Rethinking MOTIVES

One Essay on Change is posted each consecutive Sunday. The choice of which is decided either by requests made on the Contact Page and/or immediate relevance to current events.

Tonight, 03/23/14, I’m following through on a promise made in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I told Barrister Brendon Moorhouse, a reported Sherlock of the Courtroom, that I’d respond to this important question on this website with my perspective. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the 64 UPSG Essays. However, I’ve waited until the following week because the companion Essay on Motives speaks more closely to the subject of investigating crimes, white collar as well violent ones.

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18. MOTIVES

“Although the feelings mentioned above [sadness, pessimism, guilt, emptiness] may accompany a depressed mood, the most prevalent effects usually involve low energy and lack of motivation. . . An effective way of lifting these moods involves using music to activate our resources.” — John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology

“It occurred to me that the only way to figure out what had happened at a crime scene was to understand what had gone on inside the head of the principal actor in that drama: the offender. And the only way to find that out was to ask him. . . If we could give the law enforcement community some insights into the process, the internal logic, of how violent offenders actually decide to commit crimes and why they come up with their choice of crimes — where the motive comes from — then we could provide a valuable tool in pointing investigators toward what for them must be the ultimate question: Who? Stated as simply as possible: Why? + How? = Who.” John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive

“On some level, you are meditating all the time. One goal of meditation practice is to become aware of that. Another is to extend that awareness to more and more areas of your life. . . It takes practice and conscious effort to restructure the mind and move it from habitual patterns.” – Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health

 THE FRONT

The root of motive means to move. Webster’s single definition refers to “some” inner drive, impulse, or intention that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way. It’s an incentive or goal.

Motive, purpose and intent explain human behavior. Unless viewed as a whole, what we see is taken out of context and misunderstood. You see a man take someone else’s car. That’s intent, the what. You see him grab the keys and drive off. That’s purpose, the how. But unless you know his motive, why he did it, the picture is incomplete. Was he desperately racing to save his beloved child’s life, escaping from vengeful gang lords, or simply lusting after a fancy new car?

We’re fascinated by crime. Mystery novels, detective movies and sensational murder stories on TV news are big business. We stretch our minds to second-guess the ending, figure out who committed the crime, and why. We look for the mistakes that reveal dark secrets and lead to the criminal’s undoing. We’re satisfied only when truth is revealed and order is restored by justice.

At heart, what we’re really trying to understand is ourselves. We’re haunted by a pervasive sense of wrongs committed against us, or by us. We can’t quite bring ourselves to recognize what they are, or to admit our own mistakes. But a nagging sense of unfinished business leaks out as voyeurism.

Ultimately, it’s the stifled voice of conscience that persistently calls us back to our neglected dreams and deepest longings for fulfillment. Those who allow themselves to be defined by others, who live in habitual fear of people’s opinions and fail to honor their inner sense of calling commit a soul-searing violence akin to suicide. The crime they commit is against their own true selves.

Failing to be true to oneself can be the hardest crime to detect. Finding one’s true calling can be the greatest mystery of all. People who march to others’ drums, unconscious of their motives and what moves those around them, live in painful confusion. Only those who know how to listen and dance to the inner music of their soul’s desire live in joyful harmony with themselves and the world around them.

 The I Ching is a means for turning the camera around, focusing in on ourselves. Uncovering hidden motives might cause initial discomfort. But it can lead to positive changes. After analyzing them, we have the option to decide on better ways to accomplish intentional ends.

Our what and how isn’t always appropriate to our why. Other solutions may accomplish our goals without committing crimes against ourselves and others.

 THE BACK

The opposite of motive is motiveless, to be without awareness of calling, any conscious purpose, or impulse to action. This condition is sometimes an extreme reaction to an extended period of frenzied, excessive, forced action. People experience it as apathy, shell shock or burn out.

 When crazed criminals go on sprees, kill strangers and wreak havoc on public property, their acts are regarded as random and senseless. To all but the most highly attained, the subtle laws of cause and effect are incomprehensible. There’s wisdom in accepting the unfathomable as Job did, saying, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.“

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John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology. (Samuel Weiser: ME, 1997.) p. 7.

John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive. (Scribner: New York, 1999.) pp. 25-26.

Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health. (audio cassette, Upaya,1997.)

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Illustration from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide

 

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