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10 June 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q1) “Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotions, and knowledge.” Discuss.

(250 Words/15 Marks)


Human behavior can be defined as the way in which humans act and interact with each other. Human behaviour is guided by many factors. According to me, in the above quotation, Plato is highlighting the three important/primary sources that guide human behaviour viz. desire, emotions, and knowledge.

Even though human behaviour changes with time, circumstances, and place, the primay factors of desires, emotions, and knowledge nevertheless inform the conduct of human beings. The role of desire in influencing human behaviour can be seen from:

1. Desires can be understood as propositional attitudes towards a favourable outcome.

E.g., desire of a sportsman to win a match against his/her opponent; desire of a student to perform well in his/her exams.

2. Desire shapes human behaviour by motivating them towards realising the object/objective of desire.

E.g., preference for discipline in a sportsman in order to attain desired physical fitness to win a competition.

3. The element of desire is often used/manipulated to induce a preferred behaviour in humans.

E.g., advertising/marketing companies stimulate desire in consumers for a particular product.

4. Desire adds an element of romanticism in human behaviour.

E.g., desire to change the world as per our own values/beliefs.

5. Desire, when left uncontrolled/unchecked, often becomes a cause of sorrow (Buddhist theory). It can inculcate negative behavioural attributes in human beings like envious behaviour, desire to control others etc.

Emotions influence/shape human behaviour in the following manner:

1. Emotion can be defined as a mental state brought on by neurophysiological changes.

2. Emotions guide human behaviour by shaping the conduct of an individual towards a particular object.

E.g., fear of dogs may lead a person to avoid them.

3. Emotions inform human behaviour to act differently in different situations.

E.g., emotion of love/compassion at home; dedication at workplace.

4. Emotions often are the foundation of human reactions.

E.g., emotion of surprise on meeting a friend at an unexpected place.

5. Emotional intelligence in humans allows them to be in control of their emotions and to project ideal behaviour.

Knowledge guides human behaviour in the following manner:

1. Knowledge can be broadly defined as the awareness of facts, possession of practical skills, familiarity with objects or situations etc., gained through learning or experience.

2. Knowledge influences human behaviour by making it more reasoned and accordingly restrained as per the given situations.

E.g., a knowledgeable person will be reasonable with all.

3. Knowledge influences human behaviour by imparting the element of prudence.

E.g., a knowledgeable person is more likely to practice financial prudence.

4. Knowledge imparts civic virtues, influencing human behaviour.

E.g., an educated person is likely to maintain basic standards of personal hygiene.

Wisdom and emotional intelligence are seminal to channel our desires, knowledge, and emotions for projecting an ideal human behaviour.

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