WEB POSTED 5-30-2000

Understanding motives and motivation

On a radio broadcast, some time in the early 1960s, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “The only time bad men prosper is when good men do nothing.”

Whatever one may think about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, you cannot accuse him of being a do nothing Brother or leader. He is, in fact, a very good man whose work bad men hate.

The focus of this article is not so much what he has said and done—especially since September 1977—but what motivated him to say and do as he has.

It’s important that we agree on the precise definition of certain words, or terms, that are about to be used, in this article.

I’m taking up Minister Farrakhan’s motives. Furthermore, I’m taking up what caused those motives.

It is important for everyone to understand Minister Farrakhan. That can’t be done except to the extent that we understand the root cause of that which motivates him.

If one is giving a testimony, about the motives of another, that testimony constitutes the reason one has for believing, or being convinced, that the other person’s motive is thus and so. Those reasons can also be called that person’s explanation.

The probability is high that among the readers of this article are persons with a scientific background. But any of us ought to be able to understand this definition of the word “explanation” as I have it on page 81 of “This Is The One,” Third Edition. In his book, “The Nature of Social Science,” Professor George Homans defined this term as meaning “… why under given conditions a particular phenomena occurs … . ”

He gave the explanation of a finding as “…the process of showing that the finding follows as a logical conclusion, as a deduction, from one or more general propositions under specified condition.”

Although, I intend to return to the fuller definition Professor Homans gave, I don’t depend, however, on the social sciences, as taught in this doomed world. Such sciences ultimately rests on assumptions which cannot be proven true.

Frankly, to do so would be ridiculous. In addition, to do so would show that I do not understand the Minister, nor his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the source from which they drink. This would also show I have no confidence in the explanatory power of the principles of Islam.

I further reject the idea that because one is a friend of another that the testifier is, therefore, disqualified from giving a honest, true, and even a scientific testimony about his friend.

Yesterday, as I was working on this article, false news reports were being spread across America and the world, that Minister Farrakhan confessed to complicity in Malcolm’s murder. Now, today, the news agencies are retracting some of their words.

It seems as if they received legal advice in fear of being sued. Even if we sued them—so what?

Minister Farrakhan, and we who follow him, won’t get justice in America’s court system to be relieved of, nor compensated for the evils of their non-stop slander and libel. The men of God, who served Him and the people, in the past, were treated in the same manner as Minister Farrakhan is and his teacher before him was treated.

But this is the Day of the Judgement of God, the Almighty. We are all in His court room. This is the day; this is the time, when it will be fulfilled that He will render to every man and woman according to their works. You will not get away with your wicked—even abominable—slander; libelous and mocking of Minister Farrakhan.

This divine judgement includes the lying scribes of America’s media. By now they know better. And if they don’t they should by now know better.

The powers that be of this world know that Minister Farrakhan is not only honest and sincere, but that he is telling the truth. To me they treat him like they treat the UFO phenomena. By now the rulers of this world know that those planes they called UFOs are real. They have methods and devices that have forced them to conclude that what Minister Farrakhan has said, from his teacher and from his experience, about the Mother Plane and the baby planes are true.

The bottom line is that the truth of these planes is as the truth of Minister Farrakhan and his teacher—and the identity of Black people—is (to use their language) “above top secret.”

Many of these rulers wrongly conclude that the truth of these planes must be kept from the public as a matter of national security. Likewise, they long ago concluded that the truth of Minister Farrakhan, his teacher, and the Nation of Islam is a matter of national security.

What are motives? What is motivation? What is a motive? What is the origin of any motive? What is the cause of motives or of any motive? Is there a difference between a cause of something and the reason for it? What is the difference between knowledge about and knowledge of a person? When are the reasons we give, or the testimony we offer in behalf of the motives of another, sufficient to be accurately categorized as a true explanation, in the scientific sense of the word?

According to Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms, the word motive “Applies chiefly to any emotion, such as fear, anger, hatred, love, or the like, or to any desire (such as one for fame, wealth, knowledge, supremacy, revenge, or the like) or to any physical appetite (such as hunger or lust) which operates on the will and definitely moves it to activity.”

This referenced book compares the word “spring” to the word motive in the following paragraph.

“Or the more common springs, is used in place of motive without much difference in meaning; among very precise writers and speakers, however, it often refers to the underlying or basic motives which is often not fully recognized even by the person or persons affected and is especially hidden from all but the most penetrating observers.”

The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary (New Third Edition) states that motive is “A mental force that induces an act; a determining impulse.”

Under the word “motive” in “Choose the Right Word” we read that it “impels the person to act with a strong sense of purpose.”

The Winston Dictionary, College Edition, defines motives as “that which urges to action; the ultimate, inner reason for performing a given act.”

The word motive is from a Latin word, meaning “to move.” So, as Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary states, a motive is “Some inner drive, impulse, intention, etc., that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way.”

In New Webster’s Dictionary (Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition) motive is defined as “That which incites to actions; that which determines the choice or moves the will.”

On the definition of “motive” legal dictionaries differ from common dictionaries in that they distinguish between the terms “motive” and “intent.” The language of legal dictionaries in defining “motive” intersects with the definition of “intent.” Since my focus, here, is on the definition of “motive” I’ll only give what emphasizes “motive” even if the concept of “intent” is touched.

The Oxford Companion to LAW defines motive as the “Cause or reason that moves the will and induces actions. An idea, belief, or emotion that impels or incites one to act in accordance with his state of mind or emotion.” I won’t get into the cases that are cited that helped to form the legal definition.

This reference book further defines “motive,” in part, as “That which moves or prompts a person to a particular course of actions, or is seen by him as the ultimate purpose or end he seeks to achieve by that actions.”

I’ll get to the definition of “motive” from Black’s Law Dictionary, in my next article, Allah willing.

As we’ll see, a motive is something deeper in the root of human behavior than is one’s intention. But Muhammad is quoted as having said that our actions are to be judged according to our intentions. It is really difficult to truly grasp the concept of “motive” without contrasting it to the concept of “intent.” So we’ll have to look at the relation between the two.

Those who say that spiritual matters bore them, are thinking very superficially. No one does anything without motives, whether those motives be good, bad or a mixture of both.

Entering the subject, or study of motives, or motivations, is entering a major aspect of the study of the formation and the content of the heart. This takes us into the realm of the unseen.

More next issue, Allah willing.