Table of content
- 1 Find your drive – The seven motivators
- 2 Motivation gives direction and power
- 3 Masculine and feminine energies
- 4 Differences in purpose, qualities and motivation
- 5 Conficts between love and will
- 6 Conficts between imagination, logic and passion
- 7 Sensitive and dedicated love
- 8 Differences in the expression of will
- 9 Different forms of discipline
- 10 Creative and practical types
- 11 Mental and practical types
- 12 Attitudes to the law and confict
- 13 Money and the sensitive and mental types
- 14 The four quadrants and motivation
- 15 Exercise: what motivates you?
Find your drive
– The seven motivators
To recap, the Seven Types is a model of typology based on the concept of psychoenergetics, according to which the universe and everything in it is composed of energy. Furthermore, this foundational energy can be divided into seven types – similar to how light can be divided into seven colours. So we can say that everything is comprised of energy, including our own selves. Another key concept of the Seven Types model is that the human psyche is comprised of five psychological levels – body, feeling, thought, personality and soul – with a different type of energy being dominant at each of the levels. This chapter looks at some of the difficulties involved in identifying these dominant types – and I will explain how an understanding of our underlying motivations and values can help.
Let me give an example to illustrate how an understanding of motivation can help us to distinguish between types. The dynamic type might exhibit the same behaviour as the dedicated type – both are one-pointed, forceful and dominating – however, their respective underlying motivation is quite different. The dynamic type is motivated by a wish to obtain power and influence – and this applies no matter whether power is being expressed at the levels of body, feeling, thought, personality or soul. While the dedicated type is motivated by the need to pursue an ideal. So, while the outward behaviour might look similar in some respects, the underlying motivation is different. However, we will also be able to observe clear differences between the types – in this case, we can observe that the dedicated type is highly emotional, while the dynamic type tends to suppress emotion.
To the untutored eye, making sense of the similarities and differences between types is a challenge. To give an idea of what we will be looking for, Figure 20 lists the seven types and identifies one of the prominent qualities that motivates each.
Assagioli wrote about the difficulties in identifying the types and he explained how understanding the underlying motivation can help. In the following passage, he offers the example of the mental type (what he calls the active-practical type). Having described how the mental type uses action in his quest to attain a higher purpose, Assagioli (1983: 49) continues:
While this way of living is within reach of all, as we have said, there will still be a fundamental difference in this respect between the various types, for their motives for action are always different. In others, the stimulus to be active, to work, and to find expression in the external world is not primary and spontaneous; this stimulus is possessed by or, even better, it possesses the active-practical type. So, for the will type [i.e. dynamic], the impelling stimulus to act is ambition; for the love [i.e. sensitive] type, it is love for his family, property or country; for the idealistic [i.e. dedicated] type, it is devotion to some ideal, etc. This fact should be well understood to know others truly and to avoid the error of seeing all those who work actively and ceaselessly as belonging only to the active type. What constitutes the fundamental basis of this qualitative classification is the power of deep motivations that indicate the essential nature or “keynote” of the individual and not the external manifestations of these motives, which can be determined and conditioned by very diverse factors. The same type of activity can be induced by many motives, while the same motive can create completely different channels for its expression.
The essential point is that identifying an individual’s type cannot be deduced from that person’s actions or outward behaviour, but requires an understanding of his underlying “deep motivations”. In other words, we need to understand what motivates someone if we are to come to the right conclusion about their type – and this is particularly important when discriminating between types which are very alike. Assagioli (1983: 61) offers the following example, in which he compares the mental and analytical types: “The analytical scientific type is as fully alert to and acutely interested in the external world as the active- practical type [i.e. mental] but the motivations that arouse each one’s interest are completely different. The motivation of the active type is to make good use of things, while the scientific type is interested in phenomena per se, in knowing the structure and function of the cosmic mechanism both in its broad sweep and in its tiny details.”
Motivation gives direction and power
What is motivation? You know how it feels. Motivation is an inner power that energises us to do whatever we need to do; when we feel motivated, undertaking difficult tasks can be enjoyable. By contrast, when we don’t feel motivated, the same tasks become a chore and we have to draw upon all of our willpower and discipline to complete them, which is exhausting, our inner engine can stall, and we feel we have no energy for anything.
