The Ebb and Flow, Understanding Motivation

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“Coexisting with Coercion” is an original b-weekly column appearing every other Wednesday at, by qyj0L. qyj0L is a thinker, a writer, an artist, a dreamer, and a believer. Archived columns can be found here. CWC-only RSS feed available here.

Throughout the entries that I have written in this column, a few ideas and philosophical standpoints have been outlined. Anyone, at least anyone with the ability to keep on track while I weave my way through tangents, should be seeing glimmers of logic intertwined. We’ve all come here, to EVC, for a common purpose. Each of us is approaching this purpose with a different history, completely with its own set of experiences, and from these experiences we’ve each formed our own perspectives on the subject of Voluntaryism. I recently read an article that makes a very solid point, that “without establishing a sort of foundation, anything built on top will be unstable.” I strongly agree with this, and would like to start from there.

Voluntaryism, as I understand it, is a way of life that revolves around voluntary actions. But what does that mean, exactly?

I don’t think the answer is nearly as direct as the question, and I believe this to be the reason why there are so many complications when it comes to actually establishing a society based on voluntary actions.

All throughout history, there have been various cultures established on the voluntary principle, though none (that I’m aware of…) have called it by this name. Complications always seem to arise when there are multiple people, or multiple societies, that seem to be speaking about the same topic, while using different words; ah, the joys of semantic arguments. In this column today, I’d like to try to connect a few dots between some philosophies that I personally believe to be at the very core of Voluntaryism. I will provide links to allow each reader to explore the idea for themselves, yet I highly encourage anyone that reads this to do their own research, gathering their own details, and deciding what to believe, on their own. Please keep in mind that I am several years deep into research and thought on these subjects. I will provide one link per idea, where possible, yet some of these subjects are quite broad, and it may take more than a few minutes of reading in order to grasp what it is I’m trying to explain.

The Law of Attraction is an old ideal. The basic concept is that we create our realities based on the thoughts and ideas that we allow ourselves to believe in. Sounds like sorcery, eh? Maybe in some way, it is a little bit of magic. According to the Law of Attraction, each of us is essentially a magnet, drawing in our lives the things that we want to be here. This idea is very powerful, and can be completely overwhelming for those that have accepted the limitations that have been pushed onto us since birth; and yet for those that believe anything is possible, there is nothing that can stop them. It’s been explained in many ways, including “ask and ye shall receive,” “like attracts like,” and others. The complicated part also happens to be the simplest piece of the puzzle: you have to know what you want. Beyond that, you have to believe that what you want is possible, that you can have what it is you seek, as long as you believe you can, as long as you are prepared to embrace it when it manifests in your life. The key principle here, is that you must voluntarily choose what it is that you want… and that even if you do not actively choose, your voluntary actions are shaping the progression of your world. Once what you want is known, faith is the water that feeds the seed you have planted. For all of you bible scholars out there, Jesus, in this passage, seems to be preaching about the Law of Attraction directly: Matthew 17:19-20 “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.'”

Karma is another powerful idea, akin to the adage “What goes around, comes around.” While I don’t pretend to be able to explain karma in its entirety, I will attempt to cover the basics. Each action that we take, be it physical, as in a hug, or striking another person, is comprised of a certain type of energy. This energy leaves our bodies, entering the world, and is returned to us from an external source; be it another person, the loving feeling we get from a pet, or any number of other ways. Everything from our lives, past and present, accumulates, and manifests itself as what we see “in front of us.” Through voluntary actions, or voluntary inaction, we carve away at the metaphorical block of clay, removing what it is that we don’t want, from that which we deem possible. Again, the key element that seems to be at play in the philosophy of Karma, is voluntaryism.

Thus far we’ve covered two relatively well known idealogies, both seemingly speaking on the same topic. The next fork in this road is somewhat less commonly used.

In Pagan belief, and the more modern Wiccan traditions, there is what’s known as the Wiccan Threefold Law, or the Threefold Law of Return, and likely several other similar names. While there is some debate as to whether or not this proclaimed natural law applies directly, or if it is instead simply an old wives tale designed to steer the inexperienced down the path of positive actions, I personally am not here to debate that. The principle behind this law, is that whatever actions you take, be they beneficial or harmful to yourself or to others, that they will return to you in three times the potency. This is a universal ideal that spans everyone, and everything, regardless of whether or not you are actively aware of the results.

In Shamanic beliefs, (here is where I falter and am unable to directly link you, reader, to my sources), all thoughts and all words spoken, are considered to be magic. Your thoughts and words echo into the universe, effecting everything that your words, or thoughts, apply to. If you declare that you are weak, or that you are stupid, or that you are sick, and don’t follow up that idea with an effort to correct what you have declared to be your fault, you are effectively creating a reality around yourself that revolves around the idea that you are weak, stupid, and sick. On the other hand, if you declare that you are powerful in your reality, that you are a healthy being, that you are loving and loved, you shift your focus toward the positive, reinforcing the “good” in your life. Again, the key function in this belief structure is that you are choosing which parts of your life to give energy to, which things around you that you want to “feed” and let grow stronger.

These are just a few examples of ways of life that are directly related to the voluntary society. Feel free to comment and share others if you can think of them!

It’s a strangely fitting idea, to me. Entire cultures have been wrapped around the concept of voluntary actions that return results based on the actions you chose to take. Cause and effect seem to be the focal point of human development of society and culture. It’s been widely stated that now is the time for a return to the old ways, and I wholeheartedly agree.

So what, then, should we be doing now?

Know yourself; know what it is that motivates you; know why you do the things you do. A story was once told by Siddartha Gautama, that goes as follows: A man walks beside a road. The man must leap to safety as another man, mounted atop a horse, comes galloping past. The man stands up, dusts himself off, and shouts to the rider “Hey, where are you going in such a hurry?!” The rider turns his head back and shouts “I don’t know! Ask the horse.”

Siddartha then asks us to think of ourselves, our conscious selves, as the walking man, and the road as our path through life. He further asks us to think of the rider as our actual selves; the part of us that lives and interacts with the world around us. Next, he asks us to think of the horse as the power behind our habitual actions. From this, we can come to the conclusion that our habits are driving our actions as we trample over ourselves, while we are trying to calmly walk along the path we have chosen.

Fear is a powerful motivating force. That which we fear is often the lone shining beacon in the forest of our lives. We have fueled the lamp, and continue to use it as a guidepost, showing us where it is that we don’t want to go. The problem with this lifestyle is that all of our navigational energies, if this route is taken, are being placed in our fears. We have no true direction of travel, other than “away from THAT.” We stumble from fear to fear, learning what we can along the way, never really “getting what we want,” and wondering, as a culture, why that is.

It’s time that we understand our motivations. Time to redirect our energies from avoiding that which we fear, to embracing that which we care about. This age is troubling, with remote controlled flying vehicles equipped with rockets and guns, surveillance equipment and tracking beacons, it might seem that we are trapped within a society of fear… but that is only the beginning. It is always darkest before the dawn, my fellow freedom lovers. And as the sun begins to rise on a new day for humanity, where will you spend your efforts?

Will you focus on avoiding what you fear? Or will you focus on embracing what you love?

The choice, as is the belief at the heart of a voluntary society, is yours.

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