The War Against Will, by Paul Rosenberg

The shameful, guilty secret of so many is that they don’t have a ounce of individualism, they’re creatures of the crowd. From Paul Rosenberg at

The modern world will allow you to join any of a thousand collectives, but it will punish you for standing on your own, as a self-willed entity. People who commit this crime understand that they are outlaws in the present world. And if at first they don’t understand that, the world makes sure they know.

The world as it is, then, is the enemy of will. This is nothing new, of course, governments have been at war against will since they began: How else can you get people to blindly obey you, to hand over half their income, and to thank you for it? People who possess a full and active will must be convinced to do things, and governments couldn’t function if they had to do that.

The present world is built around the restraint of will, and not just on the government level. Advertising, for example, is more or less devoted to implanting subconscious desires and subverting the will with them. In dysfunctional families, manipulating one another – whether by guilt, ridicule, being left out of Papa’s will or whatever – is the currency of the realm.

And so obedience, consumption and acquiescence have become cardinal virtues, and the avoidance of immediate pain the prime directive. As we might paraphrase an old apostle, this world’s God is the belly.

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3 responses to “The War Against Will, by Paul Rosenberg

  1. Terry Pratchett’s fiction “Hogfather” deals with creativity and free will and the forces against them, amongst others.


  2. Unable to follow your line of thought due to an unclear term. What do you mean by self-willed entity?


    • Jason

      I didn’t write the article, but my understanding of Mr. Rosenberg’s term is someone who thinks and acts for him or herself, rather than someone whose actions are dictated by the crowd.


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