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What drives us?

October 24, 2010

Eva posits two questions here (What guides us, what drives us) in response to Dalit’s questions here (Is planning possible at all for someone with an “attitude of tolerance of ambiguity”? Is it really a necessary first step?).

These are all good and complex questions, each worthy of long thought and answers.  I will address the “What drives us”? question in this post.

Firstly, I can’t speak for what drives others. At best, I could attempt to find a theme or pattern amongst the responses if others decided to state what drives them.  In the absence of that, I can only speak for what drives me.

Secondly, I am driven in several directions. I am driven by care for others, desire to be a good citizen, the basic needs of life, etc. In the area of learning, what drives me is an urge to learn as much as I can about different matters.  I want to know about things, and what other people think.  I want to understand how things work, why they work the way that they do, and ultimately, to find an answer to the question:  Why are we here?

It is entirely possible that I will never be able to answer that latter question.  It is possible that that the only answers to that question are found in beliefs, and not in some other fashion.  Perhaps the answer is, as Eva suggests, located with the guidance of a God. If that is the case, then I can plan to find the answer, and guidance will be provided by the Other.  This reliance on the Other does conflict with my thinking that I can find the answer for myself, if I take off the blinders that I have been conditioned to see through.  On the other hand, as Scott says here,  “People can’t live outside the care of others–how do we describe that condition?”  Perhaps I cannot find the answer I seek without reliance on others, and the Other?

It is probable that science will continue to attempt to answer my ultimate question, and provide different theories as time unfolds. That is all well and good, but science moves at its own pace, and I have my own timeline to consider, and I need to find answers now, not rely on science to do so, in it’s own time.  And science may provide the wrong answers, after all.

What drives me then, is the desire to know. I must know the purpose of life; I must know why life is. I am driven to that question, knowing that I may never be successful in answering it. This quest to know is what drives me. It drives me to seek more education, to participate in MOOCs (I hate that acronym!), to blog, to read, to write. And of course, to share what I find out.

Part of me agrees with Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but God directs his steps”.  I think the heart of man creates his desires, so that planning is in effect the same as desire. My heart desires the answers I noted above, and if Proverbs is right, guidance will be provided.  Sometimes I sense that this occurs, those serendipitous/synchronous type moments.


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  1. deadvocate permalink

    >And science may provide the wrong answers, after all.

    What would a ‘right answer’ look like? I think it must be an answer that, after observation, education, deliberation, and synthesization, works for me. One that I am happy with. Even if not everyone else agrees.

  2. Big questions that I suspect George didn’t intend to initiate. Think he meant more like something can be unresolved and still lead in the right direction (I’m not explaining that properly). We’ve moved to a small town where many long-term residents have internalized a map of their personal and family relationships to the point that it represents the extent of their known world. They are not curious (outwardly anyway) because they have achieved the end state of knowing where and by what path they are “here.” Closed system.

    Ambiguity to them is an artifact of childhood that is discarded as a person matures. To know so much that thinking becomes superfluous seems to me to be quitting the race without trying. Or trading comfort for life. I can’t see this as an intelligent application of our human powers to reach outside ourselves—it’s a false peace that MIGHT be necessary for the very troubled who are trying to shake off the daemons that make their life hell, but for the rest of us it is stasis.

    I don’t know if there are answers to the really big questions. That doesn’t make not seeking the answer an option.

    Thanks for adding this discussion to mix.

  3. Serendipity/fortune/Divine Direction: When a question needs to be answered, some people run across the person with the answer. Often, I stumble across the book, article or website. PLENK has been one of those fortunate chances. Enjoy.

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