Sunday, March 29, 2009

139 - Alternative motives

Alternative motives can usually be discovered where someone does something that seems good for you, when truthfully, they're doing it for unknown reasons of their own, and not because they want to be nice.

It's like the husband that comes home with gorgeous sparkling earrings because he did something wrong, or wants to have sex. It's like the parents that tell their child the house pet's gone to live on a farm to keep the kid from mourning over their pet's recent demise. It's like the kiss-ass at school, or in the workplace, that sucks up to the people in charge just to get ahead. It's like the older sibling that smokes and drinks to look cool in front of the younger sibling. It's like the friend that tells you he/she likes the style of your horrible clothes, or your tragic mess of a hairstyle, only to make bitching about you with others a helluva lot funnier, and juicier, afterward. It's like Jennifer Aniston showing up at the Oscars to show Brangelina that she's okay.

From what I see, it seems we do things with alternative motives everyday. We always want to keep up a reputation of being civil, funny, amiable, helpful, polite, loyal and cordial, and so we do nice things for people, we tell jokes, we make an effort to ask how people are when really, we don't care... not that much, not as much as the beneficiary might be led to believe.

And it's dangerous. Who knows who really cares? Are people just doing it because they feel guilty about something? Are people doing it because they pity you? Are people helping you to impress a girl, to impress your friends? Is your mother, or your sister-in-law, or your son, doing things to look good in the eyes of the rest of the family? Are people calling you up because they're just bored? Are people offering you aid because they want/need to feel wanted/needed themselves? Do bloggers around the world really mean it when they compliment you?

Do they, themselves, know they have alternative motives attached to their actions?

Am I being paranoid, or merely doubtful? Pessimistic, perhaps? Cynical? Distrusting? Or is all of society really this conniving?


Snapfish said...

As the saying goes, you don't get something for nothing....people always have ulterior motives, its the way of the world.... unfortunately :-(

Nina E J said...

I think that well...everything a person does affect the person and therefore depending on what kind of personality you have, you will have certain motives for the stuff that you do and there is no one that do stuff just for others. Essentially, people could do something because they want to be nice to someone, but they also want to spread out the idea that they are nice and want to be seen nice in the eyes of others....oh this is such a complicated thing that I dont think you could sum it up in one answer but its clear that people dont do stuff without a reason...why else would we have a brain? oops i talked too much, but very interesting thoughts you have there.

Snapfish said...

Hi Michael, I like your blog, i wouldn't say your a pessimist, i just think you're very 'real' you see people for what they are and yes, these things people do, are ANNOYING, :-) I think my blog is more on how to actually cope with these annoyances...everything annoyed me!, so learning to chill out and using techniques to unwind really mellowed me.

JoJO a. said...

Ah.. that is the question. Well I think we all do things because we want to get ahead. Life is an ongoing fight of the fittest... at least that's how I see it. I don't particularly agree with the concept though...

Scenario - You have an interview, you're running late, you need to climb a set of stairs before reaching the place of meeting... there's an old lady blocking your way. Do you help her climb because of your good nature or because you have an interview?

And if, at the end, you both have climbed and reached your destination, does it matter why you helped?

(taking philosophy classes does that to a person.. the whole questioning :)

Douglas said...

I think everyone does things for selfish reasons. Even the acts we see as altruistic have a selfish motivation, in my opinion. They are done because it makes the person feel good about him/herself. In those cases, I think it would be rare for the person to be aware of his/her motivation.

DavesWaaagh said...

It's called Humnan nature I guess. Like any other animal we are deep down doing it for our own good and there is nothing we can do about it.

Its the same with the best thing in life, to have a best friend or partner, spend time with them and try and make each other happy, to in return be happy.