I said that Existence is really bound to a perceiving will. The idea of Heidegger’s Dasein is basically one of will 1 . So let’s come to some kind of idea of what will is. As we have already said, any idea of existence is tied to a “me” or “I”, which we call the will. What does a will do? It does things! In other words, it creates behaviors that belong to the perceiver. For one thing it perceives. We might see this as being the ultimate behavior of the will; and from this behavior, all other behaviors spring. But behaviors are not random; at least, they don’t end that way, although they may start that way. Let me explain. Remember what we said change was: a remodeling of the present-perception through its time dimension. This change is brought about mainly by perceiving wills; but, when a will is first born, the change is random, because the will is discovering its bounds, so to speak; or testing what it can do. In this process it discovers a few things. First, it has the ability to control things. Next, it discovers a viewpoint; it distinguishes itself from everything else. Next, it starts to divide the world of everything else, into useful things, it can change. Next, it discovers that it has needs that it can satisfy through using behavior. Those needs come about through what we called the survival instinct. Relieving those needs allows it to create and utilize behavior according to purpose. Purpose is the process of satisfying its needs through behavior, which is, in turn, purposeful change. So, everything the will does is bound to some kind of purpose. Even its "random" action was in line with the purpose of discovery. One more thing; it acts freely. But wait a minute; didn’t we say it was acting according to need? Is that acting freely; or is that just responding to a stimulus? Well, yes and no. It is acting to a stimulus, need; but it finds, later on, it can create its own needs. Let’s move on, and then come back to this. Next it learns to think. Thinking allows it to determine its reality, and form plans and decisions to fulfill its needs. But, and this is a big but, it also finds, it can create needs for its behavior. Bingo! It can create free purpose, or free will. There it is in a nut shell.
So, lets bring out some other points; it has created its own reality, and the viewpoint from which to view this reality. Notice that reason is something tied to the perception or reality that is learned by the will. It is a part of the reality, not the will. When the will is unfocused from the reality, through death, it leaves reason behind, and has to learn it all over again, with a new focus at birth. The will learns reason over time, and with learning reason, it also learns purpose through creating needs that it uses behaviors to satisfy. It also learns to postpone satisfaction and create indirect purpose through need substitution. In other words, it learns to assess situations, and make appropriate decisions to satisfy its own needs. So, we see all of this is tied to mortality; or the focusing into a mortal body.
Now we come to the nitty-gritty. If the will can create needs and purpose freely, then what need is there for a God, with a divine Purpose and rationality? He is an illusion of man’s own creation. Man has no need of him; the Golden rule comes about through the usefulness of “society” to further man’s survival, nothing more. Thus, atheism is born!
But on the contrary, as St Thomas would say; I have explained a lot above, but I haven’t given any explanation of where the will comes from. Think about it, rationality can explain everything except the existence of that “I”, the will represents. Oh, it is even beyond the fact of life itself. It is truly what distinguishes man from all other life on earth 2 . I think one scientist in artificial intelligence called it ‘that ”efflorescence” from mechanism that makes an artifact think’. Nobody has explained that “efflorescence”, because it is unexplainable. And true, the Golden rule might be explained as coming about as above, but what about that feeling, that empathy that makes us identify with others, and feel what they feel; that need for spiritual unity, a lover feels for his beloved? That is where the word spirituality actually comes from; from man’s rational failure to deal with these things, except through the higher realm of God. For the atheist life has no purpose, except survival – how sad. For the believer, life has one purpose – union with God; and one way – through the union of mankind!
I wrote an essay on love that describes it, but I never really explained it. What is love? It certainly isn’t rational; and, in a way, it is all about that unexplainable “I”, the will. Man or woman is focused into the “I” of a mortal body. He or she becomes that focus, a viewpoint that can’t be changed except through death or birth. Yet they can be joined through love. Twin soul love is like that; it provides a way out of the prison of the “focus” of the will. Also, it’s that mystical experience that St. Augustine describes that brought him to God. It’s that love of life that I talked about, as the highest form of love. None of this is rational, but I hear the psychologists remonstrating: "it all comes about through various defense mechanisms of the mind". But what is the mind? It’s the will, the “I” nobody can explain! Freud, and I greatly respect this genius of a man, was grounded in science; but, in a way, he was rationalizing away something, he couldn’t come to grips with: the “I” of the will. Sure, he could hide it in his “interface” called the personality, but he couldn’t really come to explain it in his science. It is beyond purpose, which it creates; it gives everything a viewpoint, but it isn’t the body, or even life. What is it? Don’t expect an answer; there just isn’t one, except one: it’s that deus ex machina, God. That’s what I showed in the essay on Cosmology. God is the actual “I” or will; and, at birth, when the will is focused into the body, it becomes the deus ex machina behind the Ego, which is formed by the interaction with the mortal world. It expresses itself in the GOOD. Catholics might call it, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost; God’s grace.
