THE BLOG
12/12/2014 03:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Naked Will

2014-12-12-Schopenhauer.jpg

Think back on the all the watersheds in your existence. And then poll yourself. Have these resulted from the single-minded pursuit of victory or are they seemingly serendipitous or fortuitous happenstances, the result of simply putting one foot in front of the other. Looking back were obsessional goals pursued unremittingly, with the notion that nothing else could bring pleasure, the source of your most enduring and satisfying jobs or relationships. Take that apartment you had always wanted in the Village, despite its cost and the change in the fabric of the community. If only you could get it, the feeling of longing that had always torn you apart would leave. Finally it became available. You arrived. Home, at last! Your dream come true. But were you happy there, or did it become a haunted house, the site of dissolution and decay? On the other hand, in those cases where you missed out, did one door close and another literally open? The recovery movement folks say "you know want you want, but do you know what you need." Once you moved into your second choice, did it seem like you'd always lived there and you couldn't have been happier anywhere else? Of course, switch person or job for apartment and ask yourself the same question. Sure you have to take action to produce any results. But is there a direct relationship between will and the satisfaction of desire or it more like a dialectic, in which unseen pleasures await the person who keeps an open mind? Those who are religious believe God has a plan. However, you don't have to adhere to predestination to accept the notion that subliminal forces, for good or bad, may play a more important role in the unfolding of your fate than naked will.

Portrait of Arthur Schopenhauer, author of The World as Will and Representation, by Jules Lunteschutz

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}