In this article we will continue our discussion of human nature focusing on the concepts of free will and impulses and how these aspects of life intertwine to encourage us to learn how to rise to our highest potential for the greatest good.
In the next article we will continue this discussion, focusing on idealism and fanaticism.
Human Nature – Impulses and Free Will
“Man possesses free will, but that free will operates only within man’s degree—that is, his free will is somewhat contained by the frameworks of time and space.
He has free will to make any decisions that he is able to make.
This means that his free will is contained, given meaning, focused, and framed by his neurological structure.
There is a design and a designer, but they are so combined, the one within the other, the one within and the one without, that it is impossible to separate them.
The creator is within its creations, and the creations themselves are gifted with creativity.
The world comes to know itself, to discover itself, for the planner left room for divine surprise, and the plan was nowhere foreordained.”1
“Free will does not mean that there will be no circumstances when calculations will be awry. This is so in all aspects of the life experience. Although there are no mistakes, there are surprises.”2
Italian novelist Italo Calvino writes, “Memory has to be strong enough to enable us to act without forgetting what we wanted to do, to learn without ceasing to be the same person, but it also has to be weak enough to allow us to keep moving into the future.”
Mark Book continues, “Other balances are necessary in order for us to think freely, to weave thoughts around that central sense of self. We have to be able to perceive the outside world through the senses, but it is equally important for us not to be overwhelmed by sensation which could otherwise occupy all our mental space. Then we could neither reflect nor imagine. That this balance holds is as extraordinary in its way as – for example – the fact that our planet is neither too far from, nor too close to, the sun.
We also have the ability to move our point of consciousness around our interior life – like a cursor on a computer screen. As a result of this, we have to freedom to choose what to think about. If we did not have the right balance of attachment and detachment from our interior impulses as well as from our perceptions of the outside world, then at this very moment you would have no freedom to choose to take your attention away from the page you are looking at now and no freedom to think about anything else.
And so, crucially, if the most fundamental conditions of human consciousness were not characterized by the set of exceptionally fine balances, it would not be possible for us to exercise free thought or free will.”3
Probabilities and Free Will
“Both men and molecules dwell in a field of probabilities, and their paths are not determined.
The vast reality of probabilities makes the existence of free will possible.
If probabilities did not exist, and if you were not to some degree aware of probable actions and events, not only could you not choose between them, but you would not of course have any feelings of choice. You would be unaware of the entire issue.
The motive power of the universe and of each particle or wave or person within it is the magnificent thrust toward creative probabilities, and the tension that exists, the exuberant tension, that exists “between” probable choices and probable events.
This applies to men and molecules, and to all of those hypothetically theorized smaller divisions with which scientists like to amaze themselves.
In the vast arena of those numberless probabilities open to you, you do of course have some guidelines. Otherwise you would always be in a state of indecision.
Your personal impulses provide those guidelines by showing you how best to use probabilities so that you fulfill your own potential to greatest advantage — and [in] so doing, provide constructive help to the society at large.”4
Impulses – Urges toward Action
“Through your mundane conscious choices, you affect all of the events of your world, so that the mass world is the result of multitudinous individual choices.
You could not make choices at all if you did not feel impulses to do this or that, so that choices usually involve you in making decisions between various impulses.
Impulses are urges toward action.
Some are conscious and some are not.
Each cell of your body feels the impulse toward action, response, and communication.
Impulses, therefore, provide impetus toward motion, coaxing the physical body and the mental person toward utilization of physical and mental power.
They help the individual impress the world — that is, to act upon it and within it effectively.
Impulses also open up choices that may not have been consciously available before.
Impulses arise in a natural, spontaneous, constructive response to the abilities, potentials, and needs of the personality. They are meant as directing forces.
Your impulses are immersed in the quality called faith, for they urge you into action in the faith [that] the moment for action exists. Your beliefs must interact with your impulses, however, and often they can erode that great natural beneficial spontaneity that impulses can provide.”5
Impulses and Spontaneity
“In more mundane terms, impulses often come from unconscious knowledge.
This knowledge is spontaneously and automatically received by the energy that composes your body, and then it is processed so that pertinent information applying to you can be taken advantage of.
Ideally, your impulses are always in response to your own best interests — and, again, to the best interests of your world as well.
Obviously there is a deep damaging distrust of impulses in the contemporary world, as in your terms there has been throughout the history that you follow.
