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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Motivation 101 via The Pawn

I finished reading Steven James' The Pawn and just have to hail the man as an incredible suspense writer. But he's also got some great psychological power behind his writing, and has clearly done a lot of research on disorders that he writes about (which makes them thrilling to read!).

FBI agent Patrick Bowers believes that there are only three primary motives, none of which are very helpful when it comes to solving a crime. (He's more into geospatial profiling rather looking at a criminal's motive and means.)

Desire: fame, sex, money, power, revenge, lust, greed, envy, jealousy, ambition
Anger: (a given, according to these FBI agents)
Guilt: regret, shame, remorse

Then the psychological profiler, Lien-hua, (who is all about determining motive), says that she thinks there are two additional--more important--motives that Patrick missed. She reveals the first one:

Fear. She says fear can turn you into a different person and make you do things you'd never do when you're pushed into a corner.

Patrick spends a lot of the novel trying to determine the fifth. I found myself highlighting all their interactions regarding this illusive fifth motive.

He guesses survival, to which Lien-hua responds is the desire to live. Then he tries betrayal. Lien-hua says that you betray someone because of desire, and you respond to betrayal with anger. Patrick's next guess is curiosity. Lien-hua says that curiosity is desire to know what the crime will feel like or how it will affect you. Patrick then guesses psychosis and depression, both of which Lien-hua say are conditions, now motivations. They might precipitate or increase the likelihood of certain behaviors, but they don't motivate the actual behavior.

Patrick then internally dismisses the idea of honor and vanity as forms of desire. He likewise dismisses duty as the desire to please and integrity as the desire to be virtuous. He next guesses remorse, to which Lien-hua responds, "That's just another name for guilt."

He never does manager to guess it correctly and Lien-hua ends up telling him. It rocks his little FBI world. but before I go further....

...can YOU guess the fifth motive?

Be sure to check back at the end of the day. If no one guesses Motive #5 correctly, I'll post the answer around 6 p.m. PST (9 p.m. EST).

Wordle: signature


Stephanie Lorée said...

Fear is a great and often overlooked motivational tool. I'm reminded of Machaivelli's "The Prince" wherein he explains that when motivating your populace, " is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both."

And I thought long and hard about the 5th motive and came up with zilch. I thought, maybe, grief or sadness, but that generally relates to a desire to eliminate the sadness. So I'm not sure.

Curious to find out!

Joelle said...

I wonder if it might be love, though perhaps Lien-hua would simply consider that a type of desire?

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

Joelle - you nailed it! it IS love, according to Lien-hua.

Stephanie - that quote is VERY interesting...look how closely fear and love are intertwined. Stephen James goes into some detail about this in this book....but of course I couldn't mention that or it would give away the 5th motive! :)

thanks for playing along ladies. looks like you were the only ones!

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.