338: Personal Motivation

People all over this world accomplish things large and small though their own personal motivation. Motivation can be a powerful force for both good and bad. Unfortunately, like a great many things that matter a great deal, personal motivation remains a nebulous, abstract concept that is fluid and flexible, and not remotely the same (inspiration or results) person to person. It’s complex, even though we all recognize it when we see it in action.

To make motivation even more confusing a concept, it is even fluid and changeable within a single individual, depending onĀ  the circumstances.

I saw this in action in Harrison Ford’s movie “Bladerunner.” Ford’s robot-hunting police officer character is interviewing an individual in order to determine whether she is, in fact an individual (human), or if she is, instead a cleverly programmed human-imitating, life-like looking, android robot.

He asked her a series of questions that illustrate the changeable and sometimes contradictory notion of human motivation. He asks her what would she do if she found a neighbor’s child abusing an animal. She answers she’d report him to the authorities. Then he asks what she’d do if she discovered her own child pulling the wings off of flies, and she answers that she’d take him to the doctor to get help. Then he asks her what she’d do if she discovered a wasp on her own arm, and she instantly, with no apparent recognition of or concern for the inconsistency of the logic of her own motivation, answers “I’d kill it.”

People are like that. Which way I am gonna jump in any situation depends on a great many things, including the mood I am in at the moment, how others have treated me today (or even yesterday/last week/anytime in my previous life history), and even maybe what I had for freaking breakfast – let alone the enduring moral or ethical values I govern my life by.

Some of us make an honest and sincere effort to govern our lives by motivations of enduring moral and ethical behavior, grounded in a profound personal sense of ultimate truth and values.

Others go into politics, or become criminals – but then, I repeat myself.

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226: Run of Bad Luck

I always think that things go fairly well for people who are trying very hard to do the right things and live lives that do not harm others. I think that when things don’t go well, it means you have not been doing the right things. You need to search and see where you need to improve. Now, I know that is not true in every case – of course it isn’t. However, for me, usually when things don’t go well it actually is something I’ve done or contributed to – not every time, true, but usually…..

I think there is the big guy sitting up there in Heaven, looking down on us creatures who are mostly making mistakes with our lives, decisions and actions, and I think usually he lets the natural consequences of our foolish actions just….happen. Sometimes, for reasons I don’t understand, he does intervene – on both the good and the not-so-good side of things. Sometimes he lets things happen because we need to learn that it is not smart to fool with Mother Nature: don’t poke sticks at grizzly bears. Dumb ways to die.

Sometimes he steps in and saves us because there are still things we are supposed to do with our lives. I woke up on the beach getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from a total stranger when I was about eight years old, after I had been sucked under by an undertow at the Bahia Honda bridge on the Florida Keys. I still don’t know who the man was who saved me, but I owe him a lifetime of gratitude that I did not die that day. I don’t think I even said ‘thank you’ when I came to!

At any rate, my recent run of poor luck leaves me some reflective opportunity about my recent motivations – whether I have been working for the good or for other nefarious purposes. Have I fallen short somewhere?