Impulses are spontaneous, and you have been taught not to trust the spontaneous portions of your being, but to rely upon your reason and your intellect — which both operate, incidentally, quite spontaneously, by the way.
When you let yourselves alone, you are spontaneously reasonable, but because of your beliefs it seems that reason and spontaneity make poor bedfellows.”6
False Limiting Beliefs about Impulses
“When I speak of impulses, many of you will automatically think of impulses that appear contradictory or dangerous or “evil” — and that is because you are so convinced of the basic unworthiness of your being.
You have every right to question your impulses, to choose among them, to assess them, but you must be aware of them, acknowledge their existence, for they will lead you to your own true nature.
This may involve a lengthy journey for some of you, with your belief systems, for many of your impulses now are the result of the pressure caused by perfectly normal unacknowledged ones in the past.
But your impulses reflect the basic impulse of your life. Even if they appear contradictory at any given time, overall they will be seen to form constructive patterns toward action that point more clearly towards your own clear path for fulfillment and development.
It seems to many of you that impulses are unpredictable, contradictory, without reason, the result of erratic mixtures of body chemicals, and that they must be squashed with as much deadly intent as some of you might when you spray a mosquito with insecticide.
Often the insecticide kills more than the mosquito, and its effects can be far-reaching, and possibly have disastrous consequences.
However, to consider impulses as chaotic, meaningless — or worse, detrimental to an ordered life — represents a very dangerous attitude indeed; an attempt that causes many of your other problems, an attempt that does often distort the nature of impulses.”7
Impulses and Growth
“Luckily, the child usually walks before it is old enough to be taught that impulses are wrong, and luckily the child’s natural impulses toward exploration, growth, fulfillment, action and power are strong enough to give it the necessary springboard before your belief systems begin to erode its confidence.
You have physical adult bodies. The pattern for each adult body existed in the fetus — which again, “luckily,” impulsively, followed its own direction.
No one told it that it was impossible to grow from a tiny organism to a complicated adult structure.
What tiny, spindly, threadlike, weak legs you all once had in your mother’s wombs! Those legs now climb mountains, stride gigantic boulevards, because they followed their own impulsive shapes.
Even the atoms and molecules within them sought out their own most favorable probabilities.
And in terms that you do not understand, even those atoms and molecules made their own decisions as the result of recognizing and following those impulsive sparks toward action that are inherent in all consciousness, whatever their statuses in your terms.”8
Trusting Your Altruistic Impulses
“You have been taught not to trust your impulses.
Impulses, however, help you to develop events of natural power.
Impulses in children teach them to develop their muscles and minds [each] in their own unique manner.
And as you will see, those impulses of a private nature are nevertheless also based upon the greater situation of the species and the planet, so that “ideally” the fulfillment of the individual would automatically lead to the better good of the species.
As you learn to trust your natural impulses, they introduce you to your individual sense of power, so that you realize that your own actions do have meaning, that you do affect events, and that you can see some definite signs that you are achieving good ends.
The idealized goal isn’t as remote, then, because it is being expressed.
Even if that expression is by means of steps, you can point toward it as an accomplishment.
Previously we distrusted our own impulses to such an extent that they often appeared in very distorted form.
Psychologically, your impulses are as vital to your being as your physical organs are. They are as altruistic, or unselfish, as your physical organs are, and I would like that sentence read several times.
And yet each impulse is suited and tailored directly to the individual who feels it.
Ideally, by following your impulses you would feel the shape, the impulsive shape of your life.
You would not spend time wondering what your purpose was, for it would make itself known to you, as you perceived the direction in which your natural impulses led, and felt yourself exert power in the world through such actions.
Again, impulses are doorways to action, satisfaction, the exertion of natural mental and physical power, the avenue for your private expression — the avenue where your private expression intersects the physical world and impresses it.
Only people who trust their spontaneous beings and the altruistic nature of their impulses can be consciously wise enough to choose from a myriad of probable futures the most promising events — for again, impulses take not only [people’s] best interest into consideration, but those of all other species.”9
Not Trusting Your Impulses – Denying Impulses
“Each person is fired by the desire to act, and to act beneficially, altruistically, to practically put his stamp, or her stamp, upon the world.
When such natural impulses toward action are constantly denied over a period of time, when they are distrusted, when an individual feels in battle with his or her own impulses and shuts down the doors toward probable actions, then that intensity can explode into whatever avenue of escape is still left open.
I am not speaking of anything like “repression,” as it is used by psychologists, but a far deeper issue: one in which the very self is so distrusted that natural impulses of any kind become suspect.
