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Home Library Tutorials Neurohacking Tutorial 5 - Improving & Augmenting N1 & N2 - Motivation, Coercion and Unconditional Positive Regard
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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 01:01
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 5 - Improving & Augmenting N1 & N2
Stress And Relaxation in Rear Networks
Growth And Development vs Protection Modes
What Happens If Things Go Wrong
Cells That Fire Together Wire Together
Motivation, Coercion and Unconditional Positive Regard
NHA Guide to Methods and Tech
Hacks and Exercices
Notes, References & Answers
All Pages

 


Motivation, Coercion and Unconditional Positive Regard


Incongruity Reloaded

You were introduced to Carl Rogers' personality theory and incongruity in tutorial 4. Incongruity is the dissonance between biology's “real self” and society's “ideal self”. We will expand on that here.

 


Incongruity happens whenever biology's needs and society's wants contradict each other.


Like & Dislike - Dodgy Programming

A great deal of science research tells us that organisms know what is good for them. Evolution has provided creatures with the senses, the tastes, the discriminations and instincts they need, if they are allowed to develop as intended. If we are healthy that’s what good and bad ‘tastes’ are – our own and our culture's likes and dislikes should be our evolutionary lessons made clear. Rogers calls this organismic valuing.

If left to their own devices, with examples from intelligent elders, animals will tend to eat and drink things that are good for them, and consume them in balanced proportions. Babies, too, want and like what they need. However, all our senses need to be calibrated by experience via correct expression of our genomes in response to correct trigger signals, otherwise our associations with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ will be false.

Although throughout our history humans have created much that is good and that has helped us to survive and thrive, anxiety has created the societies whose tendency towards lifestyles for ourselves are significantly harmful to both body and mind. In these lifestyles are such things as refined sugar, corn, burgers, cola and so on, that our ancestors throughout evolution never knew. Such things are currently introduced to most of us as children right when we are calibrating our tastes, so we end up (mis)programmed to 'like' the flavors that are presented to us, they seem ‘good’, yet they do not serve our wellbeing biochemically, physically or mentally. This is how what you experience can hack you, and this is true of our habits, judgment, decisions and beliefs as well as our behavior, and you'll appreciate the efficacy of input control in all these areas for restoring biology's defaults.

Among the many things that we instinctively value when we’re healthy is positive regard from others, Rogers’ broad-spectrum term for things like love, affection, attention, nurturance, respect and so on. It is clear that mammal babies need love and attention. In fact, they become dysfunctional or die without it. They certainly fail to thrive (i.e. become all they can be).

We also value positive self-regard, that is, self-esteem, self-worth, a positive self-image, conscious and unconscious awareness that our own behavior has rectitude (is beneficial). We achieve this awareness via feedback -by experiencing the positive regard others show us over our years of growing up and throughout our lives, and experiencing our own successes in achieving our aims. Without this self-regard, we feel anxious, and again we fail to become all that we can be!

Our society also leads us astray with coercion into conditions of worth. As we grow up, our parents, teachers, peers, the media, and others, only give us what we need when we show we are “worthy,” (e.g. behave in ways they approve of) rather than in the ways intelligence needs. We get cola when we finish our class, we get something sweet when we finish our vegetables, and most importantly, we get love and affection if and only if we behave as they think is right. Often aware that they are wrong (but that you can’t explain why and anyway they won’t listen) many intelligent kids grow up wondering how the hell so many of these so-called adults failed to mature intelligently in such a spectacular fashion and why the hell they are in this society that thwarts motivation at every turn?

Many not-so-intelligent kids (and adults) don’t have enough awareness or imagination to consider anything different. And for those who have already lost motivation, the problem seems too huge to contemplate.

Society regards us positively only if we conform to its demands. Getting positive regard “on condition” is what personality theory calls conditional positive regard. Because we biologically need positive regard for mental health, coercion is very powerful, and we bend ourselves into behavior determined, not by our biological organismic valuing or our actualizing tendency, but by an anxiety-driven society that does not truly have our best interests at heart (“Well-meaning” and “for your own good” though it may think itself). A “well-behaved” little boy or girl in society’s terms is probably not a healthy and happy boy or girl (and may well be on Ritalin).

