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Site note: If you would like to save time and skip over reading the rest of
this article, using the analogy to the body, here is the
salient point in a synopsis:
We have a body with multifarious features, organs, and
systems that interface, interact, and integrate to make the whole. Most of
our body and its functions are hidden from our sight and awareness. Our body is
largely not the product of our own making, yet is a major part of us while
being very complex and powerful in its range of how it affects us. Our body vitality
depends on healthy nutrition, and does not operate optimally unless it receives
support from a proper diet of food and drink.
Just so it is with the Will with its features and systems.
Most of the Will and its functions are hidden to our sight and awareness, and
they are also largely not the product of our own making. Can it be the
Will is equally complex and powerful in its range of how it affects us? Can
it be that it is overwhelmingly yet unconsciously in control? HOWEVER, if you
change what you believe through the power of the intellect, that guarantees a
change in what you WILL to think and do.
The vitality of our Will depends upon a healthy spiritual diet, and its
efficacy of operation upon proper spiritual food.
The Issue of Will versus Intellect
[Abbreviations: () and ()]
Not that I agree with him on everything, but the eminent philosopher Schopenhaur is my favorite for three
simple reasons: A) He takes materialism head on
with logic that destroys it, B) He
doesn't dodge the reality of evil in our world, and
C) His writing is powerful yet NOT
filled with arcane, technical philosophical language and terms.
He paints a vivid picture of the Will, and how dominant and powerful it
is, and would almost convince us that we are totally at the mercy of
something that controls us, and that we cannot get a handle on to control or
He talks about popular language being "correct when
it prefers the "heart" to the "head". The term "heart" reflects the
intentions, emotions and spirit. When a man is converted, it doesn't happen without his
emotional dedication to the old belief or belief system being broken and
What is important, any such breach will be temporary
unless the new belief or system is ultimately delineated and buttressed by
the intellect with a new and stronger emotional connection established. We
should all be aware that "backsliding" is common.
It essentially WILL happen unless the person is either so disillusioned and
upset that they are temporarily disoriented to almost the point of incoherence,
OR engulfed in a new intellectual, psychological and social environment that
they have found, and where the new thinking is affirmed and allowed to infuse
and baptize (saturate) the psyche of the convert.
Sometimes the conversion is one of aversion, where
the experience of the person was so distasteful or traumatic that they
simply reject and shed their beliefs and system. Many times they then either plug into
something different–usually scientism–or they try hard to avoid rebuilding
Current personal experience
Currently, I have come into overwhelming unity with two intelligent
younger men that have kept their lives on hold to a great degree while they
have been seeking the truth. In both cases, they were exposed mostly and
significantly to Christianity, but had developed no real attachment or
emotional bond with it. Also, in both cases, they "found" me, sought me out,
and initiated the ongoing correspondence and conversation. I now cherish
their fellowship almost above all other things, and they tell me that they
respect me highly. There is NEVER any disrespect, tension, trauma, or
disagreement! Whatever it says about me or the other people that I have
tried to engage with in a quest for unity, I have spectacularly and
consistently failed to do so!
Material quotes as basis for commentary:
"The universities ignored him and his books, as if
to substantiate his claim that all advances in philosophy are made outside
of academic walls. 'Nothing,' says Nietzsche, 'so offended the German
savants as Schopenhauer's unlikeness to them.'" - Will Durant
Commentary: Well said, and how true!
Will above Mind: Man as Homo
Damnationis or Homo Confirmitatus or Homo Arbitrium
Almost without exception, philosophers have placed
the essence of mind in thought and consciousness; man was the
knowing animal, the animal rationale. "This ancient and
universal radical error, this enormous proton pseudos,...
must before everything be set aside. "Consciousness is the mere surface of
our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the inside but only the
crust." - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: Most of us know that the Latin term
"homo sapiens" means "wise man" or "intelligent man". Schopenhauer and
Durant are claiming that this is somewhat grandiose and in denial, and is
not the best term. They would probably suggest "homo arbitrium", which means
"man of will, decision or authority, or maybe "homo Confirmitatus", which
means firmness of will, obstinacy or self-assurance.
Most believers in religion are in deep denial and
ignorance of the true landscape of the human psyche, its various aspects and
facets, and especially the nature and power
of the will. They are happy to hear Paul plead his weakness and inability to
deal with it and leave it in God's hands, and this they also do. They do NOT understand the
relationship of being free with a truly inspired, positive, worship-based
vision–where we are exalted to being free, sovereign, equal, empowered citizens of the
universe–and its natural efficacious effect upon spiritual growth. The traditional
guilt and fear-based vision where we are motivated by what "God" wants
instead of what WE want and need will never engender the thirst for the
truth that sets us to be as free as the creator is. They embrace the
traditional ploy of beg-God-to-change-you vision, yet do not realize that God is NOT
in the business of tinkering with the sovereign self. They generally operate within some level
of denial, legalism and effort to change versus the natural growth paradigm, and they do not
understand the relationship of the intellect, emotions and will.
