Section 12

Study and Science of Passion; The meaningful relationship and the amazing motivation of Helen Keller

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of humans as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Helen Keller

“Passion comes from the heart and is manifest as optimism, excitement, emotional connection, and determination” Stephen R. Covey (the 8th Habit)

Helen Keller was deaf and blind, cut off from the world and human contact, until Anne Sullivan came along.

The relationship between Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan is truly amazing. It not only signifies the autonomy and relatedness of these two individuals, it also magnifies the theory of motivation for both.

Sullivan’s motivation and creativity installed a passion in Helen not to give up. She was motivated so much with unabashed persistence and determination to reach her. Helen Keller later recalled the first moment when that motivation and persistence, love, and passion bore fruit:

"My teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan had been with me nearly a month, and she taught me the names of a number of objects. She would put them into my hand, spelled out their names with her fingers, and helped me to form the letters.

"But I didn’t have the faintest idea of what she was doing. I do not know what I thought. I have only a tactile memory of my fingers going through those motions and changing from one position to another.

One day she handed me a cup and spelled the word. Then she poured some liquid into the cup and spelled the letters: W-A-T-E-R. "She says I looked puzzled. I was confusing the two words, spelling cup for water and water for cup.

"Finally I became angry because Miss Sullivan kept repeating the words over and over. In despair she led me out to the ivy-covered pump house and made me hold the cup under the spout while she pumped.

"In her other hand she spelled W-A-T-E-R emphatically. I stood still, my whole body and attention fixed on the motions of her fingers.

As the cool stream flowed over my hand, all at once, there was a strange stir within me, a misty consciousness, a sense of something remembered. "It was as if I had come back to life after being dead." (Unification? you will read about unification in chapter two, however, we suggest you make a note of it here.)

One of the greatest insights in the field of human motivation is the fact that "Satisfied Needs" do not motivate. Then it should also be true that it’s only the "Unsatisfied Needs" that motivate. How much unsatisfied need do you feel in Helen? How much of that is passed to Ann?

Unification theory is very interesting and is what is so joyful both in learning, concentration and meditation. We will touch on the Unification Theory and we expand on it with several examples such as rock climbing and surgery. I strongly suggest after you read about the unification theory and understood exactly what it means, come back and read the Helen Keller story one more time. I am sure you will sense the unification theory in her words (misty consciousness).


Antonio Gramsci (source: Finding flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

Antonio Gramsci, the philosopher of humanistic socialism, had such a strong influence on the development of European thought in this century, and on the eventual demise of Leninism-Stalinism. Born in 1891 to a destitute family on the poor island of Sardinia, Antonio had a deformed spine and was sickly all through childhood. Their poverty became almost intolerable when his father, arrested on false charges, was imprisoned and could no longer support his large family. In an unsuccessful attempt to cure his hunchback, Antonio’s uncle would hang the child by his ankles from the rafters of the hovel in which they lived. Antonio’s mother was so sure that the child was eventually going to pass away in his sleep that every night she set out his one good suit and a pair of candles on the dresser so that the funeral preparations would take less time.

Given these facts, it would have come as no surprise that Gramsci grew up full of hatred and spite. Instead he dedicated his life to helping the oppressed, by becoming a subtle writer and brilliant theoretician. Although one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, he never compromised his humanitarian values for the sake of expediency or party dogma. Even after Mussolini had him imprisoned in a medieval jail so that he would die in solitary confinement, he kept writing letters and essays full of light, hope, and compassion. All of the external factors conspired to twist Gramsci’s life; he must take all the credit for achieving the intellectual and emotional harmony that he left as his heritage. (source: Finding flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)


Linus Pauling (source: Finding flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

Another example concerns the life of Linus Pauling. He was born in Portland, Oregon, at the turn of the century; his father died when Linus was nine years old, leaving the family impoverished. Although he was an omnivorous reader and collected minerals, plants, and insects, Linus did not think he would go past high school. Fortunately, the parents of one of his friends almost forced him to enroll in college. Then he received a scholarship to get into Cal Tech, became involved in research, was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1954, and the Nobel peace prize in 1962. He describes his college years as follows:

I made a little money by odd jobs, working for the college, killing dandelions on the lawn by dipping a stick in a bucket containing sodium arsenate solution and then stabbing the stick into the dandelion plant. Every day I chopped wood, a quarter of a cord perhaps, into lengths— they were already sawed—into a size that would go into the wood-burning stoves in the girls’ dormitory. Twice a week I cut up a quarter of a beef into steaks or roasts, and every day I mopped the big kitchen, the very large kitchen area. Then at the end of my sophomore year, I got a job as a paving engineer, laying blacktop pavement in the mountains of Southern Oregon.

What was so amazing about Linus Pauling is that even at ninety years of age he kept the enthusiasm and curiosity of a young child. Everything he did or said was bubbling with energy. Despite the early adversity and the later hardships, he exuded an obvious joie de vivre. And there was no secret about how he did it; in his own words: "I just went ahead doing what I liked to do." (source: Finding flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)


Motivation For Elena Bonner

Those who expect to reap the blessing of Freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. Thomas Paine

Photograph of Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner

Deci says: "In December 1985, Elena Bonner, Soviet dissident and wife of physicist/activist Andrei Sakharov, was allowed to leave her house arrest in the USSR to seek medical attention in the West. She spent six months undergoing surgery, visiting her mother and her children, and writing a memoir before she returned to her life of imprisonment."

"The Sakharovs, who had lived in internal exile for several years, were under the constant watch of the KGB, had no access to a phone, and were allowed almost no opportunity to leave their apartment unaccompanied by guards. They went on hunger strikes, were accused of numerous crimes against the state, and were arbitrarily accosted by authorities. All manner of controls were applied to the Sakharovs—forced injections of nutriments during their hunger strikes, constant break-ins at their apartment, accusations, harassment, and intimidation—and the Sakharovs stood their ground. They acted from their consciences, they spoke their beliefs, they refused to be broken."

"Bonner could probably have stayed in the U.S. as a defector, and part of her no doubt wanted to. Most of her family was here, and she had myriad opportunities that must surely have appealed to her. The Western system offered her substantial freedom of action, but she accepted the existential challenge and chose to return to her life of internal exile. Why? Because Sakharov was there waiting. She could have remained in a land that provides a certain kind of political freedom, but instead she chose to subject herself to one of the most hideous forms of oppression. She chose it because sharing life’s experiences with her husband was the most important thing to her."

"Elena Bonner was being autonomous; her decision came from what we call an integrated sense of self. It was a true choice, an action not controlled by introjects or other pressures. As Bonner put it. "together … we are still free to be ourselves." In a system of political control, the Sakharovs displayed greater personal freedom than do millions of people whose governments do not oppress them politically." (source the book called "why we do what we do" by Deci.)


In this book we will analyze what else could be motivating and inspiring for more satisfying and successful life. We examine developing skills in self motivation and…..

Continue First Chapter Section 13

What is Motivation; Optimism, Happiness, Self-Esteem, Creativity, Competency, Intrinsic Motivation, Meditation, Inspiration, Coaching, Life Coach, Motivational, Mindfulness .

Alexander K. Katiraie BS, BA, MS, MBA

Mentoring Program

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