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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
February 6, 1924     The Catalina Islander
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February 6, 1924

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PAGE FOUR .... THE CATALINA ' ISLAN OUR SILENT FORGES OF UGGESS AND FAILURE WHAT ARE THEY? MOTIVE? By Ernest Windle (Sunshine Psychology Service) How much of your life is due to the suggestions and influence of others? Due to the influence of your parents, brothers, sisters, play- mates; to acquaintances, associates and friends? Yes, due to their MOTIVES! Do you kno~2 If you know, you can analyze and study the sug- gestions and influences that brought your successes or your failures, Oh, noi~ you did not bring it all about yourself by auto-suggestion! Get that thought out of your mind. Don't be egotistical! To illustrate what we are driving at: As a boy, the writer "ab- sorbed" an "idea." For the past twenty years he has puzzled over it, but could never remember where the thought originated. Last week he got a book out of the Avalon library, and in that book was the "idea'--more than one hundred years old. The words came loping out of the book so unexpectedly that we nearly missed them. Back into our childhood memories'we ruminated. Suddenly we toppled out of our little journey in psycho-analysis. And we felt much better,for the trip. On the way we had picked out some reasons for "failures," saw opportunities that had pounded on our door, and, incidentally, after the trip was over, we felt that we had profited by analyzing that simple "little idea, suggested and acquired by reading a book on Oriental myth- ology thirty years ago. "Life, with ell it brings of joy and care, is not an easy thing to take apart," says Edgar A. Guest in the American Magazine for Feb- ruary. "We cannot know how much of a man's life is his own and how much is due to the influence of others. He would be poor indeed who had only his own ~strength with which to fight and his own re- sources to call upon for happiness," We are not attempting to recall unpleasant memories. Let us forget that side of life. Through the efforts of others many people are contented and happy. How many INNOCENT people have suffered mentally and phys- ically because of the suggestions and motives of their neighbors, their well-meaning friends, their own brothers and sisters, their over-lndul- gent parents, and even their husbands and wives? No statistician could record those figures. Motives ending in acts of jealousy, greed, spite and hate! Motives and actions that have brought riches by channels that ere dark and mysterious. Similar to the geometers, "length, breadth and thickness," can hu- man actions be separated into three general parts-imaglnatlon, sen- sation and action? (If all action is vibration?) What is back of imagination? Is it MOTIVE7 Does the geom- eter have the same puzzles with "space" that the psycho-analyst finds in considering problems of MOTIVE? Let us illustrate what we mean by MOTIVE: Every modern city operates an electric light plant. The "juice" is carried by wires to all parts of the town. A person wants power to operate a sewing machine, fan, elevator, etc., and he presses a button. He desires heat, and presses another button; then a light, and he il- luminates the room from the product of a third switch. But, DESIRE is not MOTIVE---to the psycho-analyst. A men desiring a fish, goes fishing. The motive back of the im- pulse, desire or ambition is, perhaps, one for publicity, to gratify van- ity, to win trophies, etc. Another angler wants a fish, but he desires to be considered ~a SPORTSMAN--in the most ideal sense of" the word! Two different motives! To the average person, the elements that go to make up our world, and that are not recognizable, are not of importance. Our puhlia schools ignore them almost entirely. We satisfy ourselves by labeling them "gaseous," or "metaphysical." Yet, these elements play a more important part in our successes and our failures than much of the lo- called "education" crowded into our memory cells--and "forgotten" after the school examinations. Twenty years ago very few people were interested in DeForrest's pioneer work in wireless telegraphy. Three years ago he interested them in radio. Today, millions of people "listen in" to the powerful broadcasting stations that keep the public informed with news, and entertained with concert programs. If research can improve the pro- ducts of the soil, etc., it can also give us a more accurate understand- ing of the inwardness of human conduct--no matter from what race or nationality the people may originate. Control the "motive" and dimin- ish the "crime." Few taxpayers are interested in the process of producing electr/- city. But they are interested in: "is the price right?" "Will the switch work when I come home at midnight?" Gaseous elements. "juice waves," and impulses of the human mind, all operate silently--are all invisible. Special apparatus is required to demonstrate or record their presence. Let us disorganize the elements of our atmosphere, and there will not be a sufficient number of per- sons left alive to attend a funeral. Gum up our electrical machinery, and industry stops until trained hands have corrected the trouble. Change our impulses for progress, industry and work, and our govern- ment, our system of civilization, is clogged; our streets become popu- lated with hungry, unsanitary, lazy beings I. The motive for industry can be one of several different classifications: Personal comfort, ex- ercise, accumulation of property, or for desires that have an altruistic tendency. In his article, "What My Neighbors Mean To Me," Mr. Guest tells a personal story of interest to the student of psycho-analysls. He says: My neighbors on Atklnson avenue undoubtedly know how I will act in every circumstance which may arise. "That swing door needs attention," says Mrs. Guest to me. "It squeaks most disagreeably." "All right, my dear," I answer; 'Til fix it immedi- ately." She smiles when I say this, because she knows I am the poorest carpenter on earth. I can do nothing with a hammer and saw. As a fixer of things about the house I am a failure. But I proceed to investigate the trouble. 