Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mysteries of the Will

Leslie H. Farber writes about the two realms of the will--the deeper realm in which one "decides without knowing that a decision has taken place," and the realm that is conscious, "experienced during the event," which "presses tward a particular objective," and "can be said, roughly speaking, to be utilitarian in character."
"The problem of the will," he writes, "lies in our recurring temptation to apply the will of the second realm to those portions of life that not only will not comply, but that will become distorted under such coercion. Let me give a few examples: I can will knowledge, but not wisdom; going to bed, but not sleeping; eating, but not hunger; meekness, but not humility; scrupulosity, but not virtue; self-assertion or bravado, but not courage; lust, but not love; commiseration, but not sympathy; congratulations, but not admiration; religiosity, but not faith; reading, but not understanding." According to Faber, attempting to apply the force of the second realm on the subtler and deeper matters of the first actually causes distortion, damage, and atrophy to the powers of the first kind of will.

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