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other--as scientists--that will is determined in its operations by causes that reach back in an endless chain. The
power to choose and the power to act may be heightened by advice and admonitions. In this sense we may
properly tell a man to use his will, and we may seek to introduce into him motives that will fortify his
resolution, remove or increase his inhibitions, make clearer his choice. But that will is an entity, existing by
itself and pulling at levers of conduct without itself being organic, need not be entertained by any
serious-minded student of his kind.
Is there a unit, will? A will power? I can see no good evidence for this belief except the generalizing trend of
human thought and the fallacy that raises abstractions into realities. Napoleon had a strong will in regard to CHAPTER VII. 53 his battles and a weak one regarding women. Pitt was a determined statesman but could not resist the lure of
drink. Socrates found no difficulty in dying for his beliefs, but asked not to be tempted by a beautiful youth.
Francis Bacon took all knowledge to be his province, and his will was equal to the task, but he found the
desire for riches too great for him. In reality, man is a mosaic of wills; and the will of each instinct, each
desire, each purpose, is the intensity of that instinct, desire or purpose. In each of us there is a clash of wills,
as the trends in our character oppose one another. The united self harmonizes its purposes and wills into as
nearly one as possible; the disunited self is standing unsteadily astride two or more horses. We all know that it
is easy for us to accomplish certain things and difficult to make up our minds to do others. Like and dislike,
facility or difficulty are part of each purpose and enter into each will as parts.
Such a view does not commit one to fatalism, at least in conduct. Desiring to accomplish something or
desiring to avoid doing something, both of which are usually considered as part of willing, we must seek to
find motives and influences that will help us. We must realize that each choice, each act, changes the world
for us and every one else and seek to harmonize our choice and acts with the purposes we regard as our best....
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11