Rabbi Elazar Hakappar Said: "Envy, Desire, And Honor-Seeking Drive A Man From The World."
The intent of the mishnah
is that the mindless drive to satisfy physical desires generally prevents a person from living a well-balanced life.
On the other hand, although a person may think he wants material objects as ends in themselves, his desire may actually be rooted in the depths of his soul.
Consider. Everything in the world contains sparks of G-dliness. Mankind has been given the task of refining the material and revealing its innate G-dliness. Every individual is destined to elevate certain sparks, and this divine service is necessary for his personal growth.
We may be unaware of the spiritual motivation underlying our physical desires and consider them to be physiological or psychological. In truth, however, a deeper force motivates our will. Why does a Jew want children, possessions, or material success? Because his soul has an unarticulated desire to fulfill the G-dly purpose associated with these seemingly material blessings.
Therefore, when a person feels a desire for a material entity, he need not deem it bad and reject it entirely. He must, however, determine whether this desire stems from selfish motives, or is an expression of his soul's longing.
(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 291ff)