You try to inoculate yourselves against yourselves — a nearly impossible situation, of course.
You expect your motives to be selfish because you have been told that they are, and so when you catch yourselves with unkind motives you are almost comforted, because you think that at least you are behaving normally.
When you find yourself with good motives, you distrust them.
“Surely,” you think, “beneath this seeming altruism, there must indeed be some nefarious, or at best selfish, motives that escape me.”
As a people you are always examining your impulses, and yet you rarely examine the fruits of your intellects.
It may seem that impulsive actions run rampant in society, in cultish behavior, for example, or in the behavior of criminals, or on the part of youth, but such activities show instead the power of impulses denied their natural expression, intensified and focused on the one hand into highly ritualized patterns of behavior, and in other areas denied expression.
The desire and motivation to act is so strong within each person that it will not be denied, and when it is denied then it can be expressed in a perverted form.
Man must not only act, but he must act constructively, and he must feel that he acts for good ends.
Only when the natural impulse (to act constructively) is denied consistently does the idealist turn into a fanatic. Each person in his or her own way is an idealist.
In those areas where you cut down on your impulses, upon their very recognition, you close down probabilities, and prevent new beneficial acts that of themselves would lead you out of your difficulty.
You prevent change. But many people fear that any change is detrimental, since they have been taught, after all, that left alone their bodies or their minds or their relationships are bound to deteriorate.
Often, therefore, people react to events as if they themselves possessed no impetus to alter them.
They live their lives as if they are indeed limited in experience not only to a brief lifetime, but a lifetime in which they are the victims of their chemistry — accidental members of a blighted species that is murderous to its very core.
When you are taught not to trust your impulses you begin to lose your powers of decision, and to whatever extent involved in the circumstances, you begin to lose your sense of power because you are afraid to act.”10
Denying Impulses in Relation to Psychology
“Again, you have been taught to believe that impulses are wrong, generally speaking, or at best that they represent messages from a nefarious subconscious, giving voice to dark moods and desires.
For example: Many of you believe in the basis of Freudian psychology — that the son naturally wants to displace the father in his mother’s attentions, and that beneath the son’s love for his father, there rages the murderous intent to kill. Ridiculous idiocy!
You have denied many impulses, or programmed others so that they are allowed expression in only certain forms of action. If any of you do still believe in the Freudian or Darwinian selves, then you will be leery about impulses to examine your own consciousness, afraid of what murderous debris might be uncovered.
I am not speaking merely in hypothetical terms.
For example, I know of a well-intentioned woman. She worried about her overweight condition, and [was] depressed at what she thought of as her lack of discipline in following diets. In her dismay, she visited a psychologist, who told her that her marriage might somehow be part of the problem. The woman said she never went back. She was afraid that she might discover within herself the buried impulse to kill her husband, or to break up the marriage, but she was sure that her overweight condition hid some unfortunate impulse.
Actually the woman’s condition hid her primary impulse: to communicate better with her husband, to ask him for definite expressions of love. Why did he not love her as much as she loved him? She could say it was because she was overweight, after all, for he was always remarking adversely about her fleshy opulence — though he did not use such a sympathetic phrase.
He could not express his love for her in the terms she wished for he believed that women would, if allowed to, destroy the man’s freedom, and he interpreted the natural need for love as an unfortunate emotional demand.
Both of them believed that women were inferior, and quite unknowingly they followed a Freudian dogma.”11
Those who Seek to Divide you from your Impulses
“Many cults of one kind or another, and many fanatics, seek to divide you from your natural impulses, to impede their expression.
They seek to sabotage your belief in your spontaneous being, so that the great power of impulses becomes damned up.
Avenues of probabilities are closed bit by bit until you do indeed live — if you follow such precepts — in a closed mental environment, in which it seems you are powerless.
It seems you cannot impress the world as you wish; that your ideals must always be stillborn.”12
Using Your Impulses for the Betterment of the World
“Each individual is innately driven by a good intent, however distorted that intent may become, or however twisted the means that may be taken to achieve it.
Impulses provide specifications, methods, meanings, definitions. They point toward definite avenues of expression, avenues that will provide the individual with a sense of actualization, natural power, and that will automatically provide feedback, so that the person knows he is impressing his environment for the better.
Those natural impulses, followed, will automatically lead to political and social organizations that become both tools for individual development and implements for the fulfillment of the society.
Impulses then would follow easily, in a smooth motion, from private action to social import.