Another key point about motivation is that it is associated with value. Each of the types holds different values. For example, the dynamic type values influence and power, while the dedicated type values the pursuit of an ideal. Indeed, the dedicated type is so convinced of the importance of his values that he will pursue his ideal even when it has caused him to become isolated and to lose all his influence.
When we focus on those things that naturally motivate us, we will feel energised and alive. So it is important for us to understand our motivations, then we will be able to maximise our energy and achieve our goals.
Table 10 shows the qualities that motivate each of the seven types, both in a general sense and at the particular psychological levels of soul and personality. To take an example, the dynamic type is motivated by power – and this power can motivate in different ways. At the level of personality (ego), the motivation will be a self-centred desire for personal power; at the level of soul, the motivation will be a wish to use power for the welfare of humanity. The difference in how power is expressed is determined by the underlying value. In the case of personality, the underlying value is personal ambition, whereas at the level of soul the underlying value is the good of humanity. (Assagioli suggests that the value underlying the dynamic type is ambition, but I think this term is too general in that all the types have a sense of ambition, so in my model I am using the term “greatness” instead.)
The more we understand about our motivations and values, the more effective we will be in pursuing our goals and fulfilling our purpose, whether at the level of personality or soul. Through understanding our motivations, we can learn how to keep ourselves energised, meaning that when life feels difficult, we can keep going because we will know where to focus our attention and how to direct our energy.
The topic of motivation becomes complex when we take into account that a person has a dominant type at each of the five psychological levels – which means each psychological level is influenced by a different quality of motivation. As a consequence, our emotions and thoughts might be motivated by different qualities and values, which can leave us experiencing all sorts of inner ambivalences and conflicts, all of which need to be sorted if we are to understand ourselves through our combination of types (see Figure 21).
Let us consider the psychological level of the body. Our bodies differ according to our specific constitution, which in turn determines how we use and generate energy. Our dominant type at the level of body will determine the diet and sort of exercise that is best for us. For example, certain body types thrive on a rich diet and regular demanding exercise, while others value a lighter diet and gentler movement. It is similar at the level of emotion: some value calm atmospheres, while others are motivated by lively surroundings. And, at the level of mind, some might be motivated by working with detail, while others prefer to see the big picture. (We will look in detail at how the dominant types manifest at the levels of body, feeling and thought in chapters 9, 10 and 11.) At the levels of personality and soul, our underlying motivations and values reveal themselves in the form of our choice of profession, the way we live, and the manner in which we pursue personal and spiritual development. (This aspect of our typological make-up will be examined in detail in the next chapter.)
As mentioned, identifying your dominant type at each of the five levels is not easy, but observing our values and motivations at each of the five psychological levels will help. I suggest you take some time to consider your qualities at each level. You might like to seek help from a skilled typologist. The hard work is worthwhile because when we can identify our dominant types we can start to fully understand our personal typological DNA, and we can mature and grow as a result.
The following sections will help us to disentangle some of the complications we encounter in trying to observe our motivations and values.
Masculine and feminine energies
Motivation can have a masculine or a feminine quality according to the nature of the type. Of the seven types, the dynamic, mental, analytical and practical types are more masculine. Masculine types are mostly motivated by action and tangible results; they tend to be focused on the mind and are generally more interested in things than people. By contrast, the sensitive, creative and dedicated types are more feminine, being motivated by subjective values, such as relationships and psychological development, and they are more interested in people than things. However, it is important that we don’t confuse matters by falling into gender stereotypes: there are feminine and masculine energies in all genders.
The presence of competing feminine and masculine qualities is an example of one of the conflicts that can arise when trying to identify types – something commented on by Assagioli (1931b), who wrote:
The study of the qualities and methods of the different Rays is interesting and illuminating, but that of their vital relationships, of their harmonious or inharmonious interactions, of their difficulties of adjustment, is even more interesting, as it shows the source of many misunderstandings, antipathies and conflicts arising among men and points the way to their elimination.
