Meet the Panelists (01:24)
Robert Rowland Smith explains the debate format and introduces sociologist Steve Fuller, erotic capital theorist Catherine Hakim, and mental health professor Dinesh Bhugra.
Steve Fuller: The Pitch (03:54)
Fuller distinguishes between desire as a recurring psychological state and aspiration as a trajectory. Aspiration and optimism presuppose dissatisfaction; wishful thinking is the negative side to pursuing goals. Pascal's Wager says a person will end up better by looking for God.
Catherine Hakim: The Pitch (03:52)
Hakim says that while aspiration is more exciting in finding a sexual partner, achievement is essential for health and financial security. She argues that the puritanical view against materialism is outdated in 21st century, affluent societies.
Dinesh Bhugra: The Pitch (04:47)
Bhugra discusses a study relating psychological disorders among immigrants to aspiration achievement gaps. How sex is viewed in society— as a pleasure or procreation tool— affects how people think about desire. Many in India accept their economic status as a result of reincarnation.
Theme One: Enriching Our Lives - Part One (05:46)
Fuller argues that capitalist philosophy blames individuals for failing to succeed. He sees happiness as achieving equilibrium; desire reflects something lacking. Hakim believes people have affairs to improve their lives.
Theme One: Enriching Our Lives - Part Two (03:12)
Hakim and Fuller discuss the Christian philosophy that high achievers are seen positively by God— later adopted by capitalism. Hakim clarifies that French affairs improve the lives of participants and rarely disrupt marriages, due to discretion.
Theme Two: Sex and Satisfaction - Part One (03:56)
Bhagra argues that materialistic desire is marketing driven and never satisfied. Hakim believes most people are satisfied after achieving a comfortable life; the super-rich pursue money for the challenge. Fuller argues that persistent desire indicates perceived inadequacy.
Theme Two: Sex and Satisfaction - Part Two (02:39)
Fuller argues that Western civilization attempts to transform sexual impulses into socially acceptable behavior. Bhagra compares the desire for wealth to that of sex.
Theme Three: Choosing Fantasies - Part One (04:59)
Smith asks panelists whether we should temper desire for altruistic purposes. Bhagra discusses how the four stages of Hindu life, including charity work and relinquishing desire, are under pressure by recent materialism trends in India.
Choosing Fantasies - Part Two (04:55)
Hakim discusses the 21st century notion that greed is "morally" good. Bhagra says that guilt is a Western cultural concept based on egocentricity, versus shame as a social tool. He discusses how we criticize capitalism yet continue to invest in the stock market. Fuller argues that guilt becomes paralyzing in secular society.
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