There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man to hope, and then to believe, that nature has given himself something peculiar to himself.
Immortality! Yes, we all crave attention. We want to be important, immortal. We want to do things that will make people exclaim, “Isn’t he wonderful?” The urge to be outstanding is a fundamental necessity in our lives. All of us, at all times, crave attention. Self-consciousness, even reclusiveness, springs from the desire to be important.
Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing
Etiam sapientibus cupido gloriae novissima exuitur. (“The thirst for fame is the last thing of all to be laid aside by wise men.”)
I now perceive an immense omission in my psychology: the deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority, which constantly presses towards its own conquest....The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge for conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.
Many people exert themselves to achieve admiration through learning to do something impressive, such as becoming successful businessmen, inventors, artists, actors, musicians, daredevils, or whatever. But many girls who are born with beauty and good physiques seem satisfied to be admired for themselves alone. They don't want to achieve anything, although, like Mathilde Loisel, they will do whatever they can to enhance their attractiveness. In her case, she wanted a diamond necklace to add to her already outstanding beauty.
The girl was one of those pretty and charming young creatures who sometimes are born, as if by a slip of fate, into a family of clerks. She had no dowry, no expectations, no way of being known, understood, loved, married by any rich and distinguished man; so she let herself be married to a little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction.
We see that her chief ambition in life was to be adequately admired for her beauty, grace, and charm. For one night she finds perfect satisfaction of that ambition.
She danced with rapture, with passion, intoxicated by pleasure, forgetting all in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness comprised of all this homage, admiration, these awakened desires and of that sense of triumph which is so sweet to woman's heart.
If she hadn't lost the borrowed necklace she might have been satisfied with her one night of being Cinderella. But our ambitions often lead us into troubles and disappointment.