Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Motivation in the modern world

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Perhaps the deepest problem in the modern world is lack of motivation.

It is lack of motivation which can be argued to lie behind the more obvious short-termist hedonism and expedient cowardice which dominates modern public life.

It is the lack of motivation which leads all of the developed world to choose sub-replacement fertility; we lack even the motivation necessary to reproduce ourselves.

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What is needed is a motivation which is less short-termist and pleasure orientated - which is prepared to suffer and strive for Goodness.

But motivation is a means, not an end; one cannot be 'motivated' in a vacuum or without an object - and modern culture is a vacuum.

One can only be motivated towards some-thing or -things - and the object of motivation must seem worthwhile in order to overcome the distractions, short-termist pleasures, and expedient pressures of modern life.

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The average answer to this need for motivation - for most people most of the time - is religion (including, but not necessarily, Christianity); and it is the absence of religion that is demotivating the developed world.

It is the lack of religion which renders us demotivated into sub-fertility; and devout, traditional religion is the only known antidote to sub-fertility in modern societies.

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So how does motivation work to overcome the short-termist, hedonistic, expedient?

Well, the wrong answer is that it allows people to 'defer satisfactions'.

Not True. False.

In reality the only thing which enables us to overcome a passion is a stronger passion; the only way to overcome a pleasurable temptation is the even-greater happiness to be gained by living in accordance with longer term goals of extreme happiness.

Thus religious passion trumps worldly passions, and the here-and-now deeply-joyous hope of eternal happiness beats-back the relatively feeble temptations of pleasurable distractions.

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So, potentially, long termism is ultimately not a state of worldly self-denial, sacrificing here-and-now happiness in pursuit of remote-happiness in a hoped-for life to come; rather long-termism is a consequence of the greater here-and-now and currently-experienced happiness, consequent upon living a strategic worldly life in anticipation of the joyous life to come.

It is a greater short-term pleasure of living a religiously motivated life which renders controllable the lesser short-termist pleasures of a life devoted merely to avoiding suffering and passing the time as pleasantly as possible.

It is the current satisfaction of working strategically towards a truly satisfying goal that leads to happiness; while chasing after instant pleasure, detached from any valued objective, is a recipe for jadedness, aggressive pursuit of ever feebler satisfactions, and self-disgust.

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