Asian psychologies, especially Yogic psychology, tend to see motives as hierarchically organized in a manner analogous to that suggested by Abraham Maslow (1971) and Ken Wilber (2002). However, Asian psychologies emphasize the importance of "higher motives," such as self-transcendence and selfless service, which are rarely recognized in Western psychology.

One motivational factor that is given great emphasis and viewed as a major determinant of pathology and suffering is attachment (or addiction). From this perspective, psychological suffering is a feedback signal, indicating the existence of attachments and the need to let them go.

Attachment invariably gives rise to its mirror image: aversion. Whereas attachment says "I must have something in order to be happy," aversion says "I must avoid something in order to be happy." Aversion is said to underlie anger and aggression.

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