In relation to the Figure of Eight (see 30th November 2011) it might be wondered how we are to keep ourselves at the fertile point of stasis at the centre of the Figure?
The place where maximum energy is accumulated… Where self-remembering is at its most intense…
What is there in us that is almost certainly determined to keep us on track?
With a resolution, say…
Some might reify the certain something or other that keeps us on track by giving it a label: ‘will-power’, for instance. But that really is no use; all labels are inventions without a patent. Stabs in the dark.
The existence of a label never ever confirms the supposed content. The box is empty.
In her brilliant novel A Far Cry from Kensington, Muriel Spark makes a very sound comment on will-power: she says it does not exist in the present but only, perhaps, and rather grudgingly, as a description of an application of something or other in ‘past’ or ‘future’: so we may utter the words “I have exercised will-power” or “I will exercise will-power”; in each case an abstract idea is plucked out of nowhere to justify something that did happen or to imagine something that might happen; if ‘will-power’ does not exist in the present then it does not exist as a workable thing at all, since the present is all the time there is… Well, then… What is there in us that is almost certainly determined to keep us on track? As opposed to all the far more excitable parts of us that seem to conspire to derail us?
Muriel Spark: On the question of will-power, if that is a factor, you should think of will-power as something that never exists in the present tense, only in the future and the past. At one moment you have decided to do or refrain from an action and the next moment you have already done or refrained; it is the only way to deal with will-power. (Only under sub-human stress does will-power live in time present but that is a different discourse.) I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book…
There are parts of us that seem determined on derailing us and another part that keeps us on track… And there’s nothing in between.
How to discover the part of us, the ‘I’, that keeps us on track in spite of everything?