The Pervasive Will
"Consciousness is the mere
surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the inside
but only the crust." Under the conscious intellect is the conscious or
unconscious will, a striving, persistent vital force, a spontaneous
activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to
lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will "is the strong
blind" man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see." We do not
want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it
because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak
Hence Schopenhauer calls man the
"metaphysical animal": other
animals desire without metaphysics. "Nothing is more provoking, when we are
arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to
convince him, than to discover at last that he will not understand, that we
have to do with his will." Hence the uselessness of logic: no one ever
convinced anybody by logic; and even logicians use logic only as a source of
income. - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: What far and wide ranging truth the
above paragraph exposits! It is probably a challenge to or even a partial condemnation of this site,
because it may have too much of an emphasis on an appeal to logic
and reason. The author of this site has had to go through a long process of
breaking the emotional bond to his past religion, religious culture and
practice. To do this he has had to elevate the intellect and focus on an
intellectual defense of his newfound truth. He has had to present it–to
others AND primarily to himself–with logic and reason, and has not
necessarily learned how best to appeal to the will.
To convince a man, you
must appeal to his self-interest, his desires, his will. Observe how long we
remember our victories, and how soon we forget our defeats; memory is the
menial of will. "In doing accounts we make mistakes much oftener in our own
favor than to our disadvantage; and this without the slightest dishonest
intention.” "On the other hand, the understanding of the stupidest man
becomes keen when objects are in question that closely concern his wishes."
in general, the intellect is developed by danger, as in the fox, or by want,
as in the criminal. But always it seems subordinate and instrumental to
desire; when it attempts to displace the will, confusion follows. No one is
more liable to mistakes than he who acts only on reflection. - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: Note the first sentence. This is raw,
prime, hard-hitting, fundamental truth set down in clear writing! YES!
Self-interest! how can we think that God does not operate from enlightened
self-interest? NOTHING else will do, because we are NOT made to operate from
any other inspiration, like fear or obligation! Oh, we can get pumped up by an appeal
to pathos, virtue, heroism, charity, obligation, etc., but it diminishes us and doesn't endure.
It also doesn't unseat self-interest but only occludes or shoulders it aside temporarily.
Will as permanent and
"The will is the only
permanent and unchangeable element in the mind; . . . it is the will which,"
through continuity of purpose, 'gives unity to consciousness and holds
together all its ideas and thoughts, accompanying them like a continuous
harmony.'" It is the organ-point of thought. - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: "Unchangeable", yes, except
by the ONE lever, the ONE way of the "narrow path".
Character lies in the
will, and not in the intellect; character too is continuity of purpose and
attitude: and these are will. Popular language is correct when it prefers
the "heart" to the "bead"; it knows (because it has not reasoned about it)
that a "good will" is profounder and more reliable than a clear mind; and
when it calls a man "shrewd," "knowing," or "cunning" it implies its
suspicion and dislike. "Brilliant qualities of mind win admiration, but
never affection"; and "all religions promise a reward ... for excellences of
the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding." -
Commentary on what is above: What a great definition/description of character!
What a great exposition of spiritual reality as we experience it in
human society Why do we not hear this in our academic and religious classes?
The Indefatigable Will
"The intellect tires, the
will never; the intellect needs sleep, but the will works even in sleep.
Fatigue, like pain, has its seat in the brain; muscles not connected with
the cerebrum (like the heart) never tire. In sleep the brain feeds; but the
will requires no food. Hence the need for sleep is greatest in
brain-workers. (This fact, however, "must not mislead us into extending
sleep unduly; for then it loses in intensity ... and becomes mere loss of
time.") In sleep the life of man sinks to the vegetative level, and then
"the will works according to its original and essential nature, undisturbed
from without, with no diminution of its power through the activity of the
brain and the exertion of knowing, which is the heaviest organic function; .
. . therefore in sleep the whole power of the will is directed to the
maintenance and improvement of the organism. Hence all healing, all
favorable crises, take place in sleep." - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: There seems to be much good reality
reporting and reasoning here, and we need to hear it and consider it.
