The World Is Will & Communication
Ok, so here is the biggest social problem of them all: humans are, almost by definition, willful creatures. I would argue that it is not our intelligence or our emotionality that makes us unique and special. It is our will.
Few philosophers have properly and directly focused on will. Most notably is “Nietzsche’s Will to Power”. But I place that all in quotes because it is likely that he borrowed/learned from another philosopher whose main work was “The World as Will and Representation/Idea”: Arthur Schopenhauer. But we are not here to debate who said it first, we are here to discuss will directly.
Going beyond philosophy, it is obviously hard for social scientists to study “will” and of itself. What do you test for? A person’s decision-making? What choices did they have in the first place? Some have studied decision-making, and this does in fact seem to be the closest we can get to “will” itself. But what is will anyway?
Will = Idea + Communication
Although there are better ways to define will, this is the formulation that most people are likely to understand most easily. “Will” is a combination of idea and communication in the sense that there must be something to start with. Something concrete yet intangible. Perhaps ephemeral like a momentary thought. An idea. But then, it must interact with something else in some way. It must express itself. Verbally, visually, physically. It doesn’t matter how, the important part is that there must be some communication of the idea, otherwise it can’t even exist in a vacuum (this will be the topic for another article, but in essence it means that someone with an idea must be able to conceive of it by communicating it to himself/herself).
Now, think of the word will. It can have many meanings.
It can be a legal document about what should happen to your “stuff” after death. It can be a verb signaling that something “will” take place in the future or a request for something to happen in the future (“will you please __?”). But all of these, as well as the concept of “will” have one thing in common: intentionality/expectation.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
In the same way that “correlation is not causation” (a phrase often abused by people trying to sound educated), “causality is not intentionality”. What…