In examining these relationships, we find that the Rays of alternate numbers are congenial to each other, while those directly following each other are apt to clash. We have an interesting analogy in the musical notes: For instance, C (do) E (mi) G (sol) make a perfect chord while C (do) and D (re) or F (fa) and G (sol) create a dissonance. Thus the First, Third, Fifth and Seventh Rays are harmonious to each other and represent a definite line of expression and development which may be broadly described as positive, masculine and mental, and the Second, Fourth and Sixth Rays have a corresponding affinity to each other and represent the negative, feminine, feeling and intuitive line.
To illustrate his point, Assagioli (1983: 53-54) offers the following example:
The artistic types are often sensitive to subtle psychic impressions; they are subject to telepathic phenomena, precognition etc. This sensitivity belongs not only to the creative-artistic type. The love type, with its marked receptivity, often possesses it and the same holds for the more mystical people of the devotional type. But those who belong to the will, practical, scientific and organisational types, who are more positive and objective, generally lack this sensitivity.
Differences in purpose, qualities and motivation
Those who work as psychosynthesis practitioners will often be called on to resolve conflicts that arise between the types – whether in the intra-personal or inter-personal field. These conflicts emerge because each type has a different purpose and is motivated by different values.
In this section, I will focus on some of the more common conflicts that arise between the types. Assagioli (1931b) highlighted some of these conflicts (my terminology in brackets):
We often find misunderstandings and conflicts between First [dynamic] and Second [sensitive] Ray individuals, representing the qualities of power and love and between Fourth [creative] and Fifth [analytical] Ray individuals represented for instance, by the artist and the scientist. The clash between the Sixth [dedicated] and Seventh [practical] Rays, between the man of devotion or the idealist, and the magician and ritualist is particularly acute.
Conficts between love and will
A conflict relevant to us all is the conflict between the sensitive and dynamic types, which is the duality of love and will. Assagioli wrote a great deal about the synthesis of love and will in his book The Act of Will, chapter 8. The fundamental problem, he said, is that the sensitive type has a lot of good will and a weak strong will, which means this type has good intentions without the power to manifest them. The opposite is true of the dynamic type – who has too much strong will and not enough good will – which means this type can be destructive in their relationships, acting like a bull in a china shop, which will ultimately lead to self-inflicted destruction. Assagioli (1974: 97) explained:
“The first task is to balance the love- will combination by increasing the proportion of the weaker function with respect to the stronger one. Emotional types, in whom love predominates, must see to the progressive development of the will and its increasingly active employment. Conversely, volitional types, those for whom the exercise of the will represents the line of least resistance, have to take particular care that the quality of love tempers and counterbalances its employment, rendering it harmless and constructive.”
To explain Assagioli’s terminology, emotional types are the sensitive, creative and dedicated types, while volitional types are the dynamic, mental, analytical and practical types. Further analysis of this conflict by Assagioli, and how to resolve it, will be offered in a subsequent chapter.
Conficts between imagination, logic and passion
The conflict between the artist (creative type) and the scientist (analytical type) arises due to a clash between the qualities of their respective functions: imagination and logic. The conflict can be expressed in this way – Which is most true: that which we can imagine or that which we can analyse through facts? Imagination opens the inner eye to subjective realities, while logic establishes a solid base by analysing objective data in detail. These two types operate in different psychological domains, with plenty of opportunity for conflict.
We should also mention the dedicated type, in whom we find a similar conflict, this time between religion and science. The dedicated type seeks metaphysical realities through faith, while the analytical type rejects faith as unscientific.
Wilber (1999b) describes how we can obtain a synthesis between the two types of cognition: subjective and objective. Wilber explains that there are objective facts which are perceived through the eye of the flesh (sensation analysed by logic); there are phenomenological facts which are perceived through the eye of the mind (thought and imagination); and there are spiritual or mystical facts which are perceived through the eye of Spirit (mystical perception through transcendence and devotion). When we can acknowledge all three modalities of perception, we have taken a first step towards the integration and synthesis of these diverse functions of the mind.
A similar conflict that can be seen in our culture is due to a clash between the energy of the practical type and the devotional (religious) energy of the dedicated type. The premodern longing of the dedicated type for paradise or nirvana – a transcendental heaven in which all hardships of the physical world are resolved – has dominated our culture for at least two thousand years. However, these dedicated energies have declined rapidly with the rise of modernism, which values the analytical and practical energies with their focus on science, economic growth and materialism. This shift in energies can be seen in how spirituality increasingly has a focus on the body, health and well-being, which is a clear expression of the practical energies – this is a shift towards God as immanent rather than transcendent. Little wonder these huge cultural shifts create conflict between people and groups which have different typological and religious temperaments.
Sensitive and dedicated love
The dedicated type is a blend of the dynamic and sensitive energies, a blend of will and feeling. Consequently, we will notice a similarity between dedicated and sensitive types, both of which are full of love, and it will be difficult to discriminate between the two unless we have a sense of the underlying values, motivations and qualities of love being expressed. Assagioli (1983: 75) notes that dedicated love tends to be domineering, insistent and conditional; he explains:
An accurate analysis reveals that what [dedicated types] “love” is often their subjective image of the ideal, whether it is a person, an idea or some kind of philanthropic work, as these are reflected in their minds and not as they are in reality. This is proved by their internal reaction and behaviour in certain situations -for example, when the person they venerate does not satisfy their expectations or when they discover gaps and limitations in their ideal.
This is rather different from the love [i.e. sensitive] type, and it offers us a clear way to distinguish one from the other in spite of their superficial resemblance. When the love type discovers the person he loves has previously unsuspected defects, or behaves badly, he is aggrieved by the knowledge but has no reaction against the person. They tend to excuse him and defend him, and immediately proceed to love him with greater intensity than before. The devotional type reacts with resentment in a similar situation. When the idealised person fails to live up to the peak of his expectations – which are often unreasonable and unattainable – he feels personally offended and does not wish to forgive or help him; his instinct is to turn against the cause of his disillusionment. (It is true that we sometimes find a mixed attitude and reaction in the same individual; this is due to the existence of mixed types, and to the fact that the combination of the love and devotional [i.e. dedicated] types is, fortunately, not unusual.)
The sensitive type is motivated by good relations, based on acceptance and mutual understanding, while the dedicated type is motivated by the pursuit of an ideal in terms of what we could be or achieve. The sensitive type is calm, open and nurturing; the dedicated type is fiery, passionate and intense.
Differences in the expression of will
The masculine types are, in different ways, all influenced by will – the mental type to a lesser degree, the dynamic, analytical and practical types to a greater degree. These different influences of will manifest in different ways of being and different underpinning motivations. Assagioli (1983: 78-79) explains (using his own terminology for the types):
When it is fully expressed, the organisational [i.e. practical] type demonstrates will and purpose, a clear mind, constructive activity and practical ability. These qualities make him similar to other types. He could be confused with them, or seem to be a mixture of them with no distinctive characteristics of his own. His will resembles that of the will [i.e. dynamic] type, his clear mind the scientific [i.e. analytical] type, his constructive activity the practical [i.e. mental] type; and yet he is different from any of them. The will type is principally interested in putting on a display of his power, or in dynamically and inflexible directing himself and others towards a precise goal. The organisational type, however, uses his will precisely, slowly and persistently in order to materialise his or another’s plan gradually. In common with the scientific type, he has a clear, exact mind but, while the former uses it largely with the purpose of discovering and knowing, he uses it with the purpose of doing – of attaining tangible results.
Mental types tend to exhibit skilful will, which is the strategic and tactical use of the mind, with its ability to attain concrete results through the smart use of all the psychological functions. This type usually lacks focus because they tend to avoid being direct, preferring to operate tactically, which can impede their dynamism and effectiveness. (Assagioli writes extensively about skilful will in this book The Act of Will, chapters 5-6.)