When you are taught to block your impulses, and to distrust them, then your organizations become clogged.
You are left with vague idealized feelings of wanting to change the world for the better, for example — but you are denied the personal power of your own impulses that would otherwise help direct that idealism by developing your personal abilities.
You are left with an undefined, persisting, even tormenting desire to do good, to change events, but without having any means at your disposal to do so.
This leads to lingering frustration, and if your ideals are strong the situation can cause you to feel quite desperate.
You may begin to exaggerate the gulf between this generalized ideal and the specific evidences of man’s “greed and corruption” that you see so obviously about you.
You may begin to concentrate upon your own lacks, and in your growing sense of dissatisfaction it may seem to you that most men are driven by a complete lack of good intent.
You may become outraged, scandalized — or worse, filled with self-righteousness, so that you begin to attack all those with whom you do not agree, because you do not know how else to respond to your own ideals, or to your own good intent.
The job of trying to make the world better seems impossible, for it appears that you have no power, and any small private beneficial actions that you can take seem so puny in contrast to this generalized ideal that you dismiss them sardonically, and so you do not try to use your power constructively.
You do not begin with your own life, with your own job, or with your own associates.
What difference can it make to the world if you are a better salesperson, or plumber, or office worker, or car salesman, for Christ’s sake? What can one person do?
Yet that is precisely where first of all you must begin to exert yourselves. There, on your jobs and in your associations, are the places where you intersect with the world.
Your impulses directly affect the world in those relationships.
Many of you are convinced that you are not important — and while [each of] you feel that way it will seem that your actions have no effect upon the world.
You will purposefully keep your ideals generalized, thus saving yourself from the necessity of acting upon them in the one way open to you: by trusting yourself and your impulses, and impressing those that you meet in daily life with the full validity that is your own.”13
Using Your Impulses to Know Yourself
“If you would know yourself in deepest terms, you must start with your own feelings, emotions, desires, intents and impulses.
Spiritual knowledge and psychic wisdom are the natural result of a sense of self unity.
Again, impulses are inherently good, both spiritually and biologically.
They emerge from Framework 2, from the inner self, and they are based on the great inner webwork of communication that exists among all species on your planet.
Impulses also provide the natural impetus toward those patterns of behavior that serve you best, so that while certain impulses may bunch up toward physical activity, say, others, seemingly contradictory, will lead toward quiet contemplation, so that overall certain balances are maintained.
Some people are only aware of — or largely aware of — impulses toward anger, because they have inhibited those natural impulses toward love that would otherwise temper what seemed to be aggressive desires.
When you begin trusting yourselves, you start by taking it for granted that to some extent at least you have not trusted yourself or your impulses in the past: You have thought that impulses were dangerous, disruptive, or even evil.
So as you begin to learn self-trust, you acknowledge your impulses. You try them on for size. You see where they lead you by allowing them some freedom.
You do not follow urges through that would hurt others physically, or that seem in direct contradiction to your present beliefs — but you do acknowledge them. You do try to discover their source.
Behind them you will almost always find an inhibited impulse — or many of them — that motivated you to move in some ideal direction, to seek a love or understanding so idealized in your mind that it seemed impossible to achieve.
If you examine such troublesome stimuli, you will always find that they originally arose after a long process, a process in which you were afraid to take small positive steps toward some ideal.
Your own impulses naturally lead you to seek creative fulfillment, the expansion of your consciousness, psychic excursions, and the conscious knowledge and manipulation of your dreams.”14
In this article we have focused on the topic of impulses and seen that they are direct messages from our inner selves that serve to motivate us to express ourselves to the best of our abilities acting to achieve our highest potential for the greatest good.
Only when we fear or distrust our impulses do they get dammed up and then can explode in disaster. Other times, if we ignore them, we may turn apathetic and cynical due to a feeling of powerlessness. On the other hand we could become a fanatic, going to any lengths to achieve our goals without recognizing if our methods are positive or helpful.
In the next article we will discuss the continuation of this topic focusing on proper idealism, and when idealism goes wrong turning to fanaticism which does much harm to oneself and others.
This fanaticism comes from a denial of impulses and a denial of your personal power.
- Roberts, Jane, Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1986
- Elkins, Rueckert, McCarty, The Law of One, Session 69.17, http://www.lawofone.info/results.php?s=69
- Booth, Mark, The Secret History of the World, The Overlook Press, 2010
- Roberts, Jane, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1981