The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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In Buddhism, for an individual to effect his or her Liberation, the flow of sense-desire must be cut completely; however, while training, he or she must work with motivational processes based on skilfully applied desire.
While desires are often classified as emotions by laypersons, psychologists often describe desires as different from emotions; psychologists tend to argue that desires arise from bodily structures, such as the stomach's need for Food, whereas emotions arise from a person's Mental state.
Marketing and advertising companies have used psychological research on how desire is stimulated to find more effective ways to induce consumers to buy a given product or service.
While some advertising attempts to give buyers a sense of lack or wanting, other types of advertising create desire associating the product with desirable attributes, either by showing a celebrity or model with the product.
As well, it is used in other literary genres, such as gothic novels such as Dracula by Bram Stoker, in which desire is mingled with fear and dread. Poets ranging from Homer to Toni Morrison have dealt with the themes of desire in their work.
Just as desire is central to the written fiction genre of romance, it is the central theme of melodrama films, which use plots that appeal to the heightened emotions of the audience by showing "crises of human emotion, failed romance or Friendship", in which desire is thwarted or unrequited.
Desire for wholesome things, though, is liberating and enhancing.
Within the Christian Faith, desire is seen as something that can either lead a person towards God and Destiny or away from Him. Desire is not considered to be a bad thing in and of itself, rather it is a powerful force within the human that once submitted to the Lordship of Christ can become a wonderful tool for good, for advancement and for abundant living.
Psychology and neurology
A 2008 study entitled "The Neural Correlates of Desire" showed that the human brain categorizes any stimulus according to its desirability by activating three different brain areas: the superior orbito-frontal, the mid-cingulate, and the anterior cingulate cortices.
While the "neuroscience of Happiness and well-being is still in its infancy", research on the "distant cousins" of pleasure and desire show that reward is a key element in creating both of these states.
Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, who is best known for his theories of the Unconscious Mind and the defense mechanism of repression and for creating the clinical practice of psychoanalysis, proposed the notion of the Oedipus Complex, which argues that desire for the mother creates neuroses in their sons.
That this "complex" is universal has long since been disputed. Even if it were true, that would not explain those neuroses in daughters, but only in sons.
French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan (1901–1981) argues that desire first occurs during a "mirror phase" of a baby's development, when the baby sees an image of wholeness in a mirror which gives them a desire for that being.
He uses the term "jouissance" to refer to the lost object or Feeling of absence which a person believes to be unobtainable. For more details on the Lacanian conception of desire, see desire (psychoanalysis)