欲 – Chinese philosophy and culture

yù 欲

Desire

人对外物的欲求。“欲”主要指人为外物所感而产生的欲望,包括对食物、美色等外在事物的欲求。“欲”是人天生所具有的本性,需要获得适当的满足,但同时也要有所节制。如果对外物的欲求超出一定的限度,则会造成对自身生命的伤害,同时也会带来人与人之间的纷争与社会秩序的混乱。“欲”有时也被用来指称对美德的追求,并以此强调对美德的追求是人固有的本性。

This term refers to the yearning for external objects. Yu (欲)is the desire for external things such as food and beauty. This desire is a natural instinct, so it should be satisfied to an appropriate degree and be restrained at the same time. Excessive desire can be harmful to a person, create disputes between people and cause disorder. Desire also refers to the pursuit of virtue, something that is inherent part of human instinct.

引例 Citation:

◎饮食男女,人之大欲存焉。(《礼记·礼运》)

(饮食与异性,是人的根本的欲求。)

Food and courting the opposite sex are all basic human desires. (The Book of Rites)

◎今人之性,饥而欲饱,寒而欲暖,劳而欲休,此人之情性也。(《荀子·性恶》)

(现实中人们的本性,饥饿时想要吃饱,寒冷时想要温暖,疲劳时想要休息,这是人的本性。)

Basic human needs are to eat when hungry, to find warmth when cold, and to seek rest when tired. All these are all human instincts. (Xunzi)

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