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On the Will

Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:28 pm
by joeyv23
It is necessary that I define my use of some concepts as they aren't constrained to the standard definitions. This will give anyone reading other posts of mine a reference point since I'm not using the concepts are they are usually defined.

  1. what someone wants to happen i.e. crave, desire, lust for
auxiliary verb
  1. used to express desire, choice, willingness, consent, or in negative constructions refusal
  2. used to express frequent, customary, or habitual action or natural tendency

will power
  1. someone’s determination to do what is necessary to achieve what they want
auxiliary verb
  1. used to express capability or sufficiency
  2. the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion**
free will
  1. the capacity to freely make conscious use of will power
In Classical Philosophy:
Wikipedia wrote:The classical treatment of the ethical importance of will is to be found in the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, in Books III (chapters 1-5), and Book VII (chapters 1-10). These discussions have been a major influence in the development of ethical and legal thinking in western civilization.

In Book III Aristotle divided actions into three categories instead of two:
  • Voluntary (ekousion) acts.
  • Involuntary or unwilling (akousion) acts, which are in the simplest case where people do not praise or blame. In such cases a person does not choose the wrong thing, for example if the wind carries a person off, or if a person has a wrong understanding of the particular facts of a situation. Note that ignorance of what aims are good and bad, such as people of bad character always have, is not something people typically excuse as ignorance in this sense. "Acting on account of ignorance seems different from acting while being ignorant".
  • "Non-voluntary" or "non willing" actions (ouk ekousion) which are bad actions done by choice, or more generally (as in the case of animals and children when desire or spirit causes an action) whenever "the source of the moving of the parts that are instrumental in such actions is in oneself" and anything "up to oneself either to do or not". However, these actions are not taken because they are preferred in their own right, but rather because all options available are worse.
"Ekousion" and "ouk ekousion" fall under 'free will,' denoted by the activity of volunteering or not-volunteering / non-willing which are, themselves, willful actions. "Akousion" falls under 'will'. This is contrary to the classical consideration of will, in that there ought not be the desire for something bad to happen. Did the person who was blown away by the wind desire it to be so? I answer, yes, even though it was likely not a conscious desire. This issue is addressed later in the Early-modern philosophical era.

This leads us into the conversation about predestination where manipulation of the collective is concerned as there was a willful decision to allow circumstances to become and lead to where they are. Because of the willful, unconscious decision of the collective human consciousness to engage in/ accept interaction with the gods as well as the macrobe, (this coming from a top-down non-physical-->physical perspective) the free will decisions/directives of the NWO types supersedes the free will choices made by those within the collective until the free will decisions/actions of the individual earns a higher priority/value by its direction towards conscious evolution. This is part of the Breaking Out process as apprehended in the 70s science-fiction show, "The Tomorrow People". Until the individual begins to break out and move along a y-axis of development, even though it is thought by the individual that "I am exercising my free will", what is really occurring is they are being lead by the nose. The "growth" experienced at this level is a circling around on the x-axis of the first tier of Spiral Dynamics. What should be spiral action indicating movement along both an x and y axis has instead become a hypnotist's wheel.

From Medieval-European philosophy:
Inspired by Islamic philosophers Avicenna and Averroes, Aristotelian philosophy became part of a standard approach to all legal and ethical discussion in Europe by the time of Thomas Aquinas. His philosophy can be seen as a synthesis of Aristotle and early Christian doctrine as formulated by Boethius and Augustine of Hippo, although sources such as Maimonides and Plato and the aforementioned Muslim scholars are also cited.

With the use of Scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica makes a structured treatment of the concept of will. A very simple representation of this treatment may look like this:
  • Does the will desire nothing? (No.)
  • Does it desire all things of necessity, whatever it desires? (No.)
  • Is it a higher power than the intellect? (No.)
  • Does the will move the intellect? (Yes.)
  • Is the will divided into irascible and concupiscible? (No.)
This is related to the following points on free will:
  • Does man have free-will? (Yes.)
  • What is free-will—a power, an act, or a habit? (A power.)
  • If it is a power, is it appetitive or cognitive? (Appetitive.)
  • If it is appetitive, is it the same power as the will, or distinct? (The same, with contingencies).
Here we encounter the idea that the will is more basic than intellect. Systems that place will as a function equivalent to thinking and feeling are attempting to find a place for an active principle, but I've found that will underlies those functions as well. Appetitive as an adjective for will is synonymous with the concept of desire or craving.

