Friday, 23 October 2015

Will, Providence and Winston Churchill

This exposition is edited and adapted from William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness pages 213-4:

We sometimes consider the human will to be something like a show of psychological strength and virility. And providence or fate, therefore, may seem to be a product of mastery by some individual's will. But the true will works in a manner that is almost completely contrary to this idea. 

The true will achieves its purpose in harmony with every other will. This happens by the true will working behind the scenes, along with all other wills, at a level far behind the surface of things. 

The true will recognizes the value of all things, and aims to be harmless towards every form of life, by working quietly and patiently, and eventually bringing-together and arranging all the correct factors in the correct place and at the correct time.

So, by the time we observe the will at work in some way which seems providential, this is merely the endpoint of a vast and complex and extremely subtle arrangement of factors which have been coming-together over a long period of time. 

So subtle; that the appearance is one of a staggering multiplicity of coincidences, or a providential event of extraordinary improbability.

When we notice that a strong and able individual (a 'great man') appears in political life at a very critical time, we may say that 'the time produces the man'. This may partly be true; but in reality the necessary individual may be present at the critical time because the crisis and that individual's being were inseparably connected by that individual's true will from a long time previously. That individual's true will was able to foresee the confrontation of the forces which created the crisis.  

In effect, the true will of the great man designed-itself to be present as an individual person, exactly in order to be able to take part in the crisis which required it.

Winston Churchill is a case which comes to mind.