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Thread: What motivates human behavior?

  1. #11
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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Namaste harih ji, Aanandinii ji,

    @harih ji - No sir, I have not read that popular book. I have to read it. If there is insight from the moral of that book to be viewed in perspective of our current theme, I would be most interested to know about it.

    Aanandinii ji,

    So, yes, if you're asking what drives the animal we call human, or any other form of material life, the answer most definitely is avoiding discomfort and chasing pleasure. So, what makes us different than this, because there is clearly a difference and it's been defined above already. Acting outside of your own self interest as an animal. Confronting and acting against instinct. The difference is intellect, the ability to reason and discriminate. Consciousness outside of the animal. Please don't mistake me for saying it is unique to humans, though I would say different forms of life do seem to be more intellectually able than others, and even some currently looking through a human form are better at it than others.


    I read your reply fully and it seems to me as you said, that:

    1. Positive reinforcements (aka conditioning) operate at the instinctual level to motivate human behavior.

    2. We cater to our own and others' needs depending on our affiliations (also known as society) and our altruism.

    I do not know how to phrase the above deductions into 1 coherent sentence, perhaps it cannot be phrased, as I eagerly seek out to, in such a sentence either!

    If there are corrections or further insights into variables/parameters defining human behavior, kindly share...

    Thanks.


    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  2. #12
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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Namaste Virija Ji,
    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    I read your reply fully and it seems to me as you said, that:

    1. Positive reinforcements (aka conditioning) operate at the instinctual level to motivate human behavior.

    2. We cater to our own and others' needs depending on our affiliations (also known as society) and our altruism.

    I do not know how to phrase the above deductions into 1 coherent sentence, perhaps it cannot be phrased, as I eagerly seek out to, in such a sentence either!

    If there are corrections or further insights into variables/parameters defining human behavior, kindly share...
    Well, that is partly what I'm saying but not all. I don't think there is a simple sentence... But I will try and distill it to a few.

    1. What motivates human behavior and the behavior of all other forms of life is survival - survival of the individual and of the species.

    2. Both negative and positive reinforcement operate to create the instinctive behaviors that ensure the best chance for survival.

    3. These instinctive behaviors can be as simple as 'Stay away from fire' to as complex as 'Helping others in my family group means we work together longer and this benefits my chances at survival'.

    4. You are not this animal form you look at the world through.

    5. So when you or any other animal acts in a manner that decreases chances for survival - like fasting on only water for days, or sacrificing our own life so another individual being may continue their current ride in this life, these are not actions informed by instinct but by the conscious observer riding along in their own animal chariot for a time.

    I'm not sure this makes anything clearer...

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

  3. #13
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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aanandinii View Post

    ... these are not actions informed by instinct but by the conscious observer riding along in their own animal chariot for a time.
    Very good reply, Aanandinii ji.

    I'm having problem with the above sentence (quoted), I'm not fully getting the meaning. Does this mean the same as saying, "oftentimes the actions are governed by altruistic instincts that goes beyond the behavior motivated by survival instincts"??.

    But the rest of it is clear. The emphasis on survival as being one of the important factors is noted. Thank you. Thanks for enriching this quiz/question.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Namaskar Viraja ji,
    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Does this mean the same as saying, "oftentimes the actions are governed by altruistic instincts that goes beyond the behavior motivated by survival instincts"??.
    This is the question I posed at the end of my first reply. It's a difficult one to answer, no? Just thinking over the last few hours since you replied above, my thoughts have changed once again...

    Having sorted out my thoughts on this, I would suggest that there are no altruistic instincts. 'Instinct' is something that comes from the animal mind, related to the body. Every action generated by the physical form is 'instinct' honed over millennia into survival strategies. There is no such thing as altruistic instinct to the biochemical animal mind.

    True altruism is far more uncommon than most people would like to think, and that is born from consciousness, conscience and dharma. It has nothing to do with the mind of the animal body - so is indeed beyond behavior motivated by instinct. Altruistic behavior comes from the intellect of the more subtle being that rides in the animal form. Altruism is not an instinct, it is opposite to instinct, it is conscious, intended action.
    But the rest of it is clear. The emphasis on survival as being one of the important factors is noted.
    Good, but I am not suggesting survival as being 'one of the important factors'. I am suggesting it is the driving force behind all actions of the animal mind, the only reason behind any instinctive behavior at all.