Regarding the dedicated type, Assagioli (1967b) acknowledges this type as containing a great deal of dynamic energy, explaining “desire is or has a dynamic energy that impels to action”. Accordingly, the dedicated type’s expression of will tends to be emotional in tone and, in some respects, blind due to its instinctive basis. But despite this difference in motivation, the dedicated type in practice will look similar to the other masculine types in exhibiting a one-pointed focus, discipline, endurance.
Different forms of discipline
Another way of considering the differences between types is to look at the different ways in which each type is able to apply discipline. In the following extract, Assagioli (1983: 80- 81) describes how different forms of discipline are motivated by different values:
“Discipline is not only a characteristic of the organisational [i.e. practical] type; the will [i.e. dynamic] and the idealistic [i.e. dedicated] types often manifest it even more energetically. In them, however, discipline assumes a different tonality or character. The discipline of the will type is hard, implacable and even cruel both when he applies it to himself and when he imposes it on others; but his sole aim is to achieve the willed result, with the maximum speed and competence and at whatever cost. The discipline that the idealistic type imposes on himself or others can be just as rigid and austere, but it has an ascetic character and purpose. His aim is to eliminate real or imaginary faults or “sins” and to purify the person, rendering him, presumably, more acceptable to and beloved by God; in a word, to save his soul. The discipline of the organisational type is generally more moderate and respectable in comparison with the others. His goal is to eliminate loss and waste of time, energy and materials, to avoid friction and establish in the end more productive cooperation.
From what has been said it is clear that while discipline is one of the characteristics or qualities of the will and idealistic types, it is in fact the central and specific means by which the organisational type operates and with which he reaches his goals. All his organisation and his order seem to be the product of both external and internal discipline. When the organism or organisation has grown to maturity and functions smoothly, this discipline ceases to be exercised from the outside and no visible pressure to reinforce it can be noticed; but discipline is there, intrinsically, in the form of tradition, habit or custom. This is demonstrated in the fact that when tradition declines, or when some new factor or situation compels a change in habit, the organisation can fall to pieces unless new infusions of discipline and order save it.”
We can add the observation that the analytical type expresses a mature discipline, as demonstrated by the inventor who is methodical and persistent in his search for the most suitable materials. In highlighting the value of persistence, Assagioli offers the example of Edison. Assagioli (1974: 29) writes:
Another kind of persistence is that exercised in spite of repeated failures. This is the secret of many successful inventors and scientists. It is said that Edison tried about two thousand substances before finding carbon wire for making his electric bulb. Let us think how much we owe him for this extraordinary persistence. He would have been well justified if he had given up the attempts at the thousandth or even the five hundredth trial.
Creative and practical types
All the types can be and are creators, but two of the types are especially creative due to their capacity for employing imagination and organisational skills. The creative type draws upon their openness and their desire for something totally new and joyful to happen, making full use of their attunement to the subjective world of the imagination. The practical type also wishes to see change and improvement in the world, but this type draws primarily on an efficient will in order to organise all the available resources. Assagioli (1983: 79) says of these types:
[The practical type] “is in a certain sense, a creator because new elements are born through his activity, but his method of working is quite different from that of the creative-artistic type. The difference can be expressed in the two words: to create, and to construct. True creation is a vital and mysterious process, initiated outside the ordinary field of consciousness. To construct, however, consists of consciously gathering materials, generally belonging to so-called inorganic matter, and assembling them into an objective structure. The creative type is generally a channel or voice for his superconscious, a receiver of inspiration from the realms of the intuition or the imagination, while the organisational type initiates his activity himself with clear awareness and deliberation, and carries it out methodically to a conclusion.
The creative type works from the inside out, while the practical type works more from the outside in, and we often find that highly creative people are a healthy combination of both these types.”
Mental and practical types
The mental and practical types can also be difficult to differentiate between because they are both active, intelligent and focused on the external world of culture, finance and science. However, according to Assagioli (1983):
The active-practical [i.e. mental] type is plastic, adaptable and even a little dishonest and meddling; the organisational [i.e. practical] type tends instead to be rigid and formalistic. The former tends to be independent and prefers to work alone; the latter prefers to work with or through others, assigning them tasks. The active type is exclusively interested in results and success and is quick to use whatever method seems to be effective. The organisational type tends instead to be interested above all in organisation for its own sake, which can become so important in his eyes that it can make him almost forget his object. The active type works in an active, aggressive, often disorderly manner; the organisational type works calmly at the centre, projecting future activity and registering and coordinating the results of previous activity.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two types is that the mental type seeks change, flexibility and new possibilities, while the practical types prefers stability, order, and a routine that upholds the structures they have worked hard to develop and sustain.
