Thursday, June 05, 2008

On Will , Faith, Instinct, Reason, and Thought

My use of the word Real below is as an aspect, a recognizable face (facet), of the motive force, spirit, that informs all that is. One could as easily use other words such as God, the Truth, the One, and so forth. This note ties in with much of what is written elsewhere in my blog and takes a step or two towards making a case for free will.

My reading of Blaise Pascal Pensee 340 wherein he observes that animals will but can't do math leads me to contemplate that there can be will without thought. Consider that will as principle preexists thought in that sentient life must emerge, become self aware, evolve a sense of cause and effect, and develop the use of symbols before the emergence of thinking itself. I am suggesting that thinking in the anthropomorphic sense does not occur for every order of being but that will perhaps does. The Real itself is a kind of being but does it observe the consequences of action within itself and think to affect those consequences by offering different action? Or does the Real rather through an exercise of will set creation in motion and let the consequences work themselves out? I don't think the Real apart from utilization of the self conscious faculties of created sentient beings has self awareness. I do think it has awareness itself but in the sense that one is aware equally of all that is in every particular as well as in total, that awareness can't be reflexive. It is only when awareness, consciousness, enters into a part of the whole and looks back on the whole from the standpoint of a separate being that self awareness enters into reality. So I think thought is an expression of consciousness in adequately developed sentient life forms. Furthermore in the Real awareness is something possessed in the sense that it exists as a potentiality awaiting the arising of conditions suitable for its emergence.

Consider also that instinct is related to will while reason is related to thought. So animal's instinct is a more primitive expression of the principle of will than in man while reason is similarly an evolute of the development of thought.

This brings up the question of whether faith is the opposite of will. I think not exactly. Faith is not intention but the yielding to intrinsic intention, existential will. Seeing there is something in the nature of existence that in reality is beyond my understanding, while I apprehend benevolence therein, I yield, that is, suspend "my" little will to preexisting will, that exists potentially and really in the very stuff of being. That, I think, is faith.

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