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Humans are driven by the Will To _____

  1. Mar 11, 2012 #1
    Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    This has been of much discussion in philosophy.

    What is the prime motivator that drives humans to act the way they do?

    Sigmund Freud believed it was "will to pleasure", to maximize pleasure and to avoid pain.

    Before Freud, Scopenhauer stated it was "will to live", basically just to survive.

    Friedrich Nietzsche argued it was "will to power" (that we live to be relatively more powerful than other humans). Soldiers sacrificing themselves on the battlefield for respect and important, for example, shows how people can avoid pleasure and even give up their will to live, for in some sense, power.

    I believe in many respects, power is the prime motivator.

    Species early in evolution, only desired to eat and protect itself from danger. Basic functions. Later, organisms able to sense pain and pleasure, may have been motivated by that. But humans are more advanced than that.

    Not just power as in force or coercion, but power involves:


    How does one have impact?

    They are remembered after death.
    They belong to something (a family, organization).
    They have impact on other humans, whether it is hurting them or helping them.

    We are social organisms with the drive to establish power (importance) over others.

    Of course, we may live to maximize our opportunities. To be free to do whatever we want to do, but why is it that we do those things?

    Will to power.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2012 #2


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    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    My vote is for the will to dissipate.

    All other claims will prove to be merely disguises for our entrainment to the second law. :smile:
  4. Mar 12, 2012 #3
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    The will to collect beliefs the way some of us eat potato chips.

    Well established hierarchies are not easily uprooted;
    Closely held beliefs are not easily released;
    So ritual enthralls generation after generation.
    Harmony does not care for harmony, and so is naturally attained;
    But ritual is intent upon harmony, and so can not attain it.
    Harmony neither acts nor reasons;
    Love acts, but without reason;
    Justice acts to serve reason;
    But ritual acts to enforce reason.
    When the Way is lost, there remains harmony;
    When harmony is lost, there remains love;
    When love is lost, there remains justice;
    But when justice is lost, there remains ritual.
    Ritual is the end of compassion and honesty,
    The beginning of confusion;
    Belief is a colourful hope or fear,
    The beginning of folly.
    The sage goes by harmony, not by hope;
    He dwells in the fruit, not the flower;
    He accepts substance, and ignores abstraction.
  5. Mar 12, 2012 #4


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    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    I don't know if one definition will suffice for this.

    You could even use 'explore','exist' and 'learn' amongst things like 'survive', 'live', 'procreate' and other things but I don't think it would justify the statement given the way it is written: it misses out on the diversity IMO because there is not a sufficient word to use.
  6. Mar 22, 2012 #5
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    I don't believe most strive to have an influence over one-another, it's just a consequence of "being" in general. In the end, each of us just
    want's to be happy in our own way; although some find despair while indulging their happiness (ex;Drug Addicts, Gambling Addicts, etc.)

    -Some humans are happy working the late shift at 7-11, buying 10 lottery tickets every week and relying on luck to better their lives.
    --I'm not happy with the thought of a mediocre life! I want to use my knowledge and personal skills to better the future (maybe revolutionize AI).

    Here's a quote I thought up a couple months back

    "The rays we cast today will live on forevermore, glinting into the eyes of Time, and distracting the Future from it's present." -Trey4:21

    The simple fact that you are conscious(I think?) and walking about has an effect on the future. Almost as if you being "here" causes a bump in times way (whether by taking a breath or a girl thinking of a past acquaintance), changing the now relative to then(before).
    CD's rely on bumps to store information, maybe we're a CD in the middle of the data recording/acquisition phase? IDK.

    Without having anything influencing the "now", the now wouldn't become the future and time would have no meaning or purpose.

    ^Kinda off track a lil ;)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  7. Apr 10, 2012 #6
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Wouldn't power provide the feeling of pleasure?

    I think Freud's idea of the will to live is the most logical, because people tend to commit suicide when they are surrounded by pain and come to the conclusion that there is no pleasure to be found in life anymore.
  8. Apr 10, 2012 #7


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    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Why does any one have to be the answer? Humans have several driving forces on them simultaneously that cause their behavior, both form internal and external sources. And we also experience a changing configuration of forces as a function of time.
  9. Apr 10, 2012 #8
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    There you go, then: humans are driven by the will to change.

    Unless they lay paralyzed by their multiple fears (as it turns out to be the case for everybody).
  10. Apr 13, 2012 #9
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    No one mentioned (that i saw and i apologize if i missed it) the "Will to meaning" as discussed by Frankl.

    It stated that one can find meaning in any situation no matter how horrible; as Frankl was a prisinor of war in the concentration camps of WWII.

  11. Apr 13, 2012 #10
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Not too many survived those camps suggesting their survival was not indicative of the species.
  12. Apr 13, 2012 #11
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Fair enough...I do not believe it was indicative of the species. As you stated few lived and they were not driven by power or lust, so what drove them? The fact that one man made it through by finding meaning in finishing his life's work makes you think what drove the other few survivors. They found/created some meaning that made them survive.
  13. Apr 14, 2012 #12
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    There are nearly 7 billion people here presently, each with their own 'reality' which moves them in their own particular way. I personally believe it's anelephant which way you move as long as you're not stepping on me in the process.
  14. Apr 16, 2012 #13
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

  15. Apr 18, 2012 #14
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    The "Will to meaning" gives those who do not buy-in to the "classic" religions a purpose. Finding meaning in everyday makes mans struggle against the absurd bearable.
  16. Apr 20, 2012 #15


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    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Humans are driven by various Urges. I don't think it's useful to boil down these Urges into a single purpose. Examples of Urges are seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, quenching thirst, breathing, eating, scratching an itch.

    Russell was incorrect to boil it all down to pleasure. You don't scratch an itch to gain pleasure. Maybe you gain pleasure from scratching, but that's not why you do it.

    Will to ____ is just an oversimplification. We are complicated machines.
  17. Apr 21, 2012 #16
    Re: Humans are driven by the "Will To _____"

    Hmm, surprised I haven't seen, "Will to Reproduce". Or whatever signal that the brain interprets will lead to reproduction.
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