Attitudes to the law and confict
Someone’s attitudes to the law, or laws, and conflict reveals a lot about their underlying motivations and qualities, and this will help us to identify their type. Let us begin this section with a very interesting observation by Assagioli (1983: 80):
Another way of looking at the different attitudes of various types is by observing their reactions when confronted by a factor such as the law. The will [i.e. dynamic] type loves the law and is always ready to punish those who infringe it. The scientific [i.e. analytical] type is simply interested in discovering the existing laws of nature. The organisational [i.e. practical] type is interested in formulating laws with punctilious care, or in using them carefully for constructive ends. The active [i.e. mental] type seeks either to extract the maximum benefit from laws, or to dodge them skilfully. The creative type generally takes exception to those laws that he is aware of while unconsciously continuing his creative activity according to unknown laws that he does not fully understand.
There is a lot to ponder on here. Let me offer an example to help illustrate the motivations underlying the different types; let’s consider what happens in situations of conflict (a subject that is related to the law). What happens when the different types find themselves in conflict? The dynamic type will confront the opposing force directly, with a clear intention to defeat the other. The sensitive type will reflect deeply on the conflict, using empathy to try and understand the other’s perspective and using love to try and resolve the issue. The mental type will try to understand what motivates the other, then use skilful and powerful negotiation to try and resolve the conflict. The creative type will seek to bring balance by enacting the different emotional qualities in the conflict, sometimes creating a drama to bring the underlying tensions to the surface in the hope that all parties can be heard and a peaceful resolution found. The analytical type will focus on the facts and suggest a solution that is fair, objective and agreeable to all parties. The dedicated type will focus on what is right from a moral perspective, urging people to tune into their ideals to try and solve the problem, and if this doesn’t work then they will fight for what they believe is right. The practical type will focus on the end result, i.e. on what needs to be done so that all parties might be reasonably satisfied, perhaps using his diplomatic skills to create alliances that will unite opposing factions.
Money and the sensitive and mental types
This last section will explore the different underlying motivations of the types in their approach to money. In this quote, Assagioli focused on the mental and sensitive types (1983: 40):
We generally find, that the active [i.e. mental] type anxiously pursues activities for gain and is concerned with prosperity and material success. In this respect he can resemble the love [i.e. sensitive] type, but close observation reveals an important difference between the two; the love type wants money and other possessions for its pleasure, comfort, security or other advantages; his desire is to have these things without effort or worry, to obtain them by inheritance, gift or luck. The active type is chiefly interested in the process of making money, in the game of managing it in business, banking etc. He appreciates money as a symbol or touchstone as well, signifying his ability, his success and his “social value”. The American phrase, “This man is worth so many dollars” characterises this attitude very simply.
The above example is, to some extent, a caricature of the mental personality type: we can find many examples of mental types who are not identified with money. That said, all mental types will tend to work through the use of money because this is one of the principle domains in which they operate. Practical types are known for also their ability to create and organise economic resources, with a motivation that is more about what they can create using money rather than the accumulation of wealth.
The four quadrants and motivation
Where does motivation sit with respect to the four quadrants and the five psychological levels? Figure 22 will help to explain.
Upper left quadrant: personal subjective world
In the upper left quadrant, we see the five psychological levels in the context of consciousness (our subjective inner world). We see the five levels, from the body up to soul (the number seven reminds us that there will be a dominant type – one of the seven – at each level).
Upper right quadrant: personal action in the world
In the upper right quadrant, we find five levels of motivated behaviour. The qualities of behaviour at each level are a manifestation of the dominant type/energy at the corresponding levels in the upper left quadrant.
