kena

Wait, maybe that was wrong

In address, reflection on June 25, 2012 at 12:00

Two days ago, we considered together the difficulty to move forward, and we mulled over the question of “why.” Yesterday, I presented you the four-base model I had used so far to recognize the drive in other people.

You see, one aspect of my crisis is that I am not sure this model makes sense, or, even if it made sense, whether it is desirable to determine a “drive” at all. Here’s why.

The issue I currently have stems from two observations. The first is that even if I was right, that is that any persistent drive is a combined function of survival, faith or duty, anger or fear, the consequences would be a world that, all things considered, I would not like to live in. The second observation is that some people in my life are moving forward seemingly without a long-lasting drive, and still seem satisfied about it. While we could dismiss their profile as mere flukes in my model, unfortunately they all individually make me tingle with the nagging feeling that they are getting something very right in their life which I am missing out from.

Let me clarify.

The first consideration goes as follows. Assuming the argument from the last two days holds, it boils down to stating that drive is dependent on blindness and suffering. To be specific, I am referring to the blindness of faith, and the suffering ultimately resulting from either the stress of a survival-based lifestyle, or the causative stress of a lifestyle based on fight-or-flight. Indeed, anyone motivating their actions by dutifulness and faithfulness is ultimately acting in the name of a greater good than the individual needs of humans; any stable drive they may have based on duty or faith is thus bound to ignore, to a certain extent, the immense diversity of personalities and requirements of humankind. I personally deeply fear the risk that they become disconnected from a changing world and start becoming hurtful in the name of their ideals. This is why I call this motivation blindness, and why I think I dislike it.  For the other components, in the form I explained them they are ultimately seated in frustration. Despite the objective effectiveness of stress to induce action, I would dread living in a world where frustration is the fundamental requirement to become a “conscious causative agent.”

The second consideration goes as follows. A certain Steve reminded me recently and convincingly that most people have no clue about the consequences of what they do, and still do it. For him, it seems obvious that “normal people” don’t over-think their actions and modestly simply react to short-term interests: food, sex, entertainment, companionship, pride, etc. Another friend also recently shared with me his model where 80% of people’s actions can be explained by habit, ie. reproducing more or less consciously previously learned patterns without questioning their usefulness, 19% by irrational and inconsistent feelings, and only 1% (2% if you’re generous) by a consciously and rationally motivated trains of thought. A third friend routinely admits that he has no clue what he is good for and what should be his rational next step, and still deals with the days as they come in relative peace of mind and body. If any of them is right, and I have an irrational but deep-seated intuition that they are, my entire recent argument that the crisis we are going through is a lack of clear motivation is bullshit; that we should instead look in a different direction.

These considerations, quite recent on my side, are causing quite a bit of turmoil. The first has made me quite uncomfortable for a while already. The second is strongly suggesting to me that “normal people” do not have issues getting on with their future and don’t need a rationale to decide what to do next. I don’t know about you, but to me this means that my uncertainty does not stem from the lack of a properly defined motivation; that instead I am blocked by some personal situation that I have to deal with, and without the comforting feeling that others have been there before me.

I’d be glad to know your thoughts on this one.

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  1. I would say none of those last posts are talking about the same subject at the same level of abstraction, thus they are not comparable. But none of them are wrong either. For instance, you could see the previous post as a explanation of a 20% from this post. And if people don’t know what they are doing, it is no reason for you to do same.

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