Willpower and influence

Willpower and influence

"Life is, in my view, an instinct for growth, for the duration, for the accumulation of strength, for power: where the will to power is lacking, there is decline". Nietzsche 

To better understand what influence actually means, you need to have first-hand experience. Being influential could be compared to seizing the desires of others and assimilating them into your own. The person being influenced is then calibrated to the "manipulator's" standard of values. This ‘manipulation’ is most often unconscious. For instance, when you take a group of people and observe the interactions between the members of this group, you will notice the leader, the followers, and perhaps in rare cases, the indifferent cohort of members. 

The leader is one who has a strong will to influence strong desires. Such a leader is confident and makes no concessions. Conversely, the followers have undefined, almost formless desires. In the words of Carl Gustav Jung, one could say that the followers' desires are still too unconscious, that the conscious and unconscious have not yet been sufficiently decanted. In this case, they need to find a substitute for their absence. This void will then be filled by the leader's will. The indifferent cohort of members is the one that has acquired sufficient individuality and freedom to be distant observers of the group to which it belongs. They will be neither a leader nor a true follower. The indifferent cohort of members could be regarded as the third force, which stands between the active and passive poles. In addition, the third force can be regarded as the neutralizing force that mediates between the polarized energies.

Moreover, the indifferent cohort of members would have successfully positioned themselves due to their double polarization (active/passive, donor/receiver). This can be found in the Zohar. It is the necessary alliance between the masculine and feminine in the same person. One should not look for one's opposite/partner externally but first, embody it internally. Thereafter, the external projection could become effective. It is only when the individual feels complete that he can really become an individual, and thus become the true master of his life. As long as he is missing a part, he will try to find it in front of the world, and will create situations outside that will allow him to fill this lack, which he already possesses within himself. Thus, a person of a shy, self-effacing nature will tend at first sight to look for the active, enterprising, extroverted part in the other person. Many couples are naturally balanced in terms of active/passive polarity; extrovert/introvert. However, even if it is of course necessary to find one's complementarity in the external world, it is also necessary to do the same internally in order to readjust one's own nature and limits. The aim is to nuance one's intrinsic qualities by finding their opposite within oneself.

The psyche is a complete system in itself, balanced and harmonious. What is found in the conscious mind is found in its opposite in the unconscious mind. Thus, in the case of this shy, self-effacing person, his unconscious will nourish repressed aggression and dreams of power and strength. Thus this person already possesses the totality of his qualities, it is however necessary to work on his emotions, biological and instinctive programming acquired during childhood, in order to find them and to understand the freedom inherent in human existence.

With this understanding and acceptance of the freedom of being, man will then be able to stop being passively influenced.  Freedom is not the absence of influence but the ability to choose which influence to place oneself under. By becoming aware of the influences that govern us, we become active and no longer suffer the unconsciousness of others (to the extent of our abilities). In the end, influence can materialise as manipulation from the unconscious to the unconscious. Take someone who has the need to dominate, to be valued by those around him in order to feel that he exists, and put him with a person who instinctively takes a back seat, for fear of appearing unintelligent and uninteresting.  You will then see a perfect complementarity of unconsciousness being established, the need of the two will be perfectly confused one in the other. The "dominant" will be completely identified with the one who takes on the role of the active force, so that he identifies himself, consequently, with his role as a passive element. One would think that this naturally established situation could be left to its own devices and that two such individuals would enjoy life to their hearts' content and take pleasure in this comfortable situation of complementarity. But it should not be forgotten that human nature tends towards constant evolution, and if it deprives itself of this, by comforting itself in natural biological and psychic programming, and therefore does not do violence to itself towards a quest for evolution, it will feel a deep lack, frustrations, and a need for change.

Thus, a naturally shy person may contain a large amount of anger or frustration. This can be absorbed in the bad use of sexual energy (possible neurosis) or in states of agitation not congruent with the situation. She will feel the need to impose herself, to show her presence and her qualities, but, being naturally deprived (because of a defense system acquired during childhood but no longer relevant today) of this capacity to put herself in the foreground and to assert her ideas, she will close in on herself even more and will continue to feed her unconscious, inner frustration. The goal will then be to connect this frustration, with this anger in order to recover the holy grail, i.e., the will to power. By "connecting" with his or her internal anger, the person learns to tame it and feel the movement specific to this anagrammed emotion. Little by little, by internalizing it, this violent energy, at first sight, will dissipate to leave only an intense, concentrated point, which is the positive, useful part of this emotion. And then, thanks to this anger or frustration transformed into a will to power, the person will be able to learn to stop blushing before making major decisions.

Another important point about the effect of influence on our lives deserves to be detailed. To be influenced is also to be swayed by the desires of others, and thus to be a tool of another's will to power. It is to be in service, without being fully aware of one's dedication. Of course, on a larger scale, we are all under the influence of external events (weather affecting our moods, economic and political conditions, family), as well as internal events (emotions, moods, etc.); however, by being influenced by the latter, we put ourselves under the influence of a greater order, which could be called "nature," and not under the aegis (positive or negative) of another. We will always be under the law of higher forces whose meaning we do not understand. Discernment is therefore important in this phase. Discernment means choosing under which influence I can place myself. Among Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Zen mystics, the source of influence was the spiritual master, whose aim was to free oneself from all earthly, material influences in order to place oneself directly under the higher influence. This could be compared with the influence of the King of France on the population. The King was the incarnation of God on Earth, and the people, by placing themselves under his influence, placed themselves under divine protection. 

It is therefore up to each person to choose under what influence he or she wishes to lead his or her life. It is also possible to feel a definite goal within oneself and to submit to it. One will then be less inclined to be the puppet of others; one will become more stable in one's choices, and the resulting strength will act on others and on oneself. By defining a goal that animates us from within and taking responsibility for sticking to it and bringing it to fruition, we commit ourselves to a law of influence that is totally different from what we could have done before. All our choices and our encounters then tend towards this goal, and we become the tool of its work. It is as if the creative act, or creation itself, were manifesting itself through us. Of course, this goal will also be under the influence of nature and its sometimes violent and destructive manifestations, but it will have a better chance of being accomplished thanks to our inner strength and the law of influence under which we have obviously placed ourselves.

Put like that, one might think that it is simple to redefine one's life and lead it towards greater creative mastery. Even though it is simple to consciously define one's goals and to think of oneself as strong and enthusiastic enough to achieve them, one should never forget that one's own biological programming will initially fight hard against change. By changing one's influence, one also triggers a change in one's instinctual programming. But these will not be transformed on their own. Transformation requires patience, the strength of mind and heart, and sacrifice. These words could be used to describe the qualities of Michelangelo's work in creating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. 

The inner transformation is thus the image of the outer creation, it is the work of an alchemical process of transmutation of lead into gold. Lead symbolises our biological conditioning but also the conditioning we had to build as children in the face of the dangers of the adult world. Gold symbolises the conscious transformation towards which we wish to strive, this new primordial Man that the individual creates of and by himself.