At the level of body, the motivation for our behaviour is survival (i.e. the need for food, sleep, and the expression of our basic instincts). Much of our lives are spent ensuring that our physical and material needs are met. The number seven indicates that there are seven ways of meeting our survival needs according to the type which dominant at the level of body.
At the level of feeling, our behaviour is motivated by a need for security, love and belonging. These needs are all related to our emotional life and they can trigger a range of behaviours depending on our dominant type, which will determine our preferences and values for the sort of security we want and the sort of people we want to be with.
At the level of thought, we are motivated by a need for status, recognition and self-worth. These needs relate to the mind, and our dominant type at this level will determine how we search for status and self-confidence through education, employment and society.
The level of integrity, or integration, concerns self-actualisation, or personal psychosynthesis, which is the process of becoming a unique individual. This is the level at which we begin to define ourselves, achieve independence, act responsibility and show the world our true personalities. We will begin to express our authority in a manner determined by the qualities of our personality type.
The level of humanity concerns our soul and our life purpose. At this level, we are motivated by our concern for the world and the positive changes we want to see. Our ethics and values extend beyond the personal as we begin to see ourselves as citizens of the world with a concern for global challenges. We express the energy of our soul in ways that are innovative and creative.
The lower quadrants: the collective fields
The lower quadrants are concerned with our place in the collective, which includes both the collective unconscious (inner subjective world) and its outward expression in society. Motivations can be shared by the collective, by families, communities, organisations, nations, even the whole world. The quality of motivation will affect which social groups are formed and which we want to belong to. Any changes in these shared motivations can lead to a reorganisation of our collective functioning, which can affect everything from our immediate social circles to the whole of culture. Interestingly, the personal and collective fields are also influenced by the past.
Assagioli (1930) offers an example of how we can each be influenced by the qualities and motivations present in the collective field:
The psychological characteristics prevailing in different regions and even in different towns of the same nation (are important). In Italy, for instance, the psychological make-up of a Florentine, a Bolognese and a Roman show wide differences, in spite of the geographical proximity of these towns, and I think that each of you could make a similar observation about the citizens of various towns of your country.
Assagioli (1930) continues with his description of how the individual can be influenced by collective or external conditions:
The numberless psychological influences which concur in modifying the growing personality may be grouped under the following headings:
- Race – which acts not only in the form of heredity, but also as a present and continually operating factor, giving the fundamental colour or tone, so to say, to the psychic atmosphere by which the individual is surrounded.
- Climate – as well as scenery and environment, which, besides their physiological effects, have also a definite psychological influence upon us.
- The national soul.
- Family and relations.
- Nurses, teachers and professors.
- Schoolmates and friends.
- Books, magazines and journals.
- Influences directly from the inner planes, as the great waves of emotions and impulses which sway humanity as is clearly seen in important historical crises, and also other subtler and more mysterious, but no less powerful, mental and spiritual currents, which are said to be projected by the Great Beings who are directing human evolution. These currents are caught at first by a few pioneers, particularly receptive and attuned to them, and which gradually influence all the more advanced and progressive souls, and, through them, the bulk of humanity.
All of the factors listed by Assagioli can have a direct energetic impact on each of us as individuals, with an impact that will vary accordingly whether the energetic qualities are aligned or misaligned with our own dominant types. In other words, these aspects of the collective will either stimulate our natural growth or stifle it, which means it is vital for us to know how we are aligned with the prominent energies in our nation, our family and the groups we belong to. A practical consequence is that we might realise we are out of tune with a particular environment, and so we might decide it is important for us to make a change.
Having looked at the theory, I now offer the following exercise to help you identify your own particular motivations.
Exercise: what motivates you?
What really motivates you? What makes you shine? What brings you joy? Is it running, drawing, dancing, architecture, playing with the kids, writing your blog? You might like to ask your friends for their impressions. Make a list.
Examine this list and identify the underlying themes: what are the tastes and preferences that run through the whole list?
You are now ready to name your motivations: what are the motivations that underpin your choices?
Considering now the five psychological levels, see where your different motivators sit with respect to the needs and aspirations of the five levels.