Yeah, But What's My Motivation? (Part I)
On the normal reasons people do the things they do
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This series is a “quick-and-dirty” practical psychology primer aimed at a male reader who is interested in learning social dynamics in order to meet and form romantic relationships with women. It’s not intended to be an in-depth guide to the human heart, nor is it an authoritative clinical text; it’s a set of useful mnemonics purpose-built to help keep the reader safe. For a given value of true, these things are always true—while there are exceptions to everything, in the context of dating and relationships, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
In the introduction to this series on motivation, I listed the the Normal Motivators for human behavior. To recap, they are:
Position refers to social status. People who are primarily Position-Motivated care very much about their own status and the status of others—they’re social climbers who respect authority.
Affection refers to attractive or repulsive emotion. People who are primarily Affection-Motivated care very much about love and hate—they’re passionate lovers and activists for causes.
Sensation refers to visceral bodily sensations. People who are primarily Sensation-Motivated care very much about their internal physical feelings and reactions—they’re hedonists and epicures.
Transaction refers to social interaction based around exchange. People who are primarily Transaction-Motivated care very much about both things/resources and the social interactions required to acquire them—they’re traders and analysts of economies.
It is rare for anyone to be motivated by only one of these at any given time, let alone all the time. Something I repeat over and over again to my writing students is: People Are Complicated. Everyone is motivated to one degree or another by all four of the Normal Motivators. Having said that, most people are primarily motivated by one or two.
Figuring out which of the Normal Motivators drives the behavior of total strangers is not hugely complex. Online, start with language. The relevant technique is called Lacanian linguistic analysis, and it’s based on the recognition that people want to tell the truth; lying is really hard for most people. The basic technique is to look at the language people use and assume that for a given value of true, what they're saying is true. And if it's very hard to lie in general, it is even harder to lie about things related to one’s own character.
If a person writes approvingly or disapprovingly about another person’s social status, they’re probably Position-Motivated. If they write approvingly or disapprovingly about the emotions another person makes them feel, they’re probably Affection-Motivated. If they write approvingly or disapprovingly about the way another person makes them feel on a physical level, using language to do with the body, they’re probably Sensation-Motivated. And if they write approvingly or disapprovingly using analytical language to do with another person’s behavior (particularly if they describe behavior related to social interaction in economic terms), they’re probably Transaction-Motivated.
In person, you observe behavior (which is more difficult, has way more moving parts, and will be the subject of a number of future posts, each on a useful heuristic to do with a particular subset of behavioral analysis) or you talk to them and do Lacanian linguistic analysis in real-time. I find it’s generally better to just talk to them, try and put a pin in a few conversational specifics to do with approval or disapproval, and debrief later than it is to try and do this in real time, but YMMV.
Next: The Abnormal (Red-Flag) Motivators.
If you find yourself involved with someone who lies consistently, fluently, and without remorse, you are almost certainly dealing with some kind of psychopath.
Good stuff. Although, I think there may be one (or possibly two) modes missing from this. Maybe something to discuss in the chat.
Research assignment: Discover a common pattern amongst these four forms.
Position: How each social class or skill cluster copy or fight each other https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/book-review-fussell-on-class https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2010/04/14/the-gervais-principle-iii-the-curse-of-development
Affection and Sensation: How attractiveness and sensational response are segmented into different groups, and how some subpar mid con-artists (incl. pickup artists) bait low-tiers and hiding their flaws, whilst the top men are often either hidden or walk public with no shame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQOhRx3fDJ8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azBEWpbtlxM https://swellandcut.com/2018/09/26/in-plain-sight
Transaction: How transactional analysis work in terms of frame and conflict https://tatheoryandpracticebyajitkarve.blogspot.com/