So what motivates people? I donít mean like in the sense of a motivational speaker, but what is it that really motivates what we do? What is the logic behind our actions? Whatís the rationale behind our decisions? Well, Iíve given it some thought and I can break it down into 6 basic motivators:

  1. Pleasure for the Self
  2. Pleasure for Others
  3. Fear of Personal Suffering
  4. Fear of Othersí Suffering
  5. Adherence to societal codes and norms
  6. Rejection of societal codes and norms

If thereís anything Iím leaving out, feel free to let me know (assuming anyone aside myself reads this). But if youíre thinking (as I was when I wrote this) that that seems insanely simple for such a complex organ such as the brain, youíre right. It is. But like I said, if I left anything out, feel free to let me know.

Everyone and every living thing on this planet obeys some set of the 6 motivators outlined above. But if thatís the case, then how are we so complex and different? Well, for starters, people (or things) in general donít obey every motivator. The younger are much more apt to rebel against societal norms and codes than the elderly. In fact, the elderly traditionally rigorously adhere to the norms that theyíve lived with all their lives. People who obey motivators (1), (3), and (5) are more likely to become conservative. People who obey motivators (2), (4) and (6) are more likely to become liberal. Yes, I realize that this is a gross simplification of ideals, but think about what they stand for. Conservatives oppose change (5), and dislike the idea of government (1) and (3). Liberals are more progressive (6) and traditionally want government to aid the poor (2) and (4).

As I said before, this is a gross simplification of conservatism and liberalism. But as I get into more detail about the 6 basic motivators, it becomes difficult to disagree.