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The Slave Will And The Master Will

Manifest Your Desires Effortlessly

All deep students of psychology discover that the Will is the innermost, garment of the Ego—the mental sheath which lies beneath all the others, and which clings closely to the substance of the Ego, so closely that it can scarcely be distinguished from its wearer. And so, the race has become accustomed to identifying the Will with the Ego. For instance, we speak of a "weak will," or a "strong will," a "vacillating will," or a "persistent, determined will"; when we really mean to indicate the different degrees of the activity and expression of the Ego itself.

Perhaps you will get more clearly this conception of the Ego behind the Will, if we continue our illustration of the Ego as sleeping in the cast of the great masses of the race, half-awake in the smaller portion of the race, and wide-awake in the elect few who may be called the Master Minds. While this illustration is of course figurative, it is based upon the actual facts of the case before us, and, moreover, comes so closely to the real manifestations of the Ego that it may he used in almost a literal sense.

The sleeping Ego is like a person wrapped in slumber, who is almost unconscious, but who will "turn over," or "move over" at the command of the bedfellow. In some cases the degree of waking-consciousness is somewhat higher, as in the case of the child who, half roused from slumber, will do what it is told by its parent, but without clearly realizing just what it is doing. This illustration may be carried even still further, and the sleeping Ego compared to the somnambulist, or "sleep-walker," who "goes through the motions" of performing many tasks and actions, but who is but very dimly conscious (or practically unconscious) of just what he is doing or how he is doing it.

The masses of the race, in whom the Ego is dwelling in this condition, are really little more than automatons. Their wills are called into activity by every passing desire, their passions and desires are uncontrolled, and their thought-processes are the result of suggestions made by others but which they accept and then fondly imagine they have thought the thing for themselves. They are like the wind-harps upon which the winds of the passing breeze blow, and from which the responsive sounds are produced. It is a fact known to careful students of psychology that in the case of the masses of the race the mental processes, and the will activity, are practically those of an automaton, or psychical machine, there being little or no voluntary effort exerted or voluntary choice or decision made.

The wills of such persons are Slave Wills, subject to the influence, control, and direction of others; although their owners may fondly imagine that they are sound thinkers and possessed of powerful wills. The will processes of such persons are almost entirely what are known as "reflex" activities, requiring the employment of but little powers of judgment and little or no exercise of voluntary control. Do you realize just what this means? Probably not; so you are asked to consider what ''reflex'' activity really is.

The following quotation from a leading psychologist will throw some light on the matter for you. This writer says: "Reflex nervous action is the result of that power resident in nervous ganglia, which often unconsciously causes many muscular and vital movements. The spinal cord is largely made up of such masses of nervous matter, which have sometimes been called 'little brains.' If one were to prick the foot of a sleeper, the sensory nerve at that point would report the fact to one of the lower spinal nerve masses. This ganglion, without waiting to hear from the brain, would issue a command to the motor nerve, and the foot would be immediately withdrawn. Unless the thrust were severe, the sleeper would not awake, nor would he be conscious of pain or of the movement of his foot. This nervous action is called 'reflex,' because, when the sensory nerve conveys an impulse to the ganglion, this impulse is at once, and without the action of the mind, reflected back by a motor nerve. Thus the mind is not only saved the trouble of attending to every little movement, but much time is gained. After the child has learned the difficult art of balancing himself on his feet, walking becomes largely a reflex act. At first, the child must center his whole attention on movements to balance the body. The man can think out the most complex problems while walking, because the reflex nervous centers are superintending the balancing process.

"Few men remember which end of the collar they button on first, or which shoe they put on first, yet the reflex nerve center, if left to itself, has an invariable order in executing these movements. Some vertebrates have much more reflex power than man. The spinal cord in such animals keeps its vitality for a long time after decapitation, and the nerve masses in the cord have the power to set the motor nerves in action, causing muscular contraction. For this reason a decapitated snake will squirm around in a lively manner if its tail is struck. The reason why fowls often flutter so violently after the fatal stroke is because they are thrown roughly down. The sensory nerves report the bruise or jar to a reflex center, which agitates the motor nerves controlling the muscles which would ordinarily move them out of a harmless way. If beheaded fowls are laid carefully on straw or some soft substance, they will scarcely move. But if they should be kicked a moment or two later, they will frequently jump around in a lively manner. If acid is placed on the side of a decapitated frog, the animal will, by reflex action, bring its foot to the spot and try to brush the drop away. Man also has something of this reflex power after death. The pectoral muscle of a be-headed French criminal was pinched, and the right hand was raised to the spot as if to remove the cause of the injury.''

Some may object that we are making too strong a statement when we say that the mental activity of the great masses of people are practically akin to the "reflex'' actions above described. People "think" about what they do, before doing it, these objectors say. Of course "people think"; or, rather, they "think that they think"; but in reality the process of their "thinking" is almost reflex, that is to say it is automatic and mechanical rather than deliberate and controlled by will and judgment. Their thought is usually based upon some suggested premise—some so-called fact accepted through suggestion from others and without verification or duo consideration. Their accepted "facts" are usually found to be those which agree with their likes, feelings, or prejudices, rather than which are based upon careful and unprejudiced investigation. If the facts do not agree with these prejudices and wishes, then "so much the worse for the facts," and the latter are discarded, and eliminated from the so-called "thinking."

And the process of reasoning of these people is likewise lop-sided and unsound in principle. Their so-called "reasons" are but excuses or explanations evolved to justify their decision or action, both of the latter being really based upon the desires, wishes, likes, or prejudices of the person, rather than upon his cool and deliberate judgment. But, you may say, you are now speaking of the person's thoughts, while a moment ago you wore speaking of his will; what do you mean by this? Simply this, good reader, that "thoughts take form in action," and all will actions are based upon thoughts or feelings. Therefore if the person's thoughts are "reflex," then his will action is likewise. We have spoken of the reflex character of the man's actions which were based upon his "thoughts," let us now examine his actions based upon his "feelings." We will soon discover that these too are practically reflex.

It is held by the best psychologists that practically all voluntary acts of will result from the power of desire. This, of course, includes actions resulting from fear, or repulsion, both of which are but negative phases of desire (being the desire "not to experience"). But this does not imply, by any means, that all desires result in will action. On the contrary, in the person of self-control, the greater portion of his desires are inhibited, restrained, controlled, or even killed. The rule is this: The Greater the degree of the will-power of the individual, the greater is his degree of control over his desires. And, as we have seen that the degree of will-power is the degree of the "wakefulness" of the Ego, it follows that the greater the wakefulness of the Ego, the greater the degree of its control over the desires found within its mental realm. As the Ego of most persons is in a state or more or less asleep, it follows that we should expect to find among such people but a slight degree of control of desire, and consequently of their actions resulting from desire; and investigation discloses precisely this kind or result.

The animal, the young child, and the undeveloped man is impelled to act freely upon each and every desire or feeling that manifests within his mental being; he is restrained from such action only by fear of consequences. It is related of certain savage tribes that it is unwise to issue them several days' rations when starting on a journey, because they will sit down and eat the entire ration at one meal, being unable to resist the inclination, and being unable to control the appetite of the moment in the interest of the certain hunger of tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after. We smile at this, but how many of us are quite as foolish when we sacrifice the success of tomorrow and the next day upon the altar of the satisfaction of the desires of the present moment. The desire-action of the Slave Will is almost purely reflex and under no voluntary control; while that of the Master Will is under great voluntary control and direction. We shall see more of this when we reach the place in this book in which the subject of Desire is considered in detail.

Some philosophers have sought to convince us that Man is never more than an automaton—a creature of reflex activities—having no freedom of choice, will, and action. And so strong do they make their one side of the case, that many have accepted their reasoning. But the truth is grasped only when we consider the other side of the ease; then the real truth is seen to rest between the two extremes. It is seen to be true that in the cases of the masses of the race—the persons of the Slave Will— there is little or no real freedom of action, but rather there is an almost automatic response of will-action to desire-motive. But, on the other hand, in the case of the advanced few of the race, the true individuals—the persons of the Master Will—there is secured the longed for freedom of action, by means of the control of the desire- motives. In fact, this control is one of the leading characteristics of the Master Mind.

A leading authority has well said: "All persons agree that there is no such thing as unrestrained freedom of action. Every human being is, from the cradle to the grave, subject to external restraint. If a man declares that he is free to go without food, air, and sleep, and tries to act accordingly, consequences will soon deprive him of that liberty. The circle of freedom is much smaller than is sometimes thought; the fish is never free to become an eagle. Human freedom may be likened to a vessel sailing up a river. Her course must be kept rigidly within the banks; she cannot sail on the dry land; but by tacking, she can make headway up the stream in the teeth of the wind, and she can stop either at this town or at that. The popular belief is correct, that the sphere of freedom is sufficiently wide to allow a man scope enough to keep him busy for several lifetimes.

"Freedom consists in being able to choose between two or more alternative courses of action. A stone is limited to one course and is subject to an unvarying law of gravity. Exclude the power of choice, will all freedom is gone. If we have the power of alternative choice, we are within certain limits free. These limits vary. If I am educated so that I know how to do several different things in the higher walks of life, I can choose any of these things. If I am ignorant and can perform only cruder tasks, my capacity for choice is excluded from higher hues of action. Some deny that human beings have any more freedom than a stone."

The average man will indignantly deny that his freedom of will action is in any way affected or restricted by outside or inside influences. He says triumphantly: "I can act as I wish," thinking that he has answered the argument against free will. But here is the point: he can act only as he wishes; and if his wishes are controlled or determined in any way, then so are his actions controlled and determined. And as his "wishes" are but forms of his desires, then unless he controls his desires he does not control his wishes, but is controlled by them. And as the average man has not acquired a strong control of his desires, he is lacking to that extent in his freedom of will action. And right here is the main distinction between the man of the Slave Will mid the man of the Master Will.

The Slave Will obeys the orders of its desires, feelings, and other "wishes," the latter coming from Lord-knows-where into his mental field. Such a man is not free, in the true sense of the word. He is a slave to his wishes, his feelings, his desires, his passions—and he has no control, over the thoughts and ideas which feed these desires, and which often actually create them. The Master Will not only refuses to he controlled by the intruding desires, if these are deemed against his best interests, but he actually controls them—this last by controlling the ideas and thoughts which serve to feed and nourish these desires, and which in many cases also have actually created them.

A leading authority speaking upon the subject of this control of desire (and consequently of will action) by means of the control of the power of thought, ideas, through attention, has given the world the following remarkably strong, clear, and true statement of the case; you are advised to carefully read and consider the same. The authority in question says:

"At the threshold of each higher act of will stands desire. All feeling tends to excite desire. Sometimes desire gives rise to intense feeling. In one aspect, desire is feeling; in another, desire is will or an active tension which passes imperceptibly into will. In desire, properly so called, there must be a definite idea. If a person says 'I desire,' the question very naturally is, 'What?' Unless there is a definite answer to the question, desire is not the name to apply to that mental state. There are always at least two alternatives in any line of conduct. When we face an orchestra, we have the choice of listening to it as a whole, or of selecting some one instrument, such as the first violin, and paying attention to it. In looking at a landscape, we choose certain elements for close inspection. Our world is, therefore, very much what we choose to pay attention to. If we visit the tropics and choose to heed nothing but the venomous animals, the land will be chiefly one of snakes and centipedes; if we look principally at the birds and flowers, it will be to us largely a clime of song and perfume.

"Ideas detained in consciousness tend to fan the flame of feeling; these ideas may be dismissed and others summoned to repress the flame of feeling. In the higher type of action, the will can go out only in the direction of an idea. Every idea which becomes an object of desire is a motive. It is true that the will tends to go out in the direction of the greatest motive, that is, toward the object which seems the most desirable; but the will, through voluntary attention, puts energy into a motive idea and thus makes it strong. It is impossible to center the attention long on an idea without developing positive or negative interest, attraction or repulsion. Thus does the will develop motives. We may state it as a law that the will determines which motives shall become the strongest, by determining which ideas shall occupy the field of consciousness.

"We have seen that emotion and desire arise in the presence of ideas, and that the will has influence in detaining or in banishing a given idea. If one idea is kept before the mind, a desire and a strong motive may gather around that idea. If another idea is called in, the power of the first idea will decline. The more Macbeth and his wife held before themselves the idea of the fame and power which the throne would confer upon them, the stronger became the desire to kill the king, until finally it grew too strong to be mastered. They were, however, responsible for nursing the desire; had they resolutely thought of something else, that desire would have been weakened. The person who feeds a bad desire with the fitting ideas will find that some day the desire will master his will.

"In the capacity for attention we have the way to the freedom of the will. Voluntary attention makes the motive. The motive does not make the attention. Hence the motive is a product of the will. If I withdraw my attention from a motive idea, it loses vigor, like a plant deprived of air and moisture. By sheer force of will, many a one has withdrawn his attention from certain temptations, centered it elsewhere, and thus developed a counter motive. As we center our attention upon one thing or another, we largely determine our mental happiness and hence our bodily health. One person in walking through a noble forest, may search only for spiders and venomous creatures, while another confines his attention to the singing birds in the branches above."

From the above, it is seen that the only way to develop and maintain a free will is to direct the attention and thought by means of the awakened Ego—the Master Mind and Mind Master.