I’ve been trying to make sense, lately, of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s concept of ‘Will’. As far as I can tell, rather than connoting the generally held understanding of the term as having to do with conscious desire, mood swings or self-awareness, ‘Will’ for Schopenhauer is the non-living force, the undifferentiated, timeless, space less, noumenal Oneness from which all differentiated phenomena (including us) is manifest. This means, I guess, that we all share a common origin that may account for our moral proprieties, compassion and fellow-feeling.
Well, as I was contemplating this recently during a three hour flight, the beauty of the idea really hit home. I found myself in an aisle seat in the last plane row right next to the rest rooms. After drinks were served a flow of humanity descended upon me, enveloping me in what I can only imagine must be very much like the primordial ‘Will’ in which we all swam and to which we will return.
I must say the experience was a striking realization of how connected we sentient beings are, at least in a very general sense; so simpatico, comfortable in our oneness as long as we don’t individuate too much. It was actually fairly pleasant in remembrance until I discovered I had acquired an unfamiliar germ that caused me a bit of distress.