How Our Desire Works

Food for Thought

We think we want our desires to be fulfilled but we don’t really. Most Instagram accounts that specialize in sweets are run by and followed by women. Rationally speaking, this doesn’t make much sense. If the purpose of these accounts is to learn about where all the great sweets are, go there, and eat them all, more men should be following as men don’t have to worry as much about their weight and have easier time burning calories.

The real purpose of these photos of donuts, ice cream, and gooey cookies, is to eat them vicariously so that you don’t have to. Even if the real thing popped out of every photo, you are not going to eat them.

The same applies to watching sports on TV; you could play the game yourself but you’d rather not because it’s too much work. Watching other people play is more enjoyable.

Chris @wandersauce is about to embark on a two-months trip to Asia, and I feel excited about it as if I’m going. For me, it’s better than actually going, because I hate traveling. I don’t mind moving somewhere and staying put for a long time, but not traveling from one place to another constantly.

For the same reason, I used to watch this guy on YouTube who goes on solitary camping trips in the woods, makes a campfire, and talks to the camera as if the viewers are sitting across the fire. The video would typically run for an hour, mostly of him talking about some mundane personal things. I would imagine that camping enthusiasts would find it boring because they camp all the time themselves.

The famous TV painter Bob Ross (and his producers) knew that the vast majority of his viewers never painted. They weren’t watching his show to be able to paint themselves.

How many people do you think actually cook something from The French Laundry Cookbook? Probably very few. It’s the fantasy that they are buying, not the recipes.

One easy way to be happier in life is to realize that you don’t actually want what you desire. You should be happy with the fact that you are not getting what you want. It’s the act of desiring itself that’s enjoyable in life.