2006/04/05

[Reading] Psychology

Questioning my own sanity is like playing with fire: I shouldn't but always do...
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Finding some (many!) counter-strike videos on Google after having read some blogs with comics, I thought a bit about the time spent world wide playing video-games, drawing or writing for blogs, reading books, composing or playing music for fun: so much energy, so much potential. People with a full belly are creative, but this creativity in many case is lost and dissipated. What incredible progress could reach a country or culture, if it could motivate and passionate its citizens for advanced science and engineering? As often, my mind wanders and my intelect is hungry and I hunt on the net to feed it. This time I looked for "Motivational Psychology". Psychology articles are using a specific vocabulary which makes them difficult to read for commoners. Nick Yee wrote some nice popularisation articles about the addiction to Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games, which might in my opinion be partially extended to games in general, but he does not treat the motivation theme too deeply. It pushed me to read some books about behaviorism, but I was a bit disapointed. I found another article with readable material (once passed the boring introduction) here. Some sayings are trivial, and some are not, here is an excerpt:
The healthy, normal, fortunate adult in our culture is largely satisfied in his safety needs. The peaceful, smoothly [p. 379] running, 'good' society ordinarily makes its members feel safe enough from wild animals, extremes of temperature, criminals, assault and murder, tyranny, etc. Therefore, in a very real sense, he no longer has any safety needs as active motivators. Just as a sated man no longer feels hungry, a safe man no longer feels endangered. If we wish to see these needs directly and clearly we must turn to neurotic or near-neurotic individuals, and to the economic and social underdogs. In between these extremes, we can perceive the expressions of safety needs only in such phenomena as, for instance, the common preference for a job with tenure and protection, the desire for a savings account, and for insurance of various kinds (medical, dental, unemployment, disability, old age). Other broader aspects of the attempt to seek safety and stability in the world are seen in the very common preference for familiar rather than unfamiliar things, or for the known rather than the unknown. The tendency to have some religion or world-philosophy that organizes the universe and the men in it into some sort of satisfactorily coherent, meaningful whole is also in part motivated by safety-seeking. Here too we may list science and philosophy in general as partially motivated by the safety needs (we shall see later that there are also other motivations to scientific, philosophical or religious endeavor). (http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm)
I have similar notions about the search for more stability to be able to satisfy other hungers (artistic, long term view), but my friend Mirela was strongly arguing that this search was unnatural and unrealistic, making me doubt my own sanity. Now I feel as happy as a puppy finding my thought expressed by a professional psychologist.

2 comments:

Lara said...

Hello-oh! It's been a long long time since I passed here... ^^
I just wanted to answer by two little things...
First I like ephemeral creativity... To my mind, it looks like the life... it just happens... and all we can do is enjoy the moment...
And then ;) there is a whole area in psychology (cognitive psychology) which studies the motivation and the way it modifies cognitive abilities.

jyby said...

I also like ephemeral creativity in art, but in video games the creativity displayed by the player is in my opinion more than ephemeral. Even the ephemeral creativity of role playing has found its way in the litterature ("Chroniques de la lune noire" for instance, but even all the books describing full new worlds). For video games, the creativity cames from the game makers (sometime), but rarely from the players...

Cognitive psychology is much larger than motivation psychology, and I have yet to find a convincing and adequate reading on this particular combination of concepts. From what I understood, cognitive psychology is much more about the conscious part of the mind, when in my opinion much of our motivations are uncounscious...