Over time, this “conditioning” leads us to judge ourselves with conditional positive self-regard as well. We begin to ‘like ourselves’ only if we meet up with the standards other people or society have applied to us, rather than if we are truly actualizing our potentials. And since these standards were created ‘one size fits all’ without keeping each individual in mind, more often than not we find ourselves in an unworkable system and unable to meet them, and therefore unable to maintain any constancy of self-esteem. This affects the neurotransmitters in our brains, causing chemical imbalance, and depression becomes a danger. Society demands an ‘ideal self’ that is at odds with our real self; our biological self, and this always leads to incongruity.

Current research is just beginning to bust the myth of coercion being necessary for learning. Understanding the neurotransmission cycle necessary for learning has taught us that motivation must be based on genuine survival benefits. Financial gain not only fails to improve interest in a task –it appears to shut down the desire to learn altogether (9).

The recognition that artificial ‘rewards’, grades, payments and punishments have counter-productive effects is now widely accepted among psychologists. Such findings bust the myths that money is an effective way to motivate people and that any activity is more likely to occur if it is rewarded.

A reward for doing something that is also intrinsically beneficial to survival does not reduce intrinsic motivation. It is only when the rewards are based on performing a task biology rates as ‘harmful’ that motivation drops. This may surprise you, but people actually do inferior work and have mediocre learning skills when they are enticed with money, grades, or other non-biological incentives.

 


The Matrix Has You...?


People, in the course of actualizing their potentials, created culture. However, in the grip of disabling anxiety people have also created society.

In and of themselves, groups and group living are not a problem; We are optimally ‘group’ creatures, it is our nature to be cooperative and interactive. But when we created an anxiety-fueled society, it developed a life of its own, and many of our lives are now spent fueling it.

Some of you probably saw “The Matrix” movie. For those who didn’t: the “machines” in the movie used human beings as slaves to provide their own power, fooling the individuals into believing their lives were worthwhile and meaningful by maintaining an input of false reality to their minds. If you watched that movie and got deja-vu, or if that story gives you the creeps, consider this: A society based on anxiety uses human beings as slaves to provide its own power, fooling the individuals into believing their lives are worthwhile and meaningful by maintaining an input of false reality to their minds.

 

This is exactly what anxiety does.

 

Culture is deeply interactive and beneficial and includes the passing on from one generation to the next the collective group knowledge and experience; artistic, historic, scientific, practical, technical, creative etc. It remains close to and works with biology because it’s relevant to our survival and thriving. An anxiety based society however isn’t.

Rather than remaining close to and working with our biology, anxiety-society became a force in its own right, invented synthetic claims (e.g. “its evil to have sex unless you’re married” (‘married’ being a category it also invented)), and taught these claims as facts, creating fertile ground for incongruity.

We see no hope for intelligence in immersing itself in this system and just ‘putting up with it’ via nonaction. We can see the results on the health of those who do that in the latest depression, alzheimers, ADHD and crime figures (or by watching the news).

Using reward or punishment to coerce people into behaviors biology doesn’t like can never produce anything more than temporary (conditional) obedience, often kicking off the equal but opposite reaction of ‘if I don’t get rewards then I won’t obey’. In fact, the more society uses artificial incitement and coercion to try to motivate people, the more they will lose motivation and interest in what they’re being bribed to do. Incitement is not anything like as much fun as excitement (10).

Rewards and punishments are both coercion, and coercion slows intelligence down. What is needed is the alternative to controlling people -and it's not ignoring people; it's going with them and helping them to do what they want to do; nurturing their exploration of whatever intelligence is compelling them to do.

This is the difference between natural learning and coercion: it is the difference between inspiration and force; conditional and unconditional worth, and the problems for self esteem become obvious when biology needs us to be thinking, “I'm getting this reward (resource) because others recognize the value of my abilities and my competence, I have lived up to my own standards and my own real self is what is valued”, and society needs us to be thinking, “I’m getting this reward because I've been “good” (e.g.,done what somebody else told me to do, lived up to their standards and become their ‘ideal’.”)

Society’s basic strategy for raising children, teaching students, and supervising workers is based on conditional positive regard and an underlying unequal distribution of power. Do what we say and you'll get something nice, do what we forbid and you’ll get something nasty. Most adults try to ‘train’ young people in much the same way they try to train animals, and with similar results –the product is a dependent, clingy, immature organism with no autonomy and no mind of its own.

While manipulating people with threats and incentives seems to work in the short run, it ultimately fails and even does lasting harm. Our intelligence will not fully develop until we learn the difference between forced compliance through anxiety and natural learning through desire.

 



Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 18:10