This brings up another point; what about Jesus Christ... was He God or man? He was both, as we all are; only he was all God, while we are only infused with God’s influence (say, the Holy Ghost or grace). Christ was all God focused into a body, 3 but impervious to its mortal influence; while we aren’t. Our wills are a part of God, but are totally under the influence of the Ego, except for the influence of the GOOD – that is why we have free will.
We can explain the “I” by a faith in a God; and come to higher deductions about all of this, as I did in the essay on Cosmology. As St. Thomas pointed out, we can use faith as the axioms of our deductions. In essence, that’s what social science is now doing, because it can’t explain the “I” of the will; but faith can, and even build a rational hypothesis that’s just as good as science can come up with. And, it explains the duality of mind and matter that science can’t bridge.
1 I promise not to write a book about will, as Heidegger did about existence. If you have read Heidegger’s book you will appreciate this comment.
2 It’s interesting to speculate on just why and when the will entered life. Life had to have achieved a certain structural complexity, in order to accommodate the “I” of the will. The brain had to have been developed enough to create the environment that the will could work on. The will seems to exist in forms lower than man, but it is not like a human will. The difference, and this is merely a guess, is not that it cannot perceive the difference between itself and everything else, but that it is not self-aware. This self-awareness really shows the difference between human and non-human. This is another unexplainable phenomenon. If you remember, when you were a child, there was a point where this awareness became suddenly awakened in you. I remember it happened to me as I was watching the old TV show “Sky King” one day long ago. I suddenly realized, I could never be, or take the viewpoint of those little people in the TV. I had become “self” aware; I had found the prison the “me” lived in, and would forever live in. I was separate from everything else, and I knew it. This awakening to personal reality is a distinct human achievement. But in speaking of the will entering life, it is interesting that self-awareness (self-knowledge achievable through the use of reason) is really a part of rationality; or dependent on it. So, it seems that rationality must be achieved, before the will can become aware. This seems to point to a common heritage for all wills, human or non-human. There seems to be a threshold in life, after which self-awareness happens. The soul, of all living things, seems to be the same, and have that “infinite potential” residing in it that allows it to fully occupy life as far as the life form allows it to go. This immediately brings to mind the oriental concepts of YING (the world or the mortal) AND YANG (heavenly potential). YANG is just such an idea as this “infinitely potential” will, which inhabits life. And, YING is the life spirit (the perishable or mortal part) that brings it into fruition, and nurtures it. YANG is the Holy Ghost or grace of God, in Catholic terms. YING is the mortal world, and all that goes with it. YING only goes astray when it won’t let go; then it causes trouble, and both suffer the consequences. All of this still further reinforces that intuition that there is something immortal that pervades life; that gives it something more, if it can indeed deal with it; and, that it is not of the same quality as anything mortal. That there is a “foreign”, and yet immortal substance, which makes all life the same, even when it appears so very different. It makes us realize all the more, the stupidity of man to alienate himself from others, when all life cries out with an eternal plea for unity.
3 Sorry, here, I mention my own "beliefs"; one doesn’t have to think of Christ at all as God, per se; only as an embodiment of Universal love, more perfectly embodied than is usual in the human being. If so, his delusion (as to being the Messiah) was much more clear in its wisdom of life than any of the "wise" men, or the religion of his time were. His insights into the way to "find" God were more than "novel"; they were indeed quite revolutionary; and, he did, indeed, foretell the outcome: his own "sacrifice" of his mortal existence. The religious bigotry of his time could not let such a man live, for this "rabbi" was a threat to the continual "separation" of his people from the rest of humanity (he was a threat to their identity as a "religious" people: "the chosen"). This "Messiah" was not a deliverer; but an "integrator". His message was the message of the unity of humanity, as opposed to the bondage of the "narrow-minded" religious intolerance of his people. The supreme paradox is that, today, Christianity has only distorted this very same "message" and its technique, back into that very same religious government and bureaucracy that his murderers practiced; in essence, we have come full circle, back to the very same point, in the seeming never ending replay of man's mistakes, where we were in his time. How many Messiahs must humanity experience, before it finally understands this message?
Originally Published:April 20, 2008
Revised:November 18, 2016