Why Do People Do the Things they Do?
Every morning I wake up hoping for better ‘things’ to come. As I hit the snooze button repeatedly hoping that in each snooze button, I can have the illusion of sleep that would feel like I’ve slept soundly for hours rather than the mere three minutes. I wake myself up exhausted and still fatigued hoping to still hug my soft and semi-cold pillow. As I look at the time that I decided to finally wake up and get out of bed, I have to quickly make a decision to either waste ten minutes of my morning showering, or do I use that precious time to spend a calm morning with my children as I get them ready for school, or do I rush them to school because I decided that I cared more about the way I look for others rather than the importance of time with my children? I often choose the latter as I know that my time here on earth with my children is very limited. After the morning rush is over, I always grab a cup of hot coffee to regain my strength as I prepare to ‘fulfill’ the tasks I planned myself for the day.
As I take a sip of my hot freshly brewed coffee, my mind drifts elsewhere as I look outside the window from the coffee shop I was sitting in. The first thought that comes to mind is, “it is so cold outside!”. Second, “how am I going to get through all the tasks that I must fulfill for the day?”. Finally, “why do people do the things they do?”. What is their motivation for acting unethical? What are their reasons for showing unkindness? Why do people act to fulfill their ulterior selfish motive? I often think to myself after realizing my sort of pessimistic state, “stop thinking about these things! It will only sour your mood and perhaps affect your productivity with your work”. However, I can’t overcome this state and I continue to dig deep about the possible answers to my lifelong questions. My mind continues to dig deeper and deeper about the consequences of people’s unethical and selfish behaviours. “Consequently, people are dying and no one seems to care about the root causes!” You will always hear people talk about terrible events such as the terrorist attack that happened in Paris, reckless and repeated drunk driving of drivers, as well as murders, and so many more. However, as controversial as these topics may seem, many people who resort to debates about the possible causes of these terrible events, they don’t seem to understand that there is a more fundamental problem in people’s actions and behaviours. As I drive through the city and witness reckless drivers, pedestrians, parents who are walking with their children, old people who will deliberately cross the streets illegally on a 60 km/hr roads, I often think to myself, “why do people do the things they do?”. I don’t have an evidential answer to my question however, it strikes me that most people don’t follow their rationality, that’s if, they even possess rationality at all. Surely, most people can rationalize and apply their rationality to rational actions. However, most people do not. As the driver recklessly speeds through the city streets endangering the lives of others including young children on the streets and within other vehicles around him, he doesn’t seem to care much about using his rationality as most people do not like or care to even think about others, let alone their safety. I can only assume that they would think “I don’t care as long as it doesn’t happen to me”. However, these kinds of behaviour are only being shown to young children and will eventually create a very influential ripple effect on them as they grow up. Such actions will only be labelled as “the real world” thus, it is entirely normal to display the same kind of behaviour and mentality, “other people do it, so its okay for me to do it too”. However, as critical thinking would teach us, “two wrongs don’t make it right”. Which would lead to another fundamental issue — critical thinking is most often undervalued and or not known at all. As the terrorist attack happens in Paris, these terrorists would only have one goal — kill. Killing the precious and innocent lives of those who just wanted to go out to probably have a relaxing moment from the busy work week that most people have to do to support their children and perhaps dreaming about owning their own house one day, only to be murdered by these terrorists as they found it in themselves necessary to end someone else’s life. What is the connection? I can’t seem to find it. Years after the attack in Paris happened, images of the innocent bodies who would’ve been alive the next day if these terrorists did not think the way they did, would wake up to a sunny morning and looking forward to talking about the good times they had at the concert and coffee shop still remain in my mind and I am only filled with sadness and hopelessness as I begin to believe driving through the streets witnessing the same sort of behaviour from irrationality, my chest and my mind feels heavy. I cannot help but truly believe that people’s actions often result in their selfish acts and irrationality. The fundamental issues that people do not seem to bother pondering about, I care about. I want to change it however, living in this kind of world, I truly believe that the better ‘things’ to come will never come and I will continue to do my best to make my children’s lives happy but I cannot control the sadness and wrongness that this world will eventually reach my children’s eyes and mind. Do I take the ten minutes for my selfish desires to receive some form of external recognition? Or do I spend that with my children guiding them through the calm and perhaps ethical moments of life as I aim to put smiles on their faces? I often choose the latter. The latter which I know is limited as my time here is limited. For now, I will continue to hit the snooze button every morning and continue to hope that I can sleep soundly even through illusions so long as my children are happy and safe in my arms as I cry to the wrongness that I see around me. Why do people do the things they do? I do not know.