Early-modern philosophy:
The use of English in philosophical publications began in the early modern period, and therefore the English word "will" became a term used in philosophical discussion. During this same period, Scholasticism, which had largely been a Latin language movement, was heavily criticized. Both Francis Bacon and René Descartes described the human intellect or understanding as something which needed to be considered limited, and needing the help of a methodical and skeptical approach to learning about nature. Bacon emphasized the importance analyzing experience in an organized way, for example experimentation, while Descartes, seeing the success of Galileo in using mathematics in physics, emphasized the role of methodical reasoning as in mathematics and geometry. Descartes specifically said that error comes about because the will is not limited to judging things which the understanding is limited to, and described the possibility of such judging or choosing things ignorantly, without understanding them, as free will. Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, considered the freedom of human will is to work toward individual salvation and constrictions occur due to the work of passion that a person holds. Augustine calls will as “the mother and guardian of all virtues”.

Under the influence of Bacon and Descartes, Thomas Hobbes made one of the first attempts to systematically analyze ethical and political matters in a modern way. He defined will in his Leviathan Chapter VI, in words which explicitly criticize the medieval scholastic definitions:

"In deliberation, the last appetite, or aversion, immediately adhering to the action, or to the omission thereof, is that we call the will; the act, not the faculty, of willing. And beasts that have deliberation, must necessarily also have will. The definition of the will, given commonly by the Schools, that it is a rational appetite, is not good. For if it were, then could there be no voluntary act against reason. For a voluntary act is that, which proceedeth from the will, and no other. But if instead of a rational appetite, we shall say an appetite resulting from a precedent deliberation, then the definition is the same that I have given here. Will therefore is the last appetite in deliberating. And though we say in common discourse, a man had a will once to do a thing, that nevertheless he forbore to do; yet that is properly but an inclination, which makes no action voluntary; because the action depends not of it, but of the last inclination, or appetite. For if the intervenient appetites, make any action voluntary; then by the same reason all intervenient aversions, should make the same action involuntary; and so one and the same action, should be both voluntary and involuntary.

By this it is manifest, that not only actions that have their beginning from covetousness, ambition, lust, or other appetites to the thing propounded; but also those that have their beginning from aversion, or fear of those consequences that follow the omission, are voluntary actions."
Here we find reconciliation of the issue mentioned before in the Classical era, of negative circumstances also being a product of will.
Concerning "free will", most early modern philosophers, including Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke and Hume believed that the term was frequently used in a wrong or illogical sense, and that the philosophical problems concerning any difference between "will" and "free will" are due to verbal confusion (because all will is free):

"a FREEMAN, is he, that in those things, which by his strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindered to do what he has a will to. But when the words free, and liberty, are applied to any thing but bodies, they are abused; for that which is not subject to motion, is not subject to impediment: and therefore, when it is said, for example, the way is free, no liberty of the way is signified, but of those that walk in it without stop. And when we say a gift is free, there is not meant any liberty of the gift, but of the giver, that was not bound by any law or covenant to give it. So when we speak freely, it is not the liberty of voice, or pronunciation, but of the man, whom no law hath obliged to speak otherwise than he did. Lastly, from the use of the word free-will, no liberty can be inferred of the will, desire, or inclination, but the liberty of the man; which consisteth in this, that he finds no stop, in doing what he has the will, desire, or inclination to do.."

Spinoza argues that seemingly "free" actions aren't actually free, or that the entire concept is a chimera because "internal" beliefs are necessarily caused by earlier external events. The appearance of the internal is a mistake rooted in ignorance of causes, not in an actual volition, and therefore the will is always determined. Spinoza also rejects teleology, and suggests that the causal nature along with an originary orientation of the universe is everything we encounter.

Some generations later, David Hume made a very similar point to Hobbes in other words:

"But to proceed in this reconciling project with regard to the question of liberty and necessity; the most contentious question of metaphysics, the most contentious science; it will not require many words to prove, that all mankind have ever agreed in the doctrine of liberty as well as in that of necessity, and that the whole dispute, in this respect also, has been hitherto merely verbal. For what is meant by liberty, when applied to voluntary actions? We cannot surely mean that actions have so little connexion with motives, inclinations, and circumstances, that one does not follow with a certain degree of uniformity from the other, and that one affords no inference by which we can conclude the existence of the other. For these are plain and acknowledged matters of fact. By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will; that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may. Now this hypothetical liberty is universally allowed to belong to every one who is not a prisoner and in chains. Here, then, is no subject of dispute."
I remain in agreement with those early modern philosophers, including Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke and Hume who believed that the term "free will" is still frequently used in a wrong or illogical sense, and that the philosophical problems concerning any difference between "will" and "free will" are due to verbal confusion.

