this moment freed from all thought, love or hate. Complete peace equally reigns between two mental waves."

Ieyasu Tokugawa: "When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has passed through."

Chauncey Wright: "The questions of philosophy proper are human desires and fears and aspirations - human emotions - taking an intellectual form."

Shakira: "When we were in the Dark Ages, it was a question of humanity somehow managing to forget about itself. We put God in the centre of society, and people forgot about their own nature and desires. There was a huge deal of repression."

Aldous Huxley: "Uncontrolled, the hunger and thirst after God may become an obstacle, cutting off the soul from what it desires. If a man would travel far along the mystic road, he must learn to desire God intensely but in stillness, passively and yet with all his heart and mind and strength."

Petrarch: "A short cut to riches is to subtract from our desires."

Ron Fournier: "Andrew Jackson was the first president to claim that the desires of the public overrode Congress's constitutional prerogatives."

Colin Wilson: "Criminals interest me, because they're driven by the same desires as we are, but they take these disastrous shortcuts and end up in a real mess."

Edgar Rice Burroughs: "Were there no desire there would be no virtue, and because one man desires what another does not, who shall say whether the child of his desire be Vice or Virtue?"

Claude Adrien Helvetius: "By annihilating the desires, you annihilate the mind. Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act."

Lao-Tzu: "Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires."

Bertrand Russell: "Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires."

Orison Swett Marden: "Your heart's desires are not empty vaporings. They foreshadow possible realities. Man was made to aspire, to look upward."

John Ruskin: "The child who desires education will be bettered by it; the child who dislikes it disgraced."

Elbert Hubbard: "Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation."

Rudolf Steiner: "Nature has endowed us with needs; among them are some that she leaves to our own activity to satisfy. Abundant as are the gifts she has bestowed upon us, still more abundant are our desires. We seem born to be dissatisfied."

Epictetus: "One that desires to excel should endeavor in those things that are in themselves most excellent."

Jiddu Krishnamurti: "Listening has importance only when one is not projecting one's own desires through which one listens… If you listen through the screen of your desires, then you obviously listen to your own voice; you are listening to your own desires."

Debbie Ford: "Beneath the surface of your ego's insatiable cravings, your authentic desires are waiting patiently for you to acknowledge, claim and express them."

Robert Baden-Powell: "One of the first duties of a Scout is obedience to authority. He must obey his orders in the first place and put his own amusement or desires in the second."

James Russell Lowell: "To educate the intelligence is to expand the horizon of its wants and desires."

George Harrison: "If you want to be popular and famous, you can do it; it's dead easy if you have that ego desire. But most of my ego desires as far as being famous and successful were fulfilled a long time ago."

Heather Graham: "I was taught to be demure, so it was harder for me to learn how to stand up for myself and go, 'What do I want? What are my desires?'"

Maimonides: "To the totality of purposes of the perfect Law there belong the abandonment, depreciation, and restraint of desires in so far as possible."

Rebecca West: "It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own {authentic] desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion."

Edward Gibbon: "Their poverty secured their freedom, since our desires and our possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism."

Shreya Ghoshal: "I don't have a lot of desires, you see; I feel so lucky. God has given me a lot of things already; there's nothing to ask for."

Federico García Lorca: To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.”

Augustine: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Willa Cather: “The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing - desire.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know --because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand.”

George Bernard Shaw: “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.”

Elizabeth Gilbert: “Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all. As soon as you want somebody—really want him—it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause a lacerating injury.”

Jack Llawayllynn: “I desire to be with you. I miss you. I feel lonely when I can't see you. I am obsessed with you, fascinated by you, infatuated with you. I hunger for your taste, your smell, the feel of your soul touching mine.”

Henry David Thoreau: “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

Tabitha Suzuma: It's always nice being wanted. Even if it's by the wrong person.”

Mick Jagger: “You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”

Virginia Woolf: “I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life.”

Ann Aguirre: “I'll always want him. Until every sun goes dark in every sky, until I am nothing more than long-forgotten cosmic dust, I will want him. And even then I suspect my particles will long for his.”

Napoleon Hill: “When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.”

Paulo Coelho: “Faith is not Desire. Faith is Will. Desires are things that need to be satisfied, whereas Will is a force. Will changes the space around us."

Roland Barthes: "Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory (the nature of a photograph is not to represent but to memorialize)... this scene has all the magnificence of an accident: I cannot get over having had this good fortune: to meet what matches my desire."

