Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Troubles and five human basics

Prof. Mark Leary in his Great Course "Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior" gives five motives that people have:
1.    Acceptance by others
2.   Belong to groups
3.   Influence others
4.   Protection from enemies
5.   Form intimate relationships

I see many personal, social and political actions and statements that lead me to believe these five basic motives are active in most people but they can easily conflict with each other.  Leary just mentions desires and says nothing in the list about convictions.  Convictions can be related to fears and sins as well as hopes and perceptions of duty.

If I think it is my duty to get people to accept a particular religion and I find they don't want to, I can be convinced I will never go to Heaven. Depending on my picture of duty and the consequence of failing to carry out my duties, I may see eternal torment ahead.  I want to earn the respect of my family and others in important relations and I will lose some of that respect if I fail to do my duty, as they see it.  So, I may try to use force, bribery and trickery to gain new adherents to my religion.
I may be convinced that my brother should give up smoking.  After hounding him, and repeatedly emphasizing the evidence against smoking, I am picturing the day, years from now, when he is grateful to me for dragging him away from smoking. I picture the day that he is in good health and lives a long life, in part because of my hounding. My good intimate relation with my brother may be sacrificed for my conviction that I can hound him into healthier living.

If the evidence really does show that smoking will hurt my brother with high probability, I may be a coward not to hound him.  I may be a bit piggy to enjoy his affection, seeing all the while the likely result of his smoking and the pain and fear in his wife's eyes when she sees him light up and smells his cigarette.  For some reason, it seems unlikely that same brother or my other siblings will accuse me of cowardice or self-indulgence if I just keep quiet.

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