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Grasping the Locus

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

There is a concept which seeks to trace the source of human motivation. One is either motivated by an outside force or external locus, or one’s acts trace inwards to a locus set internal. Where does one’s every action spring from? Is it for the inner sense of goodness, the notion that an action is a benefit to society as a whole or just in pieces. Or, does one move to grasp the great reward: the million dollar mansion or the fame and love, the world’s respect? Indeed it is the locus which determines this and forms, at least for this author, a keenly formed arrangement of brightly colored circles. I have set this locus as my target.

I will not argue that the notion of the locus is incorrect. You will not read that the human animal is too complex for such a narrow device. Nor will you read that I feel the human mind is too compassionate for an external locus of control. Indeed I feel there is a valid perspective on the locus: of course it does exist; though, not as argued or at least at widely accepted. Instead I argue that the internal locus is the real motivator and that the external locus is only a minor device to serve the reluctant or those who crave a greater reward than initially offered. It is the internal locus that creates action and, if culled by those in crucial positions, can be utilized to exact a significant effect upon society.

The internal locus of control feeds on abstract concepts. The need for “doing good” for “pride” or simply “pleasure” rule the power stemming inside of all humans. One can argue that the internal locus is more worthwhile and valuable to the individual. Such a distinction stems as a difference from the external locus of control which functions with material goods as the basis of reward. With the external locus one moves to get the better item or the “X” device which gives them pleasure.

Though in this I see the distinction with the loci. The external locus is merely a step stone to the internal locus. Where does the true motivation lie if in having “Device X” or by possessing a greater amount of money one will function in whatever means it takes to earn these items? Is not a deeper sense of pleasure at play? It is not “Device X” that truly makes them move. Instead it is the status of possessing “Device X” that inspires action. Herein lies the great distinction. The external locus of control is merely the hidden material representation of the internal locus of control. In fact the only form of motivation comes from the internal locus of control which exists, for some, in hidden forms and concepts.

All human beings function with a desire for the abstract concept of “happiness”. Even our Constitution notes our right to pursue it, but by the very nature of its abstraction we fall victim to a maze-like game of hide-and-seek and find distorted forms in our toys, our cash or some assorted item. In possessing “Device X” we feel content and sense the rush of reward that comes from achieving a goal. This is real and purely human, but by the nature of our emotions we are unable to distinguish this quick fix high of feel good with a deeper sense of purpose which suggests a purpose to existence. This is evident in the incessant craving for the newest device. We see lines form outside retail stores on the night before a device is released to stores. Indeed our chase for happiness sends us out in mad-man panic with our patience disregarded as we hunt and stalk the newest burst of instant feel-good action.

This is sad, but oh so common and understandable. We are programmed for this reaction and the deeper internal locus is far harder to achieve. It takes time and work to have a sense of purpose. We must move beyond our comfort zone and likely violate the norms on which our society is formed. We are a culture that celebrates the instant pleasure pulse, “Just relax,” they’ll say or “You take yourself too seriously,” and some will falter. Some will fall back to the couch and grip the credit card and make a purchase. There is an instant high inside the external locus of control, one deeply enriched by our culture and society. The external locus is an essential one; indeed our capitalistic system derives a significant portion of power from these quests for instant pleasure.

There is; however, a greater quest to ponder. In order to feel happy, in order to have a sense that one has value in society, one must seek out the deeper rewards contained inside the internal locus of control. And while this is difficult and uncomfortable, one must pause and invest every drop of mental energy on the things that lie within. We all have these things. Inside our hearts there sits a sense of what determines the valuable life. They exist, but we have left them. Some have turned an eye away or mocked them as delusion or distraction. Though in disregarding these items one is not an oddball; indeed, such actions are expected and the normal mode of behavior. There is a challenge in seeking out the internal locus of control. One must swap the mode of thinking and slide from disregarding inner desires for the trends contained in culture to the mode of focusing on the higher goals and twisting a turgid blind eye towards the million eyes and voices which would rather see one stupid and distracted.

This is the task that I have charged you, dear reader. It is your homework to consider the deeper needs within you and move to make them real. You are the only one left. You are the only piece still on the board.

But what about causation. How did we get here? Whose responsibility is it to establish a system where the higher goals are what society pursues. I do not blame our government, our artists or the vague collection of “authorities” who function in our world with power and yet continue to function in such a sad, distorted system. Instead the fault lies with the critics. In those who dare to express an opinion on what defies our culture there lies a significant finger of blame. It is here I point my finger.

I lie all blame with those who hold a power over the distribution of culture to our youth. In those who say what’s good and fill our numerous media channels there lies a responsibility to distinguish between a healthy pursuit and a move for silly pleasure. Our critics must center some splinters of criticism on the value of the goals expressed inside the form of artwork under consideration. If a song is catchy, so be it. Reward it with a glowing review, but one must note the message of the material. Does it advertise a stupid goal of silly temporary pleasure? Let us call out bad art on the floor and offer our youth a note on what is shallow and what is silly to consider.

Our art has grown too shallow. It is the critics responsibility to assert the distinctions among human functions. One’s pursuits can be evaluated and if a work of art advertises moves to simple pleasure, let us call them out. We need no longer disregard the shallow art. In doing so we further confuse our perspectives on what determines the values of life. Until we recognize the cheap thrills of the external locus and gear our brains to pursue the harder rewards of the internal locus we are only creating a system where people are unhappy and lost inside our maze of cheap thrill pleasures.

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