Will as Essence of Man
"Will, then, is the
essence of man. Now what if it is also the essence of life in all its forms,
and even of "inanimate" matter? What if will is the long-sought-for, the
long-despaired-of, "thing-in-itself,"–the ultimate inner reality and secret
essence of all things?" - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: We can to a significant degree
align with the first sentence and the first
phrase of the question, BUT "will" is just ONE part of Man, and can be
considered as no more important than the intellect, or even body chemistry
BECAUSE, let body chemistry get too far out of balance, and the issue of will becomes moot.
Yet, I see that the focus of science has been on the
physical body, and despite the extensive history of religion and the vaunted science
of psychology (soul science), the spiritual aspects of Man and their
relationships are poorly understood.
Let me set the stage: It is widely understood that the
physical body has different systems that interface and integrate to make the whole.
Systems like the nerve system, the endocrine system, the circulatory system,
the cellular replacement system, the skeletal system, the muscular system,
the immune system, the respiratory system, the five sensory systems with their
sub-systems, the dermal and epidermal system, the sexual system of two distinctive–at least they used to be
distinctive–genders, the reproductive system and sub-systems of two
different genders, the temperature regulatory systems, the digestive system,
the respiratory system, the excretory systems and sub-systems, the bicameral
brain-mind system, the electrolytic control system, and the damage warning
and control system with its tissue repair system. Most of the systems have
It is easily realized that a single cell has a magnitude of
complexity that surpasses any technological system designed by mankind. The
body uses aspects of electricity and magnetism, hydraulics and fluid
dynamics, mechanics, chemistry, optics,
etc. Have I left anything out? The body has a complex set of needs for
health, vitality and survival. The responsible people pay a certain amount
of attention to maintain their health, and continually learns about how to
protect and sustain their body with its needs. They generally don't leave
this all in the hands of God
I reiterate this
sizeable list of at least two dozen major physical systems to refresh our
awareness in order to pose these questions:
Why do we assume that the spiritual side of Man–will, emotion, intelligence,
intellect, spirit (attitude) etc.,–does not have comparable systems and
sub-systems that interface, influence, interact and integrate? After all, do
we not have spiritual systems? A value system, a belief system, a religious
system (not the same thing), a conscience system, a personality system, an
emotional control system, a social support system, a self-worth and
self-identity system, a public façade system, etc.
Why assume there is any less complexity?
Why assume that IF we focused on this we could not see these aspects as
clearly as the body features?
Is it possible that IF we got our spiritual corpus of
systems “tuned up” and functioning properly, other dimensions and abilities
like telepathy would more readily surface?
Have we now even more turned our focus away from the more important side of Man?
Have we been so intellectually irresponsible that we are
profoundly ignorant about our own ignorance?
Consider that in modern society or medicine, there is little to no
disagreement about anatomy or the existing organic systems. There is no such
consensus regarding the spiritual features and faculties!
Will Durant may have strayed into mysticism with the
balance of this passage.
Will as Ultimate Reality
"Let us try, then, to interpret the
external world in terms of will. And let us go at once to the
bottom; where others have said that will is a form of force let us
say that force is a form of will.
To Hume's question–What is causality?–we shall answer, Will. As will
is the universal cause in ourselves, so is it in things; and unless
we so understand cause as will, causality will remain only a magic
and mystic formula, really meaningless. Without this secret we are
driven to mere occult qualities like "force," or "gravity," or
"affinity"; we do not know what these forces are, but we know–at
least a little more clearly–what will is; let us say, then, that
repulsion and attraction, combination and decomposition, magnetism and
electricity, gravity and crystallization, are Will." - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: The new "scientistic" view of the
world that Bryan Appleyard is railing against in his book Understanding
the Present is–to borrow Gelett Burgess'
term–the one of the "Clockwork Orange". Spiritually, it is a sterile,
monochromatic, mechanistic and desultory one based only on
causality with purpose winnowed out, and yet purpose is practically
synonymous with will. However, the last phrase above strays into mysticism,
makes "will" into the creator, the Prime Mover, and is
unnecessary to the proper exposition of will.
Primary Focus of Will.
"The will, of course,
is a will to live, and a will to maximum life. How dear life is to all living
things!...The will is a will to live; and its eternal enemy is death.
"But perhaps it can defeat even death?"- Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: WHAT A CONCEPT! Thank you, Durant, for voicing the
premise of the IFISEEKUS site and the bottom line! Maybe the time has come?
The Importance of Self
We like to believe that
all history is a halting and imperfect preparation for the magnificent era
of which we are the salt and summit; but this notion of progress is mere
conceit and folly. "In general, the wise in all ages have always said the
same things, and the fools, who at all times form the immense majority, have
in their way too acted alike, and done the opposite; and so it will
continue. For, as Voltaire says, we shall leave the world as foolish and
wicked as we found it." - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: As much truth as there is in the
premise, the conclusion is pessimistic, defeatist and uninspiring! The
purpose of the universe is either for us or we are just its byproduct! That
the "notion of progress is mere conceit and folly"
seems to be true, it may NOT be valid. If we think we see enough of the big
picture to draw this conclusion, are we not being arrogant?
