Is Wishing for Something Really All One Needs to Succeed?
It is not uncommon for people in many circles to assert that all you need to accomplish something, regardless of what it could be, is to really want it. If you desire it bad enough, the universe will conspire to make it happen. "The Secret" and its famous "Law of Attraction" is all about this; simply wish for something bad enough, be specific, be excited about it and it will happen because you will attract it. Many self-help books talk about this, some philosophers may not even be too far off the mark either. They all talk about with great emphasis and intensity, because it is supposed to be essential in making your dreams and goals come true. Michael Ende's book "Die unendliche Geschichte" (not the movie, the book!) talks about finding your "True Will" and explores plenty the idea behind having wishes and making them come true and the price that you pay for making them so. I have to agree wanting something is not something trivial in these goal-accomplishing matters. We are definitely on to something when we discuss wishes and true will when we want to create something in our lives, because it's usually the start of most, if not all things: wish for something - develop it - get it. However, is "will" or wishing for something really all we need to get what we want in life?
If only it were that easy.
To start, let's dive into the paradox of such thinking right away: in short, YES, it works; in length, NOT really, only kind of. It's a true paradox, disguised by a faux paradox, that turns out to be a true paradox. The more you peel the layers of the onion, you realize that a wish can become true, but it's not an isolated event, and in fact it involves an infinity of variables, and as such, creating a temporally solvable paradox, but sustaining a permanent paradox, because naturally, we are dealing with infinity after all. Let's expand on this. And I don't want to talk about how there's no scientific evidence for the law of attraction, how skeptical we should be about this, and how there's no biological or physical evidence for such a connection to exist. Obviously there isn't! This is a philosophical question, and as such can't be answered with simple probability, typical case studies or math alone. A more in-depth look of the problems of consciousness, determinism and free-will is needed here, and for that, the hard sciences will not be helpful, at least without doing some heavy reductionism first.
Reductionism means de-escalating, breaking up and simplifying this problem to its most fundamental components - or at least attempt to do so - in order to determine a logic or structure to it, before they proliferate into large unpredictable volumes. This is what you do before you resort to probability: you study interactions of the elements of a system (mice in a lab, bacteria on a Petri dish, electrons in slit, etc.) and describe a logical and deterministic structure based on your observations. This doesn't guarantee full understanding of all problems, especially when large sets of data are involved such as predicting the weather, economics and other such problems, but it does help setting basic rules as to how any given element of a problem behaves or it does not behave. If you can find significant generalizations, also called rules, laws or theorems, this can be extremely helpful. This is what I want to do here: reduce the elements involved in wishing something and making it happen, before we can delve into the matter of making your dreams become reality.
Please keep in mind a pre-read of this linked post is required, or the paragraphs to follow may sound confusing or vague. I highly recommend you read it fully before continuing.
Here's the deal. When you reduce a command or desire of any given agent on a system, as long as there is no objection or obstacle, the agent can pretty much always get what it wants. That sounds simply enough, agent A wants object 1, if 1 exists, agent A gets it, done. However, the objections could be nearly infinite, creating a typical paradox: - The object or activity desired doesn't exist (I want to eat a banana but I am in the dessert, without supermarkets or banana trees).
- The context or physical nature of the system doesn't allow it (I want to marry a woman, but I am a prisoner in a male-only jail)
- Accomplishing the goal goes against the wishes of someone else (I want to marry Elsa, but she is already happily married)
- The agent may not have the skill level to sufficiently attain it (I am an overweight couch potato who wants to wind the gymnastics Olympic gold medal)
- The goal may require too much, or infinite energy or time to attain (I want to travel to the Andromeda galaxy in a 2019 rocket ship)
Etc, etc, etc. You can find plenty of others, but the point is always the same, you cannot make a wish come true, if the systems in which the goal is set does not support it, or if you are unable to change said system.
If the obstacles are infinite, then what's the point? We can't get into an infinity diatribe here, but suffice it to say that the reasons to obtain any goal in question could also be inversely infinite as well. What to do then?
No worries. In prior posts, I have mentioned how the understanding of who we are, is usually deeply flawed, and in fact, we rarely really understand that the concept that we all have of our own self, is usually very different from what it actually is. It is not within the scope of this post to discuss in detail how this is so, but suffice it to say that you are a collection of things: bacteria, cells, viruses, organs, muscles, water, energy, thoughts but most importantly: consciousness. Defining Consciousness is not easy and I don't intend to do it here, but we can say that consciousness, among many things, is what religions usually refer as the soul. It's what allows you to be you, to be the recipient of the information in your life system, in your matrix. Consciousness is not some isolated phenomenon; we are all conscious, from the smallest bacteria to the largest of whales, we all exhibit sentience and before we can even begin to describe a wish or a goal, consciousness is there to mold it, experience it and create it.
You are not who you think you are. You are a speck of consciousness in a large canvas filled with many of them, in the form of organisms as varied as leeches, viruses, sequoias, cats, dogs and other humans. Your wishes, will and desires are in direct competition or collaboration with those of others in your system, and are also completely molded and inspired by the system itself. For example, you cannot wish for something you cannot have a mental image of, much in the same way you cannot fall in love with a person you have no concept of, or you cannot be fully compassionate with unprivileged people, unless some of your life experiences at the very least have given you a glimpse of what lack of privilege fees like. This applies to everybody, and everywhere: you cannot wish for something without having a direct impact with other conscious agents in the system you live in and a frame of reference from which your goals or wishes arise from.
