How can we make a human being do what we want?

So, I was eating dinner in the hostel mess just 5 minutes ago. And just randomly a question popped into my head:

What is beneath human psychology? What drives it all?

The human psychology is wildly complex – it harbors so many ranges of emotions, feelings, urges, drives, and what not that it is never too uninteresting to know more about it. Sometimes it defies logic, and sometimes it even shapes logic. It is a beautifully insane beast.

But what lies beneath this complex labyrinth? Can all of this be explained by a simple explanation?

Science has taught us that, atleast so far we know, all the complex phenomena in the Universe is defined by simple things and concepts. That be it light from the stars in distant galaxies or light from a candle – everything is defined simply. So why should not psychology be something similar? It is quite possible.

So, as I pondered upon this question, eating away a simple meal of Egg Bhurji and 2 Rotis with a little Kheer as company, I was thinking about our most basic urges. Is it sex? Or an ability to form communities with similar interests? Or an urge to dominate?

No. What underlies all of these? Why would be have sex? Why would we want to dominate? Why would we want to form communities?

Survival.

Boom. I literally kind of stopped munching for a second.

But wait a minute. There are so many other things that are not explained by survival. If we really cared about survival, we would not damage the environment, not contribute to our community’s development, not be lazy and become obese, not commit crime. But we do do them and they threaten our survival.

Maybe because it is not survival but immediate survival. And when an individual has a sense of immediate survival, he proceeds to other levels above it. But immediate survival has to be fulfilled no matter what.

But there is another thing. I think immediate survival is adaptive. What does this mean? This means that within an individual’s lifetime, the characteristics of immediate survival change as the conditions of the individual change. A billionaire would hate to become a millionaire and work hard, stress all day to survive in his state of being-a-billionaire. But at the same time, if he does become a millionaire – his state of immediate survival changes to being a millionaire and he strives to maintain that and even rise from it to improve his survival.

This little realization (or conclusion, if you wish) popped up yet another thought – How do I use this to motivate, persuade or force a person to do something? (That person could even be my own self)

Challenge his/her sense of immediate survival.

Now the tricky part is finding out what is his/her immediate survival instinct. For example, in a project group, one person may not give 2 shits about the project. So trying to persuade him to work by telling him “The project will not be finished on time” does not challenge his sense of immediate survival. But imagine if he is thinking of shifting to another job – then telling him that “Not doing the project will threaten his job opportunities due to poor employee performance report” might ring a bell or two in his mind.

Now, on the  outset – this seems so obvious. But that is because I have taken a very obvious example. But this could also be used in complicated ways under complex situations. And the best part is that it could also be used positively for yourself – you just have to find out what your sense of immediate survival is and relate everything in your life to that.

Well, after all this thought, I finished up my plate and went back to my room to type in another blog post. 🙂

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