2 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
    1. certainly surrounding oneself with acircle of people who will listen and t a l k - - a n d at times theyhave to be imaginary characters--is one of them

      Intellectual work requires "surfaces" to work against, almost as an exact analogy to substrates in chemistry which help to catalyze reactions. The surfaces may include: - articles, books, or other writing against which one can think and write - colleagues, friends, family, other thinkers, or even imaginary characters (as suggested by C. Wright Mills) - one's past self as instantiated by their (imperfect) memory or by their notes about excerpted ideas or their own thoughts


      Are there any other surfaces we're missing?

  2. Sep 2021
    1. The phenomenon of work for its own sake is familiar enough to all of us, when the timing is controlled by the worker himself, when "work" is not defined as referring alone to activity imposed from without. Intellectual work may take the form of trying to understand what Robert Browning was trying to say (if anything), to discover what it is in Dali's paintings that can interest others, or to predict the out- [p. 247] come of a paperback mystery. We systematically underestimate the human need of intellectual activity, in one form or another, when we overlook the intellectual component in art and in games. Similarly with riddles, puzzles, and the puzzle-like games of strategy such as bridge, chess, and go; the frequency with which man has devised such problems for his own solution is a most significant fact concerning human motivation. It is, however, not necessarily a fact that supports my earlier view, outlined above. It is hard to get these broader aspects of human behavior under laboratory study, and when we do we may expect to have our ideas about them significantly modified. For my views on the problem, this is what has happened with the experiment of Bexton, Heron, and Scott (5). Their work is a long step toward dealing with the realities of motivation in the well-fed, physically comfortable, adult human being, and its results raise a serious difficulty for my own theory. Their subjects were paid handsomely to do nothing, see nothing, hear or touch very little, for 24 hours a day. Primary needs were met, on the whole, very well. The subjects suffered no pain, and were fed on request. It is true that they could not copulate, but at the risk of impugning the virility of Canadian college students I point out that most of them would not have been copulating anyway and were quite used to such long stretches of three or four days without primary sexual satisfaction. The secondary reward, on the other hand, was high: $20 a day plus room and board is more than $7000 a year, far more than a student could earn by other means. The subjects then should be highly motivated to continue the experiment, cheerful and happy to be allowed to contribute to scientific knowledge so painlessly and profitably. In fact, the subject was well motivated for perhaps four to eight hours, and then became increasingly unhappy. He developed a need for stimulation of almost any kind. In the first preliminary exploration, for example, he was allowed to listen to recorded material on request. Some subjects were given a talk for 6-year-old children on the dangers of alcohol. This might be requested, by a grown-up male college student, 15 to 20 times in a 30-hour period. Others were offered, and asked for repeatedly, a recording of an old stock-market report. The subjects looked forward to being tested, but paradoxically tended to find the tests fatiguing when they did arrive. It is hardly necessary to say that the whole situation was rather hard to take, and one subject, in spite of not being in a special state of primary drive arousal in the experiment but in real need of money outside it, gave up the secondary reward of $20 a day to take up a job at hard labor paying $7 or $8 a day.

      Seems that the author is saying that as long as we are choosing to work, we will pick that over other things.

      An experiment that was done by Bexton, Heron, and Scott where they paid college students (around 20$) to do nothing, showed that at first those students were content for a period of time, but that the longer they did nothing the less happy they became. Then they would start asking for some sort of stimulation (music, talking to others etc.). These students found this very fatiguing, and some actually left the experiment giving up the 20$ a day! I think this shows that we as humans need interaction of some sort, we need some sort of stimulation to keep our brains active and happy, give it something to focus on.