    Thank you for bringing this thread, you are prompting me to think in directions that haven't occurred to me, which is a gift. ^_^

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Dear Aanandinii ji,

    It seems to me that you are saying humans are governed by survival instincts, but more than anything else, their behavior is not purely instinctual, rather based on mind, conscience and judgement/analysis of a situation over their needs.

    I only have question on your quoted portion in the following: (my questions follow). Not intending to bug you, but I will be glad to hear more from you, your clarification on my question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aanandinii View Post
    Having sorted out my thoughts on this, I would suggest that there are no altruistic instincts. 'Instinct' is something that comes from the animal mind, related to the body. Every action generated by the physical form is 'instinct' honed over millennia into survival strategies. There is no such thing as altruistic instinct to the biochemical animal mind.

    True altruism is far more uncommon than most people would like to think, and that is born from consciousness, conscience and dharma. It has nothing to do with the mind of the animal body - so is indeed beyond behavior motivated by instinct. Altruistic behavior comes from the intellect of the more subtle being that rides in the animal form. Altruism is not an instinct, it is opposite to instinct, it is conscious, intended action.
    So can we say then that altruism comes against the natural desires and instincts of human beings? As in someone willfully applying one's judgement?

    Good, but I am not suggesting survival as being 'one of the important factors'. I am suggesting it is the driving force behind all actions of the animal mind, the only reason behind any instinctive behavior at all.
    Agreed.

    Thank you for bringing this thread, you are prompting me to think in directions that haven't occurred to me, which is a gift. ^_^
    This is not my own OP, Aanandinii ji. In the other forum, a person named Shri. Auh brought it up!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Namaste Viraja ji,

    The thing is, what do you mean when you say "Human"?

    To me it's not as simple as looking at a person (or yourself) and calling this Human. There are two parts, the animal bound in the material, physical world, and the jiva, the consciousness connected temporarily to the animal form.

    instinct drives the animal behavior.
    Consciousness drives the jiva's behavior.

    Together, these two main things drive the behavior of a "Human" or any other life form, to one degree or another. For some, consciousness is more active than animal instinct. To others the reverse, and many run the various degrees in between.

    Yes, i would say that true altruism is opposed to instinct. It is applied by the jiva consciousness, it is not applied by instinct.

    What forum is that, Viraja ji? Is it a sub forum here? I don't often get to read all threads on HDF.

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

  7. #17
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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    Namaste Aanandinii ji,

    Thanks for the clarification. Your deduction that essentially a human is a sum of animal + jiva is correct. I applied this deduction against the original premise of calling all human behavior to be driven by the necessity to avoid discomfort. Probably, to say that 'avoiding discomfort' is an instinct is incorrect. But it still kinda appears relevant to me to think that the best interest of a jiva is to consciously exercise judgement in the interest of seeking pleasure and avoiding discomfort.

    I am unable to put it all together at the moment. I will need time to think it all later. I think I will have a clearer understanding and be in a better position to come back with where I stand only at that point. I will consider all points of our discussion.

    I appreciate you taking your time to participate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aanandinii View Post
    What forum is that, Viraja ji? Is it a sub forum here? I don't often get to read all threads on HDF.
    It isn't this forum. The OP is from a different forum. There are quite too many participants in that thread that there was just chaos. So I thought I will post the OP in this forum to get a clearer picture!

    Cheers!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: What motivates human behavior?

    A person in the other forum said, that the Srivaishnava view (trust me, there is a SV view for 'human behavior' ) is 'எப்போதும் தனக்கு தானே அனுகூலமாக இருத்தல்' in Tamil! He said, he does not know how to translate this. I too am not in a capacity to translate this. However, just for sake of satisfying others' curiosity, I would like to say this is approximately equal to saying "Always acting in a way beneficial to oneself" :-). Just some trivia!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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