In prior posts I have touched upon the subject of "function", as the holy grail of wishes for all conscious agents, how trust drives it and how fear hampers it. This is fully applicable here: you cannot wish for something dysfunctional and expect for it to truly happen. You live in a system that requires - as all systems do - function. You need trust between agents to create function, and function to create anything. If you wish for something that doesn't align with the above, your wish will never be truly granted, no matter how much money, power, energy or connections you may have.
In summary, yes, all your wishes can be granted, nearly automatically, as long as they are functional ones. Wishes based on trust between agents in a system working to create higher levels of functions ALWAYS inevitably come true, sooner or later, depending on the levels of trust of the system.
Think about this example: you are a non-alcoholic guest in an AA meeting. Your wish is to have a party with unlimited alcohol, have the present alcoholics drink with you, have a good time, and finish the party without any harm done. Alcoholics cannot trust themselves to command their uncontrollable desire to drink until they are completely out of control and at the risk of great harm to others and themselves. This is a caricature of an obviously dysfunctional goal, precisely because there is a severe lack of trust within the alcoholic mind system, and unless a pseudo-external dose of trust from something larger than themselves exists (usually called God by most people in AA), this uncontrollable and self-harming impulse cannot be contained. Again, trust is all when function is desired, and goals, as any other activity of a conscious agent, is subject to this incontrovertible law. Whether you trust in goal, your government, your parents, your luck, or other people (agents in the system), you need it, or nothing is ever created.
Let's ask ourselves the same question again, does will alone make our wishes come true?
The answer is yes, but with the following condition:
The system in which the conscious agent exists must benefit by reaching higher levels of function in the accomplishing of the agent's goal.
This is a fundamental and base-shattering criticism of the so-called "Law of Attraction", which makes no reference to this whatsoever. It's of special value to note that this is important not because it's the ethical or moral thing to do, but because it's simply impossible to do so otherwise, at least in a permanent - positive - way. Positive understood as having permanence, creating something, actually existing and not entirely disintegrating while the arrow of time continues its course. Dysfunction can temporarily create things, but they always disappear (or move in a negative way in the arrow of time) because they don't serve the system they exist in. Example: you can enslave legions of people and not give them any of the food that is the product of their work, but eventually they will all die of malnutrition, they will rebel against you or an agent with a more logical understanding of the system will discover this, and stop the slavery. This is a fundamental law of existence and it's immutable. This has nothing to do with ethical or moral behavior, it's just a law of the universe that apparently no one else but me wants to talk about. (I laughed a little when I typed that, but it's true).
I think it's also important to point out the following alternative interpretations or perspectives of the condition described above. For a goal to become true:
The system in which the conscious agent exists must benefit by reaching higher levels of function in the accomplishing of the agent's goal, provided that:
A tipping majority, or an equilibrium setting majority of conscious agents must also be neutral or pro the accomplishment of your goal. Again, you are not who you think you are, at least a majority or sufficient amount of conscious agents need to be OK with your goals for them to happen, or they will not even begin to manifest. For example, your body needs to want to be healthy in sufficient numbers (your cells, your neurons, your organs, your gut, your microbiome and of course your mind) in order for you to start living with healthy habits. You may think it's great to lift weights, but if you have limited time to do this, and you want to eat large amount of calories rather than exercising in that available time frame, it will never happen. In other words, the larger YOU needs to be in agreement that the goal in question is owned, not just the executive smaller you that your consciousness tricks you with. A country cannot work on solutions to global warming if a sufficient number of conscious agents tip the trust levels and functions in the system to make it so, regardless of how powerful the agents truly wishing it may be. You are not who you think you are, you are all that is conscious, even if this particular moment in time deceives you to think your are separate from the plant, the cow, your dead friends and relatives, people who voted for the other candidate in the elections, the pope and the killer. It's all YOU (larger you), and you (smaller you). And both you and YOU create reality, despite what "The Secret" may tell you.
A goal only becomes true, and actually nearly automatically becomes true - and in this I am in brief agreement with the Law of Attraction (which should really be called the Law of Conscious Experience) - if the conscious agent who "owns it" truly has it. A true goal is only had when the tipping majority described in part 1 above happens. It's a fractal phenomenon, in which new creations are only manifested because the conscious agents - whether bacteria, governments, institutions or people - are in a minimum favor of tipping the system to create higher function, and thus, create. This is pretty much how evolution works, this is pervasive to the all levels of existence.
It is true that any kind of conscious experience that is truly desired becomes true by default. That sounds like a reassuring thought, but the problem doesn't lie in step 1, but on step 2. That second step is the real challenge of any creative process, whether it involves relationships, health, love, financial success, creativity, etc. It's relatively easy to make something happen when you already want something badly; the real problem lies in creating such amount of conscious synchronicity, so that the larger conscious level of the system allows the wish in question to change in your favor, and then form a true wish.
In other words:
It's easy to say you want to be rich, but very hard to desire it with "all" of your being, so badly that every decision you take in your life creates wealth positively (actually).
It's easy to say you don't want to be alone, while you ignore the fear you have in your heart and hide in the comfort of your loneliness.
It's easy to say you want to be a thin and athletic person, while you reach out for the next bag of chips and cherish the gratification this gives you.
It's easy to say you want to be a famous artist, when in fact you just want to stroke your ego and want little to do with art.
As a natural consequence of this, given the importance of having true goals, the next post will be: How do we make ourselves choose what we want? Spoiler alert: you really can't, but maybe YOU can.