The Psychology of Motivation


Man in search of satisfaction, in conformity on that point with any form of life, has developed across his evolution a remarkable tool: spirit.

Spirit is the evolved form of the preconscious animal spirit : instinct. It is through the work of spirit on material, sexual, and spiritual desires, sources of his satisfactions and basement of psychic life, that these same desires are raised to the level of motives of action.

An improvement of lucidity with respect to the causes and effects of nurtured desires should allow the selection of valuable desires: realizable and sane.

But desires, either of material kind (own fortune, power, etc…), of sexual kind (including the link of souls with partner and children), or of spiritual kind (need for personal improvement), too often escape our conscious lucidity. Psychic suffering results from the too wide gap between our desires and reality. Imagination presents us with unrealizable or insane desires, endless multipliable. Imaginative pre-satisfaction erases real obstacles, therefore perverting the positive function of imagination.


Human vanity is the very origin of this blindness for the authentic promises of satisfaction of desires. Vanity manifests itself in principle by over-valorization as well as under-valorization of oneself, others, and life as a whole. The resulting inner disharmony generates anguish and suffering, failures and violence.

Vanity (with the meaning of « vain » but also “void” according to the latin etymology), is a weakness intrinsinc to human nature. It takes extremely pernicious and labile shapes, producing the false motivations by which the human being tries to deny his responsibility from the pleas overburdening him, be it in escaping reality (evasions) or in producing rationalizing justifications of his erroneous motives (false justifications). Escapes concern the three drives, material, sexual and spiritual. False justifications embody themselves along lines of strengths called the four categories of false motivation: vanity (self over appreciation), and its legal consequence, excessive guilt (self depreciation), are projected upon the external world in accusation (depreciation of the other), leading to sentimentality (over appreciation of the other). Escapes and false justifications are therefore uncoverable thanks to the introspective method established by Paul Diel.





                                   Inner World       Outer World


Over-esteem                 Vanity                Sentimentality



                                    Exalted Guilt       Accusation





Two psychic deformations may constitute, as consequences of escapes and false justifications:




- Neurosis: overtension of the subject towards a pseudo-ideal of life exceeding his real abilities. The neurotic imposes to himself an exalted task, a project of exceptional achievment; he stays tense in a moralizing attitude leading in reality to inhibitions and failures. Neurosis can worsen into psycho-neurosis.



- Banalization: overdiversification of the subject into multiple desires and unleashed chase of exterior material and sexual pseudo-satisfactions leading to the destruction of authentic sense of guilt (reponsibility) by need of justification. Whereas neurosis is the illness of spirit, banalization is according to the symbolic expression of judaic an christian myths the death of the soul, threat for culture and civilization. A term introduced by Diel, banalization is quite current, as implied by its meaning. It is a state sometimes mistaken for the norm. But, be it conventional banalization (doing as others do), titanic banalization (ruling others at any price), or dyonisiac banalization (debauchery of all desires), this state leads to nothing else than the loss of vital impulse and family and social conflicts.




Fruit of evolution, man is a half-conscious being. His impulse towards improvement finds its achievment in the work of harmonization of desires, work implying the dissolution of subconscious and insane desires, material, sexual and spiritual subject to vanity. The insane desires lead only to insoluble contradictions and an anguish of disorientation.

The Four Categories of False Motivation

(Picture:  Medusa, Beheaded by Perseus)

(Picture: The punishment of Ixion symbolizes the suffering of the neurotic)

(Picture: The Chimera symbolizes the perversion of the three pulsions)