Satisfaction can be defined as the ratio between an individual's perceived attainments and desires:
An individual's satisfaction can change as the result of several things:
- events in the natural environment
- that individual's own actions
- actions by other people
Storms, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, etc., can affect a person's attainments. By changing the person's attainments, they thereby increase or decrease satisfaction.
A person who is cold can put on a sweater or dial up the furnace, thereby increasing his own attainments which in turn (everything else being equal) increases his own satisfaction. Or the individual, holding his attainments constant, can change his satisfaction by changing what is desired. Increased desires, as the formula shows, decrease satisfaction, whereas decreases on desires increase satisfaction.
Finally, one person's attainments—and thereby satisfaction—can be changed by the actions of other people. It is this fact which renders possible human associations and organizations, including governments.