Will and Determinism
"In the light of all this
we get a new and grimmer sense of the inescapable reality of determinism.
'Spinoza says (Epistle 82) that if a Stone which has been projected through
the air had consciousness, it would believe that it was moving of its own
free will. I add to this only that the stone would be right. The impulse
given it is for the stone what the motive is for me; and what in the stone
appears as cohesion, gravitation, rigidity, is in its inner nature the same
as that which I recognize in myself as well, and what the stone also, if
knowledge were given to it, would recognize as will.' But in neither the
stone nor the philosopher is the will "free". 'Will as a whole is free, for
there is no other will beside it that could limit it; but each part of the
universal Will–each species, each organism, each organ–is irrevocably
determined by the whole.'" - Will Durant
Commentary on what is above: Again, I think that Spinoza and Will Durant
are crossing the line into desultory mysticism and defeatism, and whereby we
have been reduced to intelligent, stimulus-response meat sticks. The whole
idea of "free will" here is different from what is usually meant. I/We have
a will, but it should NOT be entirely free to do its own thing, but should
serve ME/US! "I" should be free, and my will is just a part
of me; I have a body, but it should not be entirely free to do its own
thing. I am NOT my will any more than I am my body. My mind is empowered to
control–above the basic housekeeping functionality–what my body does, and
the same can be said about my intellect being empowered over my will.
A vision to die for (double entendre
This is a very dark and grim picture of Man and the human condition
portrayed by Arthur Schopenhaur and Will Durant. But do I hear what these men are saying? Oh yes! It
IS the usual norm, and what they have experienced. They ARE simply being faithful
reporters of what they see, but I neither accept nor agree with such a deterministic
condition and fate. What these two marvelous intellects have never
considered is that they are missing something, which I call the good news. A
"good news" glorious enough to BREAK out of or cut through the emotional bonds
between our/their vision and our/their cauterized will. A vision that is so inspiring
that it TRANSCENDS the otherwise inescapable conclusion to which these two remarkable men have come.
Given that the term "will" is generally associated with life and
intelligence, I would suggest that the statements above by Arthur
Schopenhaur and Will Durant are
consonant with the idea of a Creator, although the darkness and determinism
are incompatible with a "God".
I would opine that the vision delivered by the "Revelation", fully
supported by the "Demonstration", is so powerful–powerful enough to
transcend the conclusions offered above by Arthur Schopenhaur and Will
Durant–because it elevates human value and worth,
liberty and freedom, autonomy and sovereignty, and destiny to the highest
level possible or conceivable. When you raise your sights and see it, you want it, and
can't walk away from it.
"If we had followed materialism thus far with clear
ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a
fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a
dream, we would all at once become aware that its fatal
result–knowledge–which it had reached so laboriously, was presupposed as the
indispensable condition of its very starting-point. Mere matter; and when we
imagined that we thought matter, we really thought only the subject that
perceives matter: the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the
understanding that knows it. Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals
itself unexpectedly; for suddenly the last link is seen to be the
starting-point, the chain of a circle; and the materialist is like Baron
Münchausen, who, when swimming on horseback, drew the horse into the air
with his legs, and himself by his queue? The crude materialism which
even now, in the middle of the nineteenth century,
has been served up again under the ignorant delusion that it is original, ... stupidity denies vital force, and first of all tries to explain the
phenomena of life from physical and chemical forces, and those again from
the mechanical effects of matter.... But I will never believe that even
the simplest chemical combination will ever admit of mechanical explanation;
much less the properties of light, heat, and electricity. These will always
require a dynamical explanation." - Arthur Schopenhaur
B. Reality of Evil
"Seldom had the problem of evil been flung so
vividly and insistently into the face of philosophy and religion." -
C. Arcane Terminology
"found in him a philosopher who
offered them no mere pretentious jargon of metaphysical unrealities, but an
intelligible survey of the phenomena of actual life....Here is no Chinese
puzzle of Kantian terminology, no Hegelian obfuscation, no Spinozist
geometry; everything is clarity and order; and all is admirably centered
about the leading conception of the world as will" - Will Durant
 This is NOT theory for me, because I HAVE radically
changed what I believe, and it has motivated me to naturally and radically
change almost every aspect of my life: my attitude, my values, my focus, my
interests, my behavior, my emotions, my style, my diet, my friends and