why do living beings want things


Like, what makes a creature WANT to survive, or WANT ice cream?

Cause like, a nonliving pile of atoms cant want things, so how does a thing being alive make that change?

In: Biology

Your brain has many neurotransmitters that help it function.

In particularly, a couple work together well: dopamine and endorphins.

Dopamine helps us form associations between things we do/consume/experience and endophins or other neurotransmitters.

Endorphins are natural opiates, they make us feel good. The name is even related, endo (meaning inside) + oprine (like morphine)

Certain things cause a release of endorphins for one reason or another (naturally as part of our bodies natural “programing” that we’re born with or chemically in the case of things like drugs) and dopamine helps your brain associate the endorphins and good feeling they cause with whatever caused them to release.

This association causes our brains to seek those things out because good things are good.

For nonhuman animals, they’re preprogrammed to want to survive until they can procreate. Their biology is designed in a way that they have certain necessary skills regardless of being taught, and the majority of those skills are for survival. They want to survive because they want to procreate and pass on their genes. Pretty much, most animal exist to have sex.

Humans are weird. We do have instincts, but we’ve gotten to the point where we have other motives for living. On the other side of the coin, we’re also the only species proven to commit suicide for non-altruistic reasons (there are some cases like the newfoundland dog and Kathy the dolphin, but those aren’t proven. Animals *do* sometimes engage in self-destructive behavior, but they don’t specifically do it to die).

We have chemicals in our brains that are released when we do things that make our brains and bodies happy, like eating sugar and talking to someone you like. Feeling happy is actually a biological imperative. I’d say this positive feedback system is our motive.

Brains are wild. Questions like this aren’t likely to have good, clear answers.


The ones that just stand there until they die don’t pass on their genes while the ones who “want” things like food, water, etc survive, breed and pass on their genes.