Occasional thoughts and deeds of an Engineer
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  • Four insatiable desires

    Posted on November 20th, 2022 cwmoore No comments

    Man differs from other animals in one very important respect, and that is that he has some desires which are, so to speak, infinite, which can never be fully gratified: Four infinite desires — acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanity, and love of power.

    However much you may acquire, you will always wish to acquire more; satiety is a dream which will always elude you.

    The world would be a happier place than it is if acquisitiveness were always stronger than rivalry. But in fact, a great many men will cheerfully face impoverishment if they can thereby secure complete ruin for their rivals.

    Vanity is a motive of immense potency. Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying “Look at me.” “Look at me” is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart.

    Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power, and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates. In any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford.

    Excerpt: Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970)

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