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Base motives are the underlying reasons why people do what they do. Often interpreted as relational to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and unconscious or subconscious motive theories, base motives have value in understanding action. These being reasons why people do what they do. Underlying thoughts and memories, both repressed and conscious, are seen as a basis of manifested actions.

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of needs has also been seen as an attributing factor to the understanding of personal base motives. This theory helps explain what humans need and in what order they seek these needs. Some believe knowing this hierarchy can help explain any action a human may take.

The base motive definition has since evolved into understanding or deducing calculated, willful, deliberate hidden or covert personal agenda. Base motives are seen as a conscious and cognizant approach at intentionally hiding ones' ambitions. An entity, be it an individual, city-state or country can and will mislead, disinform and misguide other entities intentionally; albeit, this can be considered strategy, diplomacy and manipulation to the benefit of predetermined actors in any given theater.

Still, some consider base motives to sway between Sigmund Freud's unconscious model and Abraham Maslow's much more conscious model. Base motives are accepted scientifically as fact.

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