Motivation: an Existential View

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Day in and day out people interact with each other, the world around them just as others and the world interact back with them. Every movement, thought, word spoken, or choice made is based off the person’s motivations. This person was motivated by something, some one, some intentionality to drink the water, say hello, or get up in the morning. What is motivation and how does it interact with people and their relationships with the world around them? Motivation is the experience of the meaning one creates to make a choice or action. Motivation is how we make choices to navigate our experience of the world. This is described by the relationship of the double-sided arrow that illustrates the bridge of intentionality between the self and the world. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary “motive” is defined as: 1: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act. Motivation exists by way of becauses, not causes. The reason we are motivated to do something, whether it be to drive the speed limit or have lunch, is based on a because relationship. We may choose to go the speed limit because we do not want to get a speeding ticket, or have lunch because at this time is best spent feeding our self. These examples of becauses I will explore with more detail later in this paper. Intentionality takes full form when a person chooses how and what to be motivated by. Shall I have lunch now or later? My intentionality is the meaning that lunch has to me, and that I have on the experience of eating. It is the meaning making experience of eating lunch that I choose whether or not to take part in. Another way of examining this point is to ask what is the value of the need to eat instead of going to the library to study? We want to find out which need is more motivating for us to take action. The motivation comes from the meaning or value that I put on eating, that motivates me to go to the cafeteria. Responsibility acts as guide in our experience of the meaning that I want, or I ought, or I must, which are categories of choice for motives, to have, to be, to do, to care. Intentionality and responsibility are rudimentary in because choices, like I want to care for this person versus I must care for this person. They are measures of magnitude that allow us to make these many decisions in our daily lives that are all based on motivations (Kunz, 2008). We as humans are all responsible to one another in that the face of the other always says to us, do not harm me. However our relationship to the other directly impacts the value we put on our intentionality and responsibility to the other. A family member or loved one may fall into the category of, I want to help this person as I care deeply for them. While a stranger may fall into I must help this person, not because of a close relationship and deep desire to care for them, but because they are human and their intentionality is saying to you that they need help and that you can provide it (Kunz, 2008). Mainstream psychology, particularly Behaviorism, has founded our motivation by causes and effects. According to these psychologists the causes are what motivate us or move us to an action (Strickler, 2006, p.26). Causes however, do not give credit to the intentionality and responsibility of the human experience. To say we are caused to do something implies that we did not have a choice. In reality we always have choices. Some are made consciously or unconsciously, reflexive or pre-reflexive. In everything we do there is a reason greater than that of a cause and effect or stimulus and response relationships. Mainstream psychology’s recognition of a cause for behavior is too simplistic to explain the experience of the self and its ability to be motivated. The complexity of the human psyche is far too great to simply be moved by a stimulus, like a robot that is programmed to perform an action. Our every motivation involves a choice because of our innate responsibility to choose....
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