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September 29, 2008

Motivational Poster

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Einstein once said that most human actions were motivated by fear or stupidity. Genius though the man may have been, he was wrong on this occasion. Most human actions are motivated by lust.

This may sound ridiculous, but think of how many things in our life are there to serve no other purpose than to make us (ostensibly) attractive. There are women that insist on wearing make-up before leaving the house, and an increasing number of men that do the very same thing; hence the delightfully forced puns of "Guyliner" and "Manscara". In a weight obsessed culture I seem to be the only person left on this earth that doesn't go to the Gym. I don't understand where these people get their time. Do they not have blogs to update?

This brings me to my point, how often do we actually analyse our motives behind a decision? If you were to ask a regular gym-goer why they went, I'm guessing they'd say something along the lines of 'I want to stay healthy'. What does 'I want to stay healthy' actually mean? It means that the speaker wants a body that will make other people want to have sex with them, and that they're afraid of death. Dylan Moran said that all these people that went to pursue their ideal body are proving their limitations, as all they come back with is a bigger, more taught version of their old one. Why don't they come back with wings and a tail? That would be closer to my perfect body.

There are a plethora of psycho-philosophical questions surrounding this issue, of course. Such as whether there can be such a thing as a selfless act, or whether humans are in essence a benevolent people. My aim here is not to address these issues, but rather to establish whether we can ever truly be proud of our own motives.

An oft claimed pure motive is the religious one, that what someone did they did for God. This motivation could be pure even without the existence of the claimed God, the very fact that someone was acting for someone outside themselves, existent or not, would of course be praiseworthy. This example is thrown into doubt, however, by the heaven/hell doctrine. Imagine a Christian world, exactly the same as the bible suggests, but without the afterlife. No existence after death whatsoever, rather everybody -- saint or sinner -- died and stayed dead. Your actions had no bearing on anything after death. Would it still be true that people would act for God? If you answered 'yes' in a soft little voice, what would be the point? Why squander a life pandering to a being that doesn't care for you enough to grant you eternal happiness? If there were no carrot and stick, there would be no more christian soldiers.

Which brings be to a good point concerning lust and religion, one that appears to be hauntingly prevalent in Canada. Abstinence-only sex education. This seems a topic almost too ridiculous to rant about, but I shall endeavour to anyway. It is not only physically and mentally damaging to children, it helps spread prejudice and shame throughout the community. It is one of the stupidest ideas ever to have even be considered relevant education for today's society; and the fact that it has been granted over a billion dollars in federal funding makes me literally retch. This is my use of the word literal, and it is the correct one. The first time I heard this fact I had difficulty keeping my breakfast down. It makes me angry, but this is instantly replaced by shame at my own species. The worst part is, to qualify for this funding under Title V of America's Social Security Act, they must demonstrate that they will not teach about contraceptives. For them to be given money, they must promise to not tell children about Condoms and what they can do.

No independent survey has ever, ever found that any one of these programs produce a statistically significant increase in abstinence. The sheer fact of the matter is that the kids that want to have sex will have sex. There will be others that don't; which is of course a perfectly respectable decision. However, it is in no way more respectable than the decision that pre-marital sex seems a fun prospect. Both are personal decisions considering risks and benefits. There are some people that won't like bungee jumping. This is fine. This does not make them superior to the people who want to try it.

I just do not understand why people insist on spreading this message. Why not go out and inject children with herpes? Or would that not give them enough of the intense shame you're also peddling? Condoms break, but not as easily as promises.

So, we were talking about motivation I believe. I did say at the beginning of this post that I was trying to avoid the issue of whether there is such a thing as a selfless act, but I suppose I was inevitably going to find myself back onto it. It's true that you can certainly find a possible self-interest in an action, but is that what it is that truly makes us do the action? We see the earth from one perspective, our own. It makes sense that we only do things that benefit this perspective. It seems, however, that there is something more. I was worried about someone this Friday. Does that mean that I was simply aware of the fact that I enjoyed spending time with them, and did not want this to stop?

To be honest, I have no real conclusion about this issue; which was more intended to provoke thought. It has indeed provoked mine, so thoughts please -- and comments -- in the comments section. Also, since my motivation for writing this blog is neither fear nor stupidity, girls are welcome to leave their numbers too.

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