©Mónica Peralta

Will, Function, And Being

Attention is a property of the will. What is will? Will doesn’t exist but acts on and through what does exist. Perhaps this is more easily understood as an urge, or impulse. So, we experience an urge to live and do through the body, an urge to be through the feelings, and an urge to know through the head. This is simplistic, but conveys a sense of what is involved: doing in rightness, conscience, and truth.

So, will acts through these three instruments: the hands, the head & the heart. These are the instruments through which “will” acts in the world.

But the difficulty here is to speak of will as if our “will” were singular; or that we “have” a will. Clearly, we are a bundle of contrary and contradictory urges.

If we assume that we have, or might have, a singular and/or individual will, then we experience this “singular will” as impressively fractured. For example, we have different and contrary urges. Were this will singular, surely this would not be the case. Were this will singular, or in some way unified, then our urges/impulses would somehow be complementary, rather than constantly acting to undermine and compromise each other.

So, will and function. What brings these together? “Being”, or the degree & intensity to which we are who we are, a unified creature, whose functions accurately, reliably & efficiently discharge the “instructions” of the will, is sometimes the word applied to this. In this sense, being is a measure of our integrity, the degree to which we hang together as an individual creature. The musical language is helpful here: being is a measure of the degree to which our functions are harmonized: in tune, in tone & in time.

So, we have these three terms: function, being, and will.

The connection of the will to the functional instruments is damaged by drug use, in some cases severely. This has the practical effect that the three instruments, the hands the head and the heart, are unable to work together. Alternatively expressed, the will is unable to act in an unified fashion through the instruments that nature has provided in the fully co-ordinated and harmonic fashion that is proper to our construction.

This is existentially and essentially terrifying.

Fortunately, there are exercises available to strengthen and unify our relationship to “will”. In Guitar Craft a taste of this is available through the category of exercises referred to as Division of Attention exercises. For more experienced students, the Job of the Day is exceptionally important.

Very, very simply and simplistically, it’s something like this:

Function is what we do;
Being is the integrity with which (how “well”) we do it, and:
Will is whether we are going to do it, or not.

Robert Fripp
Tuesday 30th, January 2002
Guitar Craft Levels 1 & 2
Convento Di Santa Maria Della Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy