Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Human Motivation -- Part 1

What motivates human beings to achieve more the those basic needs of life like water, food, and shelter? I propose two thoughts on this subject, and being I am not a reticent person and actually love to throw out my personal thoughts and theories about life I'll jump right into what I think is the most intriguing topic: sex.

What is one common goal of all forms of life? To pass on its genes. This is accomplished in different ways. Some species are asexual and their cells simply divide and create a near perfect replica of themselves. Who could possibly be better than yourself? Asexual creatures therefore are not highly motivated to interacted with others or perform any tasks other than those that are absolutely necessary for their own personal survival. We as humans were fortunate enough to have the opposite form of reproduction, which is to say we are sexual animals. Grrr.

Since we are sexual animals, though, the only way to pass on our genes is to have sex. This is a conundrum because a lot of the time who you want to have sex with doesn't want to have sex with you and vice versa. There in lies the crux of all human motivation. This topic is not very easy to delve into. Slight differences in physical, emotional, and intellectual tastes can lead to people that are completely incompatible. However, people still do everything in their power to make the other person understand, or believe, that they are the perfect mate, and as it turns out a lot of times these slight differences do not lead to people absconding as if being chased by the cops (the world now has over 6.6 billion people).

Of course there are always cheaters. What could bring a perfidious person to feel the necessity to be deceitful? Well that, I think, is obvious: they may not compare well as a good mate in the eyes of others so they must make up lies to boost their own standing. I constantly catch myself lying, if ever so slightly (some might call it exaggeration), about events in my life in order to make myself seem better. Everyone does, but when questioned on the veracity of the statement most will fulminate (or in my case I like to quickly admit my lies because I feel then it seems more like a joke and does not turn into a problem later).

Of course a lack of motivation for bettering your own situation can arise because one has become so inured to rejection that they feel as if nothing can be done to improve any further. This stage of life is where the field of psychology has been working so hard to fix and great strides have been taken towards this end. Look at all the various anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and hopefully soon the government will see the benefits of psychedelics for helping to restore a sense that you can improve your life and give the introspective insight into how to do that.

----- Part 2 coming soon -----

GRE words: Abscond, Fulminate, Inured, Perfidy, Reticent, Veracity

7 comments:

marisa said...

please tell me i am misunderstanding you and that you did not just claim that antidepressants are around due to repeated rejection causing the afflicted to become apathetic, or that evironmental factors alone are the cause of these mental conditions?

Andrew said...

no I did not just say that anti-depressants are around due to rejection alone, but they are around because of depression, apathy, anxiety, etc. and that can be caused by rejection or fear of rejection. And not just sexually either but rejection from society for being different in some way or another, or in Darwinian terms, not as fit. Of course there are a million different reasons that people can be depressed about, some of those reasons are simply an imbalance of hormonal signaling. I'm simply talking about, in part one, sexual reasons for apathy, depression, and that one of the basic reasons for motivation is sex, or passing on your genes.

Ian said...

Of course, the truly Darwinian response on this post-blog discussion would point out that perhaps those individuals with traits not suitable to advancing the human race have a more difficult time mating and thus passing on those undesirable traits. That begs the question: are drugs that mask these traits dooming our society by allowing non-advantageous traits to flourish? Again, this is not my response, but one that may be suggested in the course of discussion. Lord knows I need all the help I can get to find myself a suitable mate.

marisa said...

oh ian - or should i say devil's advocate?

if this were indeed the case, we would have to list all other possible conditions and disorders that would prevent one from becoming a "superior being." and to that point, would probably conclude that darwin would want to do away with ALL medicine that prolongs someones life...whether we're talking quality or longevity.

i think the most obvious proof that humans are evolutionary different from every other animal is...birth control. the "mating ritual" has very little to do with passing on one's genes.
(hence why depression does very little to hinder my sex life...most men barely look past my ginormous rack, and i can almost guarentee that the opposite sex isn't thinking "wow, she could feed a lot of children with those things!")

though this does bring up the subject of "designer babies." if i had the choice to rid my future children of this condition, would i? most certainly...i wouldn't wish it on anyone. however that delves into an entirely different discusion on ethics...

Andrew said...

Oh you ethical zealots.

Humans are no different evolutionarily than other animals. Our genes mutate at the same rate, certain qualities are chosen and enhanced. Drugs are not changing this fact. Drugs may mask someone's depression, but it also signifies that they are intelligent enough to try and solve their own problem. Other diseases are different I suppose, but if there are drugs that can increase the life of someone by treating some specific disease then that disease will not be looked upon as so horrible a trait to posses therefore it doesn't need to be selected against.

MEJ said...

How does Darwin's theory of evolution explain the following sexual behavior? Humans do not commit rape for reproductive purposes and we engage in a significant amount of sex through acts of rape. Amnesty International - "Rape, when used as a weapon of war, is systematically employed for a variety of purposes, including intimidation, humiliation, political terror, extracting information, rewarding soldiers, and "ethnic cleansing". "One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime." (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998)

Humans do not engage in sex in a way that parallels other species. Rape is a tragic proof of this. As humans move farther from hunter gatherer to technologically advanced societies, they diverge from other species in terms of motivation for behavior. At this point, actions may be biologically common between humans and other animal species but motivations for them are not. Wouldn't you consider that in 2008 we let go of the idea that our actions (and reactions, such as depression) can be explained through evolutionary biology?

Andrew said...

Well I agree that not all actions have to have an obvious evolutionary explanation. Instead some actions can be considered malfunctions of the brain (or if you want to get technical I would call it a disadvantageous mutation or inheritance of genes that leads to improper behavior in society and are therefore not selected for) as is the case for many of the rapists out there, not including the rape conducted for a purpose such as terror, ethnic cleansing, etc.

As for rape being used for non reproductive means I'm not sure why that goes against Darwinian evolution. People have evolved brains that come up with all sorts of terrible things in order to make themselves prosper or to better themselves somehow. The basic theory of evolution simply says that certain traits are selected for and are passed on genetically. It seems as if the ability to rape, pillage, and plunder has been around for as long as humans have been the dominating species on the planet so it must have been advantageous to do so, especially back when there were small warring groups, even though such actions are against fellow humans.

The gene pool of humans is extremely diverse and has evolved very differently and I can see why (though I do not support), for sake of making sure your genes are passed on and not others that could pose a threat to your genes, rape and ethnic cleansing would occur.

Dreary as it is the human race has evolved to be very selfish and extremely violent. Rape fits into this model of evolution in my opinion. Luckily we have also evolved compassion and intelligence and most people can recognize that rape is in fact wrong.