I find it interesting to note the propositions made by Hobbes and Hume about the illogical nature of calling "free will" - "free" in relation to the period in time which they were engaged in their philosophical ponderings. This shift in the rhetoric occurred, not surprisingly, after the 16th century after Dee had his interaction with the macrobe. When I consider the term "free will", I find it simpler to consider that it is the capacity to direct the will, freely, as a conscious decision/act. The semantics behind the use of the word "free" and its connotation to liberty are applicable, and it is in these regards that I find it most interesting, this shift that occurred in philosophical thought post 16th century.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau added a new type of will to those discussed by philosophers, which he called the "General will" (volonté générale). This concept developed from Rousseau's considerations on the social contract theory of Hobbes, and describes the shared will of a whole citizenry, whose agreement is understood to exist in discussions about the legitimacy of governments and laws.
This follows from my previous statements about the willfulness of societies' agreement to be in the situation that it is.

Kant's Transcendental Idealism claimed that "all objects are mere appearances [phenomena]." He asserted that "nothing whatsoever can ever be said about the thing in itself that may be the basis of these appearances." Kant's critics responded by saying that Kant had no right, therefore, to assume the existence of a thing in itself.

Schopenhauer disagreed with Kant's critics and stated that it is absurd to assume that phenomena have no basis. Schopenhauer proposed that we cannot know the thing in itself as though it is a cause of phenomena. Instead, he said that we can know it by knowing our own body, which is the only thing that we can know at the same time as both a phenomenon and a thing in itself.

When we become conscious of ourself, we realize that our essential qualities are endless urging, craving, striving, wanting, and desiring. These are characteristics of that which we call our will. Schopenhauer affirmed that we can legitimately think that all other phenomena are also essentially and basically will. According to him, will "is the innermost essence, the kernel, of every particular thing and also of the whole. It appears in every blindly acting force of nature, and also in the deliberate conduct of man…." Schopenhauer said that his predecessors mistakenly thought that the will depends on knowledge. According to him, though, the will is primary and uses knowledge in order to find an object that will satisfy its craving. That which, in us, we call will is Kant's "thing in itself", according to Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer put the puzzle of free will and moral responsibility in these terms:

"Everyone believes himself a priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life ... But a posteriori, through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity, that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns..."

In his On the Freedom of the Will, Schopenhauer stated, "You can do what you will, but in any given moment of your life you can will only one definite thing and absolutely nothing other than that one thing."
I came to these same conclusions that Schopenhauer did before I even ventured to take a look at the development of the philosophy of will. I do, however, depart from his philosophy to the extent that he took it, in that upon discovering that we are not free, the only escape from the situation is "not-wanting" (which is willful) which leads to apathy, which leads to boredom, which leads to desire, which starts the cycle over again. I don't share his same desire to free myself from will through strict asceticism. I am free to direct will as I will, but I am not free from will, itself. And that doesn't drive me to the same extremes that it did for Schopenhauer. In regards to his statement in his On the Freedom of Will, I contest that he is describing the active principle that for so long has been attached to will. I see will as separate from action. You can have will to action, but the concepts are distinct and separate.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was influenced by Schopenhauer when younger, but later felt him to be wrong. However, he maintained a modified focus upon will, making the term "will to power" famous as an explanation of human aims and actions.
Nietzche's contribution to the philosophical dialogue stands arm in arm with what is presented in The Celestine Prophecy as the human drive to obtain power. It is currently, primarily an external affair because man has forgotten how to derive it from his own inner essence. This is the foundation for control dramas employed to obtain energy which is--to my eyes--the current strongest craving/desire of will at the collective level and is likely compensation for being a species whose existence is founded upon having its energy taken and used for purposes other than what it would do for itself given the opportunity/freedom.

In related disciplines:
Psychologists also deal with issues of will and "willpower" the ability to affect will in behavior; some people are highly intrinsically motivated and do whatever seems best to them, while others are "weak-willed" and easily suggestible (extrinsically motivated) by society or outward inducement. Apparent failures of the will and volition have also been reported associated with a number of mental and neurological disorders. They also study the phenomenon of Akrasia, wherein people seemingly act against their best interests and know that they are doing so (for instance, restarting cigarette smoking after having intellectually decided to quit). Advocates of Sigmund Freud's psychology stress the importance of the influence of the unconscious mind upon the apparent conscious exercise of will. Abraham Low, a critic of psychoanalysis, stressed the importance of will, the ability to control thoughts and impulses, as fundamental for achieving mental health.
I have been able to develop my philosophy of will because I willfully engaged in being weak willed for a very long portion of this life. I also engaged, as a matter of free will, in Akrasia last year and started smoking again. I've stopped smoking again and it was this free will action that put my complexes in close enough coherence for LB to be able to help me across the bridge and consciously experience Unity for the first time in this incarnation. There is something to be said for the amount of energy that we give to our vices and in shifting the direction of focus for that energy, if done properly, we can launch ourselves away from where we just were at warp speed.

**This definition is usually attributed to free will, but for my purposes fits more closely with my concept of will power ... can/will_2