Instinct in action

Posted by Claudia Moser on 2:54 PM in , ,

“Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.”
by Michael Burke

Under the GBE2 WEEK #11 word: Instinct

So picture this, me waking up, opening my computer and going on the GBE2 group and reading Beth's entry for today and wondering: what am I suppose to write about this? I look at my husband and he kind of understood my questions without even hear it. His reaction: wait you will figure it out.

Sunday walk, in the park, not wonderful weather, but dry. And then we see in the distance cyclists at amazing speed, we get nearer and nearer and realised they are children. And we both remembered this is the Bad Homburg Cycling Race, called actually the 32 Grosser Preis von Bad Homburg

They even get famous cyclists from the Tour de France, like Tony Martin from Team HTC-Highroad, Danilo Hondo from Lampre-ISD, Kurparksieger and Marcel Sieberg from Team Omega Pharma-Lotto. Plus the Olimpic Champion from Athen 2004, Luke Roberts from Team SaxoBank-Sungard will attend. Quite an event even for non-cyclist like myself.

We had the chance to see the U15 race and it was an amazing lesson in respect to instinct. We were sitting quite at the beginning / end of the race, and close to us were families (mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grannies, granpas, dogs ...) who were cheering their youngsters. While listening to them I got some of the rules, like actually the winner will not be the one who crossed first the line, but the one who gathered more points after each round.

The one who one was a pretty young boy who used his instinct to move at the right time, he was winning the prize rounds all the time, he was ahead by one or two mms ahead of his competitors and he was in the end only the third to cross the line. Somehow he used his energy and power at the right time. For sure he had training, for sure he raced and raced for many miles before, but he knew what to do and when. I am truly sorry that I did not capture his tactic better, but at least here are some photos. Nevertheless he was a naturak talent and I wonder if we did not experience the next German champion.

In the end, we daily grip towards our instincts, we sometimes duck and suddenly we avoid a brick falling down, or we take a different road and then we realise that the first choice is blocked.

During the 19th century the concept of instinct was developed, there is also a theory which says that all actions, thoughts, and intents can be traced back to being caused by instinct.

Two very different instinct theories of motivation were developed by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and the functionalist William James.

Freud's view of instincts was very broad, almost on the order of the later concept of a drive. In Freud's view, human behaviour was motivated by two biologically energized instincts, respectively termed Eros, the life instinct, and Thanatos, the death instinct. The life instinct was considered to be the basis for sexual motivation, while the death instinct underlay aggressive motivation.

As for James, he emphasized the survival value of instinctive motivation. He argued that humans were born with a score of instincts - such as fear, sociability, cleanliness, and love - which underlay all more complex behaviour.

Inspired from here

This is the theory, I had the chance to see it in practice today, but for sure one thing is clear. Without the hint from Beth I would have probably not reflect so intensely!



Great story of the race and instinct. We do seem to be born with it and then learn some more from our parents and life in general. It is quite amazing how we are all born needing love.

@Belle - yes, the love is a one common need!

Anonymous says:

Nice job!

I have to say that from just the two short descriptions of their theories, I'd have to lean toward agreeing with William James.

Cool take on this week's topic!

I love cycling. I'm suffering withdrawal right now with the Tour being over. It's something different when you see it in person, though. The thing I remember most was the guys huffing and puffing as they came up the hill toward me on our one little "mountain". The body has its own inevitable responses, so when it comes to winning you have to know them and sometimes overcome them. Good stuff.

(My experience was from the Tour of California, 2009, I forgot to mention)

It amazes me how some people naturally know what to do in certain situations.


@Beth - well Freud was a bit too radical right?
@Kyle - wow, respect! You describe the event very well, you should have seen the kids fighting, great view!
@Joyce - yes, there are some which seem to know how to react no matter the situation!

Great photos and it really is amazing how instinct can kick in when we need it to. Good post my friend.

@Diane - the photos are not so great since I forgot my camera at home and used my mobile :)

Instinct - something we all need to learn to trust, I think :)

@Sarah - yes, we should listen more!

wonderful take on this weeks topic. I was really interested in your mention of Freud's take on Instinct...interesting. Thank you for another wonderful blog :)

@Jenni - a little different approach this time, thank you! Your post was also wonderful!

My! Made me really think and then put to practice!! And then I considered my topic of my son's urinal...bowing to you and skulking away. Lolol!!

Nice job!

@Amy - I believe what Beth managed with us is to make us think and reflect upon the themes! That is amazing!

My instincts tell me to tell you I enjoyed wandering through your mind on this one. Our instincts do, in fact, drive us providing we listen!

@Jo - I did enjoy it a lot :-)

Great take on the subject - abnd I love the quote fronm Michael Burke.

@Paula - I think that he is 100% right!

Instincts and Cycling--brilliant! If we learn to trust them--I guess we don't have to do a lot of thinking...LOL. Cheers! Jenn

@Jenn - so true :)

Great story detailing the race and the need for fine tuned instincts to win!


I would have to agree with William James, although it's interesting to see the varying levels of those instincts among different people.

Nice pics! :-)

@Kathy - it was indeed a nice event!
@Eccentricity - very true, each person has its own level of listening to his own instincts!

Slowly catching up! Loved this piece, Claudia. Myself, I think we are all born with certain instincts, as James did, but I think we hone them over time, and by our life experiences so that they become more useful, maybe allowing us to let die the ones which are no longer of use. Thought provoking post! *hugs*

@Gil - I am preparing another one about fear, based on a quite interesting read I had during my last travel!

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