Wednesday, November 12, 2003

This morning I had a realization: some of the lowest, and highest, states that man can aspire to have a commonality - the lack of experiencing a strong sense of will. On the lower end of the spectrum, for example: you light up another cigarette, even though you've promised yourself you would quit smoking yesterday. The sensation of will is minimal, it's as if you're compelled by some inner force. Another example: some weekends, if I find myself inside of the Union Square subway station, I will fall into my pattern of walking to the uptown 4 train as I do when I'm going to work during the week. My mind gets to wandering, and I end up on the wrong platform before I "snap out of it". Again, the sensation of will is very weak, it's as if my body slipped into it's usual program without much conscious effort on my part. Some examples on the other end of the spectrum: many times when I'm DJing, or really doing any other skilled activity which I've trained for often (dancing, playing a sport, etc), I can slip into a mode where I'm not fully consciously aware of my actions. The instinct I've developed takes over, and sense of will is not well connected to the individual actions. During many of these activities, things are happening so fast it's actually physically impossible for the sensation of will to keep up. Many athletes and artisans have reported similar states when they play music, paint, etc. Another example: creativity and deep insight almost always occur without the sense of will. Try as we might to unravel a riddle, the effort seems to only tighten the knot of mystery - and then, lying in bed later that night, it comes to us in a flash! An apple falls on Newton's head, and he has a sudden insight into the nature of gravity.

One good thing that has come of all this thinking about will and causality is that it's helping me become more aware of the process which I experience as existence, as well as expanding the boundaries of my perception of said process. I've been trying for a long time to put some sort of mental construct in place, a framework which will allow deeper insight into the function of my own psychological programs. This is just another step towards that end, another cog on the gear.

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