3. Human Motivation

All of life is defined by the decisions we make based on the innate values of our species and modified by our personal preferences. What separates ongoing sustainability from the decline and collapse of organizations, societies, and nations is making decisions that add sustainable value to the present and future circumstances of our personal lives, families, and the organizations that support the society we live in.

The timeless values, (life, quality of life, growth, equality; and the Value-Emotions of empathy, compassion, and “Love”) have sustained our species for over 200,000 years, approximately. Together, these values provide for a unifying interpretation of human motivation that is species-wide for all people of all races, cultures, ethnic groups, nations, and genders, in simple and complex societies.

My reflections about these values led me to make some generalizations about a two-tier unified theory of human motivation. These values act in us as a “need to” fulfill, urging us and prompting us to make an effort to fulfill those values. These generalizations relate to individuals specifically, and to all individuals generally.

Generally, all individuals are motivated to fulfill the first tier, the primary values, (life, quality of life, growth, and equality), using their own interpretations to develop their personal set of needs. In the second tier, individuals are further motivated to interpret the fulfillment of the primary values using the secondary Value-Emotions of our species, (empathy, compassion, and “Love”). I suspect that the more socially evolved a person becomes, the more that these secondary values become evident. Those individuals who are less socialized compromise those values with the rationalization of their ego needs for personal aggrandizement and self-seeking conquest, or fear reactions.

My observations are that fear reactions express aggressively, defensively, or by withdrawal. Ego needs express as superiority, inferiority, or being neutral. Ego needs and fear reactions may express as seeking authority, control, and power; and, when those forms are insufficient to compensate for fear or ego needs, the individual may resort to the use of persuasions, usually in some form of money or sex, wealth or fame, violence, or all of these. If these observations are anywhere close to describing human motivation on the individual level and representative of the generalized state of a society and culture, those observations may go a long way as predictors of social, political, and economic-financial responses; and can be used as a rough guide to estimate the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, cultural, social and spiritual maturity of that society and culture.

Due to the irreducible, universal, and timeless nature of these seven values, they provide the basis for a value based “unified theory of human motivation.” Eponymously, this becomes the Raphael Unified Theory of Human Motivation.6  The closest reference to a values-based theory of human motivation found in an extensive Internet search was An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values, by Shalom H. Schwartz7. Schwartz lists ten values that I interpret as subordinate to the seven core values of social sustainability.

Understanding this values based theory of human motivation will help Progressives understand and gain powerful insights into social change for societies and how to semantically develop their arguments for programs that move communities toward social stability, i.e., peace through social evolution. The usefulness of this theory makes it understandable and easier to design sustainable social organizations, processes, option-development, choice-making, decision-making, and action-implementation that can be applied in any society in the world, today, or any time in the future. These seven values also provide the criteria for testing any existing social program, social activist agenda, and legislation.

The Raphael Unified Theory of Human Motivation provides the basis for an ideology and morality that support a functional democratic society. When Progressives devise options that make sense for citizen option-development and preference-making, we can anticipate that our communities and society will mature and make contributions to the sustainability of citizens.

6 - Raphael, Daniel 2015. Social Sustainability HANDBOOK for Community-Builders. p 28-30.
7 - Schwartz, S. H. (2012). An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1).

From New York Times Online, September 8, 2015

"In this country –
in Soviet times, in czarist times -
nobody thinks about the next generation".

VLADIMIR CHUPROV, an energy expert for Greenpeace Russia,
on exploration for oil and gas in the Arctic, which he opposes.