Languages can be an interesting way to discover differences in how people and cultures see the world. Changes in expression, comparison, and contrast are maps to vast inner worlds of intersecting subconscious landscapes unlike anything seen in even the best science fiction.

Ancient Greeks had six words to describe ‘love’, in Polish, sometimes saying ‘no’ actually means yes, where ‘no’ conveys the person is listening, while in Pali, there are two words to describe desire or motivation: tanha and chanda.

I will start by describing desire, because I began with the understanding that desire simply meant to crave, or want something. However, desire is the want to hold onto pleasurable experiences, avoid painful experiences, and for neutral experiences not to decline. In other words, most humans want to be on a continual high, and can you blame us? Yet, some of these painful experiences force us to become better human beings despite every fiber of our being: interesting dilemma.

Tanha is the desire for pleasure. Chanda is the desire for well-being. Tanha and Chanda lead to satisfaction of very different kinds.

For example, you can take the time to help an illiterate person fill out paperwork and get a job, or you can take more time to help an illiterate person become literate. The first satisfaction comes from momentary aid to a fellow human being, and the latter, from assurance of continued well-being.

Tanha is artificial value, while Chanda is true value.

In a free market of production and consumption, most social problems arise in satisfying tanha before moving onto the next ego-gratification, popular cause of the hour, without addressing the true, long-term well-being of that economy and that peoples.

Ignorance and lack of experience often go hand-in-hand. Even if the human lifespan extended to 200 years, we would be ignorant to 99.9% of our universe. This is a great wonder and challenge at the same time that gives me excitement and fills me with hope every morning I open my eyes.

Take time every day to reflect on your true purpose.

Your real motives might surprise even yourself.

And if you find yourself ashamed too many days in a row, you have all the power to alter course. If that is not empowering, then I do not know what is.


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