Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Viktor Frankl

Magic and the art of will

leave a comment »

We know that the conscious will is connected to the narrow, conscious part of the personality. One of the paradoxes observed by [Pierre] Janet is that as the hysteric becomes increasingly obsessed with anxiety—and the need to exert his will—he also becomes increasingly ineffective. The narrower and more obsessive the consciousness, the weaker the will. Every one of us is familiar with the phenomenon. The more we become racked with anxiety to do something well, the more we are likely to botch it. It is [Viktor] Frankl’s “law of reversed effort.” If you want to do something really well, you have to get into the “right mood.” And the right mood involves a sense of relaxation, of feeling “wide open” instead of narrow and enclosed…

As William James remarked, we all have a lifelong habit of “inferiority to our full self.” We are all hysterics; it is the endemic disease of the human race, which clearly implies that, outside our “everyday personality,” there is a wider “self” that possesses greater powers than the everyday self. And this is not the Freudian subconscious. Like the “wider self” of Janet’s patients, it is as conscious as the “contracted self.” We are, in fact, partially aware of this “other self.” When a man “unwinds” by pouring himself a drink and kicking off his shoes, he is adopting an elementary method of relaxing into the other self. When an overworked housewife decides to buy herself a new hat, she is doing the same thing. But we seldom relax far enough; habit—and anxiety—are too strong…Magic is the art and science of using the will. Not the ordinary will of the contracted ego but the “true will” that seems to spring from some deeper area of the being.

Colin Wilson, Mysteries

Written by nevalalee

June 2, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

with one comment

Being human is directed at something other than itself…I like to compare this necessity with that story which is told in the Bible: When Israel wandered through the wilderness, God’s glory preceded in the form of a cloud: only in this way was it possible that Israel was guided by God. Imagine, on the other hand, what would have happened if God’s presence, symbolized by the cloud, had dwelt in the midst of Israel: instead of leading them, this cloud would have clouded everything, and Israel would have gone astray.

Viktor E. Frankl, The Will to Meaning

Written by nevalalee

January 25, 2018 at 7:30 am

“Don’t aim at success…”

with one comment

Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the byproduct of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Written by nevalalee

July 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

%d bloggers like this: