Needs and desire

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Jan 27 13:51:55 MST 2000

Doug Henwood: But, as a friend of mine said the other day, kids have needs,
adults mostly have desires. To each according to her desire....?

Charles Brown: Marx would probably say you don't really know your desires
until your needs are first guaranteed. Humans are only truly free in the
absense of need. Freedom is the mastery of necessity or fulfillment of
needs. You only know your desires when you are thus free.

At any rate, desires would not be suppressed, but not every desire would be
guraranteed like every need, until all were wise enough to desire within
the capacity of society to give.

The model in _The German Ideology_ goes: in fulfilling and meeting the
"original" needs, physiological and reproductive requirements, humans
create new needs ( all of the way up to cars to get to work today) during a
long historical process. Meanwhile, all the time wants ( desires) are also

So, neither needs or wants/desires are fixed and eternal, but rather are
changing in a dialectic of desire. Who knows what we really want , until we
choose in freedom from the press of unfulfilled needs ?

Of course, some people have been freed from need already and can
contemplate a delightful full course meal. But communism is where everybody
is freed from need, and all spend their time creating desire and fulfilling
it. For mine or anyone's needs are not met, I (we) will come and disturb
your meal.

To EACH according to need, thus originates true desire.

Louis Proyect

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