The desires and biological urge in human and animals exist, yet its impact varies significantly. The execution of action and reaction can be at the spur of the moment. It is termed as instinct, whereas, desires are observable action, which can be calculated or planned as deem fit. What is the degree of variation, making the behavioral pattern differ distinctly? At times, the reaction of both becomes similar with same strength and vigour. On occasions, it is restrained in humans due to maturity and patience. In order to evaluate further, we need to understand its basics and bases of occurrence.
It is defined that, “Instinct or innate behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular complex behavior.” It is observed that instinct is the reaction of stimuli, which is a fixed pattern of behavior. It is also a fact that behavior is instinct; a happening without prior knowledge. This complex behavioral pattern is not to be misunderstood for reflexes. The reflex is directly proportional to specific stimuli. However, a behavior is an observable pattern of actions and responses. These definitions show close relationship between behavior and stimuli, hence variation is subject to situations.
Desires are also inborn; an urge to achieve its outcome. Sometimes, it is within the reasonable limits, and at times, goes beyond. What are the factors responsible for its sensible longing or otherwise? Psychologist argued that desires are associated with body structure, whereas, laymen relate it to emotions. When desires become embittered because of obsession then it creates problems. Now, it is viable to do a comparison between desires and instinct.
We need to concentrate on its impact to arrive to a definite conclusion determining the affected beings. Failure in restraining instinct and desires within the parameters of humanity will turn a human being a beast. At the outset, desires are not bad things. It can lead to achieve many good results provided it is kept under controlled fashion. Instinct, on the other hand, is uncontrollable and difficult to overpower. It requires sincere efforts by human beings using their mind and body in tandem.
The following views of philosophers will highlight the concept of desires. Hobbes, British philosopher says, “Fundamental motivation of all human actions is the desire for pleasure.” Spinoza a Dutch Jewish philosopher has contrasted views with Hobbes in that he saw natural desires as a form of bondage. A third angle is defined by Hume a Scottish, who claimed, “Desires and passions are noncognitive, automatic bodily responses.” He further argued that reasoning is “capable only of devising means to ends set by the (bodily) desire.” These views in-itself reveal both observable and instant reaction detrimental in situations corresponding to physiological factors.
The inherent factor responsible in both the cases of desire and instinct is the urge. It can be physical, mental and spiritual. If human beings evaluate and understand its implications, then they will utilize the impulses constructively. Otherwise, they will fall in line with animal and become a monster. Knight Dunlap an American psychologist says that instinct to be a central factor so far as organic nature is concerned. However, desire is not a central factor at all, but a strictly peripheral one.
Knight’s comparison, at the outset, pleases every individual. However, there is a thin line of difference between instinct and desire. The impulse of urge needs rational approach to avoid crossing the boundaries of humanity. On the contrary, instinct is the impulsive situational reaction beyond anybody’s control. The need of the hour is to assess the situation with positive perspective and act in a detrimental fashion. It will do a lot more than our expectation, and harmony will prevail. Thus, exposes the difference between human and animal.