Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reader's Poll: Strongest human desire?

The other day we were discussing what was the strongest human desire around the water cooler. I contend hunger and thirst are the most fundamental drives and other interests only begin to assert themselves once these have been satisfied. Americans are so well fed that they typically only think about these desires long enough to decide if they want Italian or Vietnamese food.

Others contend that sex or the lust for power are the most fundamental of drives. A biology major in the crowd suggested that protection of offspring (or the welfare of your tribe or clan) is probably the strongest desire since there are many cases of people sacrificing themselves to protect their children or comrades.

An interesting point, culture certainly precedes individuals and conditions them.

I still say a hungry person will do just about anything to obtain food, just ask the Donner party.

Any other votes? Feel free to leave them in the comments.


Jason said...

I think it has been pretty much proven to be thirst and aversion to pain. But it's been a long time since I studeied it.

Safety Neal said...

Aversion to pain strikes me as a large category. :-0

I assume you studied this in psychology. I'll see if I can find some more info, thanks for the tip.

dr said...

All I know is that I make systematically bad decisions where sex and food are involved, and it's difficult for me to find a correllation between those decisions and an interest in avoiding pain.