It isn’t a perfect model, and there’s a little of crossover, but I think it’s more or less correct to say that (1) the only tool of clergy to motivate people is guilt; (2) the only tool of corporations to motivate people is money; and (3) the only tool of politicians to motivate you is fear.

And of course, guilt and money are really just specific instances of fear: fear of not having enough, fear of not being good enough.

The prevailing context of life today is that these are the “always and only” motivating forces for human beings: if you want to get someone to do something, you have to pay them, guilt them, or scare them into compliance. It’s pretty damn cynical.

I suspect that if you give a person everything they really need–which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t very much–they’ll become motivated by forces much more interesting: expressing love, and contributing to their community.

(Okay, define “need.” Easy. A person’s needs are met If and Only If their fears no longer have power over them.)

This is a first draft since I need to get going, but I’d really like some feedback. Just grunt so I know you heard me.

5 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. I agree: it is pretty damn cynical…and only applies to default ways of being.

    It is possible to motivate people out of hope and faith. When done in a transformed/workable way, faith, hope and charity (true love) ARE the motivations used by clergy. Fear and guilt are diametrically opposed to these, and I've always marveled at those who would teach faith by fear. You will find not a few who try!

    Some corporations and businesses forgo profits and money for higher ideals. They really get Nash's contribution to game theory, and try to provide win-win-win scenarios. Again, it's trickier, but it can be done. Wall Street is far less inclined to reward such behavior, so the best examples are privately held.

    Likewise, the best politicians stand where their convictions are and "damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!" They are remembered forever as great statesmen. Reagan was the last time we really saw that in a U.S.A. President. He motivated by appealing to man's higher purposes, although to be fair, he still had his own unresolved fears. Obama is trending that way, but he keeps landing back in fearmongering. Whether you agree with his vision for America or not, he's at his best when he speaks from his stand and not from our fears.

    It is really a result of the people we collectively are – a people more motivated by what is urgent than what is important, a people more worried about looking "right" or being "good" than being integral with our word or being accepting of each other – that we get the politicians, corporations and clergy that we get. If we as a people were collectively pulling for workability and a transformed "Zion" society, no kidding we'd get clergy who motivate by love and acceptance, corporations who teach AND practice the greater good (money be damned) and politicians who lead by example and excellence. It would be an abundant society where fear is laughed at, and cynically resigned folks would be loved backed to abundance.

    The place to make this transformation is with us, the people. Get our heads and hearts out of fear, and the rest will follow like day follows night.

  2. naptastic says:

    Hear here! You've made some good posts, Dono, but I think you've outdone yourself.

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