will and willpower

while my blog was in hiatus, i was not entirely silent. conversations happened on twitter, for example this one regarding the concepts of “will” and “will power”, mostly with gassho.

i was going to comment on some of these, also give you the tweets of what other people were saying. but perhaps it would be interesting to read this as is? what do you make of it? does it inspire you to think of the ideas of “will” and “will power”?

(just three hints for those of you not familiar with twitter: 1) read from bottom to top; 2) the “@” followed by a word is to draw the attention of the person you’re tweeting with – in twitter, instead of saying “hey, gassho!”, you write @gassho; and 3) RT means “retweet” – it’s a repeat of what the person with the @ sign has just recently tweeted)

.@gassho what you’re saying about will makes me think that you see will mostly as some sort of creative force. would that be correct?

.@gassho @dtclarinet will as “oppositional” insofar as there is a connotation of overcoming obstacles

.@womanmonk yes but what IS that “will”power? “power=ability to act” – totally agree

.@gassho i wouldn’t associate the spontaneity of jumping with joy with will power. also can’t see how flower turning to light = willpower

.@gassho can you give an example of “will” in flora?

.@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach eg “i will myself to get out of bed”? interesting – hard to think of will other than as an oppositional force

1 of th reasons why im concerned about “will” is bec “lack of willpower” is often cited as reason for addiction. sad. #mentalhealthmonday

.@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach we could ask ourselves, “is will different from intention, commitment and drive, and if yes, how?”

.@gassho @johnfw @moneycoach wikipedia’s entry on “will” is not bad http://tinyurl.com/nb8jfd

.@gassho @johnfw @hrheingold says some interesting things re how “will” is so easily distracted by the monkey mind http://tinyurl.com/mfgonl

.@gassho @johnfw love the idea of co-willing with higher power/god/buddha nature. q still: what is the will?

.@gassho what is the personal will? what are its mechanisms? what drives the will?

.@gassho how would you define spirit-full will power then?

RT @gassho Just like anything else, will can be & needs to be spiritualized.

RT @gassho .@moritherapy Just b/c at all levels of society will manifests in macho form doesnt make will macho. Its simply a power.

.@gassho i guess someone who has studied nietzsche in detail would be helpful to discuss “will”. @akarra?

.@gassho in german, there’s will as in willpower but the aux verb to denote future is “werden” = becoming

.@gassho what is “will” then? interesting btw that in english, “will” has two strong meanings (“willpower” and “i will do this”)

i will now use my willpower to clean up before the carpet cleaners come

.@gassho … or will power can be a hatchet that attacks more than it creates. not saying it’s “bad” but often misunderstood

.@gassho “macho” isn’t gender specific either, it’s an attitude. IMO will power can be a fickle tool that gets dull if used too often, or –

hm – too macho for my taste: RT @mentalhealth1 RT @gassho RT @ScreamingEagle1: “Great souls have wills; feeble souls have wishes” #quote


  1. What interests me is the relation of the part (the will) to the whole (me).

    Usually the will is equated with forcing or overcoming opposition – I have strong will and so force myself to do something I don’t want to – at least in the short term.

    Does this mean that it is not relevant to creative pursuits? Lots of energy and choice can be involved here.

    I think we can persist without doing violence to ourselves.

    This really is a fascinating topic I think.

    Charles Taylor (a Canadian philosopher) has an interesting – and incredibly verbose – book on our modern sense of the self: it’s insulation from influence and focus on choice. Well worth a skim of the first few chapters I think. It’s called A Secular Age.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Empathy and Communication =-.

  2. @pamir thanks for the suggestion re favouriting. i wonder whether you saw the introduction to this: “i was going to comment on some of these, also give you the tweets of what other people were saying. but perhaps it would be interesting to read this as is?” so i was not claiming to do any true reporting.

    would you like to add the points that you think would enrich this post?

    @evan the idea of seeing the will as parts of the whole is intriguing.

    i have not the least bit of doubt that the “overcoming” will can play a strong part in creativity. amolng many, the composer bartok comes to mind, who spoke eloquently of the positive influence of discipline on creativity.

    aaah, discipline, there’s another word. and the word you used – persistence.

    i have good memories of reading charles taylor. will get the book from the library.

    i like how you link the concept of will to the concept of the self.

    @jörg thanks for your kind comment! anything you’d like to add to the discussion? you’re welcome to do it in german 🙂

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