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Beyond Motivation

We have adopted social systems where pleasure is more important than meaning. Needing motivation to entice us to do what we would otherwise avoid, instead of what needs to be done to find significance on our journey. Rat psychology imposed to disregard the meaning of worthiness.

But when we shift from deciding goals based on whether the process is pleasant or not, toward determining the implicit worthiness of our actions, we require self-discipline rather than motivation. I argue that motivation is a manipulative enticement to do what we would delay or avoid unless we are rewarded. Motivational enticements are sustainable with rats because they lack the capacity to discern meaning in their actions.

Of course, motivation works if we disown our agency to engage tasks without assessing meaning or worthiness of our goals. If we choose to advance phylogenetically from rodents to Homo sapiens, we must discard motivation and embrace self-discipline.

While seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are biologically designed, self-discipline requires cultivating value of meaning beyond pleasantness. But does meaning have pleasure? Not in the superficial experience of pleasantness that lasts until the next motivational infusion. Meaning goes beyond hedonic pleasure to embody existential elegance. The implicit joy of worthy actions free from feel-good addictions.

Beyond Motivation

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