Drives of LIfe


There are many drives that motivate the human. The most primitive drive includes seeking homeostasis which involves getting food, water and warmth. For the sake of reproduction, sexual drive is also a key motivator in our behavior. When the biological ends have been met, the next most important drive is the social evolutionary drive, where the man seeks social comfort through living among other kinsmen and abiding to their norms. This way, the man seeks for a culture, a social belonging and a set of norms that guide his social behavior. Social encounter also means higher chance of survival and reproduction. Evolutionarily, this drive to live and interact with others has helped the human species evolve and survive even in disastrous situations. Besides these biological and social drives, there are also psychological drives. When a man is born, he is motivated to feed his ego and prove his self worth. There is a constant drive to view oneself as a competent individual that is in one way or the other capable of doing remarkable actions. This drive to prove oneself his own self esteem and dignity takes a long time thus the man fights for it his whole life. He may do it consciously or unconsciously, but he will never lose that motivation of a better version of his current self. Self actualization is the drive to fulfill one's talents and potentialities. This intertwines with the social drive, which encourages us to strive to be the greatest in order to seek fame and respect from the social community. 

The last psychological drive is the hedonic principle. This is the biggest driving force in all of our thoughts, cognitions, beliefs and behaviors. The hedonic principle suggests that we are motivated to experience pleasure and avoid pain. When selecting between the two, we choose to avoid pain rather than seek pleasure. This loss aversion motivates us to go to school, work for living and live a safe life. Many people are just trying to avoid danger and poverty in life, they aren't striving to be rich or famous. The hedonic principle guides our psychological self as well. We build cognitions based on what feels comfortable to our previous schemata and get rid of cognitions that produce dissonance to our self image or a strongly held belief about self. Our beliefs, actions, and attitudes are all unconsciously driven by this hedonic principle. But this isn't the greatest motivator in our life. This last drive is by far the most critical drive we possess. 

This drive is stronger than the drive to live or to have loss aversion. In some cases, we had rather die than suppress this ultimate drive. This drive is the constant stimulator drive. This drive states that in our states of arousal, we are motivated to seek stimulation, whether that be pleasurable or painful, rather than seeking no stimulation. As young kids, we have been grounded and been told to stay in our room doing nothing. Being confined to a room itself creates great distress, but there is still some stimulation present there. What about prisons? Solitary confinement is a generational punishment for criminals to reflect and suffer from their own guilt. And it works!. Having nothing to do with no one to talk to, the prisoner suffers from repressing his drive for stimulation. At that time, he chooses to rather die than to be confined. When this drive to seek stimulation is repressed, all other drives are impaired and thus most prisoners eat less, sleep less and act sullen all the time. The worst kind of pain is the repression of all drives, including the drive to seek stimulation. But the story doesn't end with prisoners. In fact, most prisoners overcome their sullen days by thinking and doing mental tasks. But what if we could induce a state in a person where even thoughts are repressed? What would happen to a person if his drive to thinking is lost as well? If all that remains in his life is darkness, with no sense stimulation nor thought stimulation. Would he be brain dead? Medically not but cognitively yes. People in vegetative states often seem awake but do not react to any physical stimulation. Yet, they may have internal stimulations. People in coma, on the other hand, are not awake and their circadian rhythms are off as well. They too, do not react to any stimulation. We can only interview these people to ask them what they had experienced during their coma. But most of them would be unable to remember anything. This proves the point that without motivating drives, we cannot live in the physical world. Yet, ironically, these states of drive-less moments are perhaps the most calming and liberating. Have we gotten the concept of motivation wrong? Do our biological, psychological and social drives, though driven for happiness and comfort, only end up producing unexpected and disappointing results? Not all times, but far too many times. If there were to be a way of inducing coma without head injury and if we would encode the person's brain states at the time, we could understand what it means to live without drives. Or we could maybe put electrodes on some of the monk's heads and see what's happening to them when they are in deep meditative states.