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Thread: Linguistics question, Word for motivation both postive and..

  1. #1 Linguistics question, Word for motivation both postive and.. 
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    ... selfish.

    Language is part of culture, culture is a social science and closest to philosophy relative to the other options. So here I am in this forum.

    ***

    The bible is a good example of this.

    Selfishness is a worldly trait, yet the only reasons to not be selfish given by the bible is to avoid hell, attain heavenly rewards, for the love of God and so you can get drunk in God's presence.


    Now this isn't just a religious phenomenon. Mechanically it is impossible for someone to do something they don't want to do, any person who would be considered "Unselfish" such as a super caring nurse that devotes her entire life helping others and just enjoys helping others, is still doing it for herself since she enjoys helping others.

    A nurse who helps others for the money is still getting something she wants.

    A nurse that is doing it to just alleviate guilt is still getting what she wants.

    A nurse that is doing it for recognition also is getting what she wants.

    However people apply the labels "selfish" and "unselfish" differently to these women based on what they are getting out of it.

    So I need a word to describe the underlying drive of a person, the base desire for benefit that everything else is based upon.

    Do you understand what I mean?


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  3. #2  
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    I need something that encompasses the motivations of everything, from the preacher to the sex addict. From the nurse to the rapist.

    Something that describes that pursuit of happiness or at least the minimal unhappiness that drives everybody, the drive of want and goals.

    Those who try their hardest to be unselfish, are trying to be unselfish because they want to be unselfish.

    Slaves work because the alternative is less desirable, so they want to work more then any other available option.

    I need something to describe this more specific then simply saying human nature.

    Ambition doesn't work either.

    It is impossible for a person to do something they don't want to do. Raise your arm, but raise it without wanting to raise your arm. Its impossible to make any conscious choice you don't want to do, I need something to describe that.
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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humility
    I Raise your arm, but raise it without wanting to raise your arm. Its impossible to make any conscious choice you don't want to do, I need something to describe that.
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    I don't want to do the dishes. Nevertheless I do.

    There is a difference between will and want.
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    Your post sounds a lot like the debate of "altruism." There are a number of books on this subject, you should look into them. The idea is that there is always a motive behind every action. For example, someone putting "to" on a gift for a friends birthday, but also putting "from" on the gift as well. The "from" is not needed, but the gratification is derived from the recipient knowing that you gave them the gift and not someone else. I will also note that "altruism" is defined as unselfishness. Therefore, the antonym would be selfishness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humility
    I need something that encompasses the motivations of everything, from the preacher to the sex addict. From the nurse to the rapist.

    Something that describes that pursuit of happiness or at least the minimal unhappiness that drives everybody, the drive of want and goals.
    Oops, I just realized what you were asking. You're asking for a word that describes both selfish and unselfish, correct? If so, I would have to go with "gratification" or "satisfaction." Anotherwards, the motivation for the preacher and the sex addict as well as the nurse and the rapist is gratification/satisfaction from pleasing themself or someone else.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    So, you are looking for a word that means "motive" or "motivation"?

    How about "motive" or "motivation"?
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  8. #7  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humility
    Its impossible to make any conscious choice you don't want to do
    From a linguistic or semantic point of view it is probably possible to demonstrate this, but it seems not to be all that useful for describing human behavior as we actually experience it. I'm sure every single one of us can think of daily instances where we do things we would rather not do. It happens all the time.
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