I’ve been banging about things like actions and consequences for a while. It’s about time I was talking of the force going through that whole continuum. I am talking of motives, of course. I guess you may have thoughts without a motive, but it’s difficult to have voluntary action without motive. The root of the word comes from Latin and it implies movement in a causative way. It is sometimes confused with intent, probably because it is the force that moves the intent into action. Indeed, it seems to bypass planning and choice but once the decision is made (based on said intent) it is in its element with actions as its tools.

So if the intent is to stay alive and a lion is charging, once you have sifted through the available choices (fight, flight, freeze etc.) and you have made your decision, your motive will implement that action to obtain the consequence intended. I would probably choose fighting after an initial freeze, but that’s just me 🙂

Motivation seems to be linked to survival as that is usually linked to action. And survival expectations do go down severely if motivation is missing. This is not so obvious nowadays, when we have several safety nets to catch us should our motivation falter, but it hasn’t always been like this. And out of all the frustrating traits people exhibit lack of motivation is probably very high on the ladder because we see their survival being in danger.

We admire dilligence, ambition, activity because neither of those is possible without motivation. We dislike laziness, procrastination and apathy because we catch that whiff of danger. We also find it very difficult to slow down, meditate, pray, consider and even sleep. Because we equate moving with being alive (originally it mostly was, our predators were faster, stronger and had senses significantly more acute than us; freezing wasn’t really an option).

Once survival is assured motivation doesn’t just disappear into thin air. It’s a force, so once you have it (barring illness, certain drugs etc.) you can use it. It’s not really blind force, either, although it can be bent in many directions. It exerts a pull towards what interests you once survival is not an issue. This pull is what makes life sweet when you do whatever it is that floats your boat.

Say you have a really nice job working for the man. It pays good money. It is something you are good and skilled at. You may have a company car, flexible hours, nice perks. Come Friday you leave it all behind and, if you’re smart, you get a life. The motivation provided by all those nice things does not normally extend to the weekend. Motivation is an economically efficient force, it won’t expend that energy when there is no need for it.

But say you are a scientist and you have a theory. No funding, obviously, until you have something to go on. Tell me, do you notice weekends as anything else other than time to get the experiments set up and running? Or researching what has already been done. Or pulling your hair out because it doesn’t work your way? Or resenting the day job because it takes you away from whatever it is you are trying to do?

Hm… sounds like motivation doesn’t really care about money and perks and holidays etc. Nice to have, don’t get me wrong… just wondering if societal rules don’t get too restrictive at one point, you know?


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