'TI1 be back in a minute," I say, reaching for my hat. "Don't worry about that door. I'm going to fix it." Charlie Adams, my neighbor, is sitting on his front porch. He is a mechanical engineer. H~ knows e~:erything about fixing things. "Would you mind coming over and telling me how to take the squeak out of the swing :door in the dining-; room?" I ask him. "Not at all," he replies. "Do you think I'll need an3" tools ?" "Yes," I answer, "I think you'll need all the tools' you've got---and then some !" In less than ten minutes he has the door off its hinges and the plane at work. I stand and watch hinl cheerfully doing for me the task which I nex'er could have performed for myself. "There, Mother," I say, at last; "we've got it fixed !" And she smiles at this husbamt of her's, who would be helpless without his neighbors. Analyzing the above story, we find that Mr. Guest's "impulse" was to have the door fixed, that his "desire" was to have Charley Adams fix it, and the "motive" was to "please the wife." And, if Charley Adams had refused to "help" Eddie fix the door, the latter would not have been surrounded by the same happy influ- ences that existed because the work had been done. It mi'ght have been a different story, somethkng like this: "Eddie, I've asked you a dozen times to fix that door. The squeak annoys me. It makes me nervous. 1'!! go out the back way, and walk around the block, if it's not fixed by Sunday. When are you going to fix it, anyway?" That little incident of the squeaking door could have wrecked Eddie Guest's matrimonial llfe---wrecked it beyond repair, if that sort of a motive had disorganized the two unselfish desires: The wife's desire to have the door fixed, and Eddie's motive to fix the door to please the wife. Charley Adams' motive, imagination, sensations and action (if ac- tion is vibration) apparently saved the day[ This is only one angle showing how much we are under the influence of our neighbors. How much we owe to the suggestions from them? Charley's mo- tive was a praisworthy one. In Avalon there are many such charac- ters among our men and women. That particular twist to the make- up of our community has helped to make Catalina world-famous for its hospitality. In his article, Mr. Guest carries his reader through many pleas- ant memories, and those dealing with death, and acts of kindness and friendship. Referring to that period of his life wherein a little daugh- ter passed into the Great Beyond, the writer pictures the scene so viv- idly that one can almost fed the outward evidences of affection, sad- ness and grief. Of his neighbor Jim Potter, he says: Jim Potter had been a neighbor of mine for a year. He lived across the street from us on Fourteenth avenue, where we first began our married life. He owned the drug store on the corner. As "Jim Potter" I knew him and passed the tinle of day with him. He was but a passing acquain- tance, and each of us knows many such. Then came the night our first baby ~:as taken from us. 1 was having a struggle in those (lays to get along; and, I fancy, so was lie. When I went to the drug store the next morning, he motioned hie to step behind the counter. I followed him to the rear of the store, where he put both his kindly hands upon my shoulders and said: "Eddie, I can't tell you what is in my heart. I am sor- ry-sorry! I just wanted to say that if--if you need mon- ey, COllie to 1lie." Only a neighbor! Jim Potter may have forgotten the incident, but | shall never forget it, To me it stands om vividly as the blossoming of a neighbor into a true friend. That act of Jim Potter's was one of an" affectionate brother--a kindly friend. That was an altruistic motive, stimulated by a feeling of sympathy. On the other hand: A grief-strlcken person needs sympathy, and often is in need of money. He accepts the money, and thereafter he is under the influence or "power" of the money lender. HUMAN MOTIVE ! How much do the human beings of this world owe to that silent, mysterious force? One of the most useful lessons to mankind would be information which would enable us to distinguish the motive -impulse or purpose-- back of activity. Such information would prevent many crimes that are now committed daily in moments of anger, passion and hate. When psychologists shall have classified human motives, so that they may be encouraged or checked, the act of giving a dollar to a widow to gain her confidence, and later make her the victim of an oil swindle, will be as easily recognized as smallpox or blemishes of the skin. If some men and women were segregated from the influences of neighbors, friends and relatives, they would become human parasites. That point is best illustrated when they are separated from organiza- tion. The loss of a limb makes some men beggars, paupers, criminals. Others it stimulates to greater brain activity--urges them to the use of artificial limbs to overcome the deficiency. Most injured men use auto-suggestion to enable them to forget their aches, pains and physical handicaps. They get enough agony every time they observe a friend walking along the street, or moving about without the aid of a wheel-chalr or crutches. When his friend does freely the physical acts that the in- jured man usedto do! "Sympathy," he mutters; "give me feet! Wooden ones, if nothing more!" We know a man who had an amputated foot dug up and reburied in three different positions because it "hurt" him. That is suggestion. His motive was to secure peace, Another man, who had an artificial llmb of polished wood, let the sun shine on it--"just to keep the lost foot warm!" Still another man, who uses two cork feet, laughingly remarked that his feet wouldn't "track right"~because they had been manufactured from yucca trees, that were everlastingly wanting a drink. Such is the power of "suggestion," "influence," and the "motive" back of kindly or unselfish acts. "Motive" and "influence" are two things that most men and women forget in summing up the life results of successes and failures. These thoughts are advanced for such critical examination as psy- chologists may desire to give them. Let the "motive" be one of con- struction, fairness and sincerity. COPYRIGHTED BY THE CATAklNA ISLANDER t924