Stephen R. Covey: “Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).”

Anne Rice: “Oh to have you with me, to have you here, not to be alone, but to be with you, my beauty, you of all souls! You.”

Abraham Lincoln: “You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”

Kahlil Gibran: Desire is half of life; indifference is half of death.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “One loves ultimately one's desires, not the thing desired.”

Paramahansa Yogananda: “The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man's slavery."

Sophie Kinsella: “You can want and want and want, but if he doesn't want you back ... you might as well wish the sky were red.”

Samar Sen: “All day and all night my desire for you unwinds like a poisonous snake.”

Chelsie Shakespeare: “He would reach for me in the middle of the night, nearly every single night, wrapping one of those solid arms around my waist and pulling me in close. So. Close.”

Graham Greene: “I can never think of you as a friend. You can do without a friend.”

Roman Payne: “When I touched her body, I believed she was God. In the curves of her form I found the birth of Man, the creation of the world, and the origin of all life.”

Dr. Joseph Murphy: “Your desire is your prayer. Picture the fulfillment of your desire now and feel its reality and you will experience the joy of the answered."

Robert Allen: “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

Alain de Botton: "What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”

Abraham H. Maslow: “It isn't normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”

June Carter Cash: “One morning, about four o'clock, I was driving my car just about as fast as I could. I thought, 'Why am I out on the highway this time of night?' I was miserable, and it all came to me: 'I'm falling in love with somebody I have no right to fall in love with. I can't fall in love with this man, but it's just like a ring of fire.”

Brenna Yovanoff: “You asked about love. I don't know about love, Daphne. I just know I don't want anything but you. I don't want to be anywhere but with you.”

Joseph Murphy: “Prayer is the soul's sincere desire. Your desire is your prayer. It comes out of your deepest needs and it reveals the things you want in life.”

Jonathan Sacks: “We know – it has been measured in many experiments – that children with strong impulse-control grow to be better adjusted, more dependable, achieve higher grades in school and college and have more success in their careers than others. Success depends on the ability to delay gratification, which is precisely what a consumerist culture undermines. At every stage, the emphasis is on the instant gratification of instinct. In the words of the pop group Queen, “I want it all and I want it now.” A whole culture is being infantilised.”

Jim Anderson: “When a man touches a woman's body, he is not just touching her body. It goes MUCH DEEPER than that for a woman. He is touching parts of her soul… The man wants a sexual encounter, and love is far from his mind; she desires permanence, commitment, safety, and security.”

Tom Robbins: “The word desire suggests that there is something we do not have. If we have everything already, then there can be no desire, for there is nothing left to want. I think that what the Buddha may have been trying to tell us is that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary.”

Aristotle: “It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.”

Ai Yazawa: “Why... is human desire so unsatisfying?”

Mary Rose O'Reilley: “Whatever you eye falls on - for it will fall on what you love - will lead you to the questions of your life, the questions that are incumbent upon you to answer, because that is how the mind works in concert with the eye. The things of this world draw us where we need to go.”

Vera Nazarian: “Desire is like fog on a bathroom mirror -- its presence incites you to wipe the mirror, and see yourself clearly again.”

C.S. Lewis: If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Robert Southey: Our restlessness in this world seems to indicate that we are intended for a better. We have all of us a longing after happiness; and surely the Creator will gratify all the natural desires he has implanted in us."

Epictetus: “Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men's desires, but by the removal of desire.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “A man’s desire is for the woman, but the woman’s desire is rarely other than for the desire of the man.”

Elizabeth Hand: “Endless longing; a face you'd known since childhood, since birth almost; a body that moved as though it were your own. These were things you never spoke of, things you never hoped for; things you could never admit to. Things you'd die for, and die of.”

Chelsie Shakespeare: The longer I lived, the longer it would be until I saw him alive again, until I could taste his new lips and run my fingers through his new hair. We could be young and beautiful again . . .”

Victoria Alexander, What A Lady Wants: “My desire, my sincere and heartfelt desire is to … toss you onto that bed, and indeed ravish you from head to toe. I wish to make love to you until you are too exhausted to do so much as stand without support. Until you call out my name in your dreams and reach for me in your sleep. Until you can think of no one and nothing beyond the touch of my hand, the caress of my lips.”



Editor's last word: