In any organism with sophisticated nervous system has the action and reward pathway to make sure the survival and procreation of the organism. The reward for such organisms is the experience of pleasure in doing these actions. So these pathways gives us pleasure by eating certain foods, by being in the company of friends and family, having sex with our loved ones. So all this becomes a primary motivation for human beings and animals. Even the anticipation of these actions brings pleasure to us. That is the reason why anyone in the absence of these things would sit and start day dreaming or recalling the memory of their happy moments a decade back to feel good about themselves. Nowadays these day dreaming are been replaced by constant scrolling in the mobile phones and having different experience every minute.
Inside our brain the dopamine is the neuromodulator which gives us the feeling of pleasure and goodness. A neuromodulator is the neuro-chemical which can activate large number of neural pathways in the brain. Dopamine secretion helps the person to feel pleasurable. It actually makes us feel that it is worth while to live our life, and on contrary a person in prolonged pain gets thoughts of self harming. So even though a human can do various actions throughout the day behind every action this dopamine secretion is the motivation. If an action doesn’t results in high secretion of dopamine with minimum effort, most probably we will give up that action sooner or later. That why doing intense physical activity is something most of us hate to do and sitting in a couch with mobile phones is what most of us will love. Because a person needs to spend a lot of calories in doing a physical activity to get a dopamine high instead of watching a movie, eating sweets or even watching porn to get it.
The social culture
The society has certain things that are deemed to be good and bad. Whenever someone does something good they get appreciated by the society and if they are bad they are getting punished. A person usually likes to do good things because that means it ensure social acceptance and being in a strong support from the community increasing the probability of the survival for that person. Eventhough adhering to the rules of the society means survival and social acceptance as the society becomes huge and complex this becomes difficult for anyone. There are various other factors like fear, anger, frustration can happen on the way which overpowers the dopamine crucuitary of being good and socially accepted. With the availability of abundance in substances to get high in dopamine a person will eventually would not get any motivation to deal with such complex social mechanism. People often takes other ways around like cheating, lies to get this social acceptance. Others might even get out of the society owing to the complexities that exists in it.
As the secretion of dopamine ensures the survival of the organism it also makes it selfish. It motivates a person to achieve to higher and higher degree of success to get more social acceptance and get rewards from the society. Anything a person believes in like - money, fame, kindness, compassion or power they will act accordingly. To give a example a dog will rush towards his owner whenever it see them after a while, a tiger will rush towards its prey in the wild to catch it. Now here both the physical actions are the same, the dopamine behind their actions are the same, both action will ensure the survival of that organism. But for the opposite person or the animal the results are totally different. In humans it becomes more complex to find out the direct intentions of a person. Like a person might get angry on the other out of compassion if the other one goes in a wrong direction and a person can use kindness as a way to willingly lead the other one towards wrong direction. The selfishness thus can really can be used to help the other or to destroy the other it comes down to the believes of that person.
The Path of Yoga
Here the yoga starts when the person realizes the shortcomings of his own beliefs. He tries to find deeper truths about himself and tries to change it from the fundamentals. The yoga sutras of Patanjali and other texts of yoga is an attempt to guide such a person towards his goal. There is a fear in lots of individuals about yoga that it will make them into a renounciate. But what it actually does is to create a distance for the person between him and his pattern and beliefs. It helps the person to see consequences of the action and to get the freedom of choice to do it or not. Even though it seems to be a simple thing to be achieved the difficulty in is to realize the our illusions because of our bias and to see the reality. Sometimes even if the person knows exactly the consequences of an action controlling the action is even more difficult. A person who tries to achieve such control usually struggles in all sorts of ways in life. It demands lots of physical and mental stability of the person. My teacher always says that it is easy for anyone to go downhill but every step towards uphill will be difficult and needs lot of patience and endurance.
Om Namah Shivaya
Thanks to my teachers