Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Will to be Well Perceived

Do we human beings have a fundamental will which is dominant and insuppressible in the face of our other wills and motivations? Many people, extremely intelligent philosophers and psychologists among them, have insisted that the fundamental will is the will to self-preservation. What are we to say, however, about dangerous occupations and hobbies, extraordinary and reckless courage in battle, suicide, and martyrdom? What has led some people to disregard their lives for the sake of something else? Looking honestly at myself I do not see an irrepressible will to self-preservation. There are things for which I would consciously risk my life or even die. And at times life itself is not especially precious to me at all. What I do see when I look at myself is the will to be well perceived.

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