"Of our desires, some are natural and necessary; others are natural but not necessary; others, again, are neither natural nor necessary." Thus spake Epicurus.
This is something worth thinking about. We all have desires. And many of them properly lead to goals. But not all of them. There are some desires that should not be pursued. Many people make themselves miserable through a failure to understand this.
The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus had a way of helping us to classify our desires. Some are natural and necessary. We should have them and must pursue them. Others are natural but not necessary. It’s perfectly fine to pursue them, but it’s also no disaster if they go unsatisfied. The last class encompasses those that are neither natural nor necessary. We don’t have to satisfy them, and it’s not even natural for us to pursue them. Too many of our desires in the modern world fall into this last category.
Epicurus wants to free us from the tyranny of the unnatural and unnecessary things we chase. There's nothing natural about fame. There's nothing necessary about it. Yet, people sacrifice all for it. There's nothing natural about having more resources than you could ever use. There's certainly nothing necessary about it. Yet, people aspire to it, risking what they do have in lotteries and in relentless jobs that take away their lives for the remote promise of windfall gains.
The philosopher wants to help us to understand our desires better, so that we can manage them better, for our own good, and not allow them to manage to ruin our lives. Use his categories to enhance your own thinking today. It's both natural and necessary to do so!