The moral code of Mindcoolness and the fundamental principle—the one law—by which I live my life is
Do your True Will.
But what is the True Will?
I) Do what thou wilt
Doing the True Will means doing what one truly wants to do. As this requires self-lucidity, the True Will can practically be done only to the extent that one knows oneself.
Profound self-awareness is critical for doing the True Will, for without a certain maturity, wisdom, and wealth of self-knowledge, doing what one truly wants will only ever be “I do what I want,” which may look like this:
Doing what one wants is the mindset of an ungroundedly rebellious teenager or a hypermasculine man. “I do what I want, bitch!” indicates a reactive soul that is enslaved by the ego or its idea of someone else, whereas “I do my True Will” indicates a proactive soul that is free and at peace with itself.
In essence: A man’s True Will is what he would want to do if he had perfect knowledge of himself—of what drives and fulfills him. It is whatever he wants to do that objectively maximizes his subjective well-being.
Neuroscientifically, this requires an associated activity of both the dopaminergic “wanting” and the opioid “liking” pathway in the brain: incentive salience (motivation to chase) as well as hedonistic reward (pleasure to enjoy), controlled by cortical circuits (executive functions).
II) Seven Aspects of the True Will
1. A manifestation of willpower
The easiest way to understand the True Will is by setting apart short-term goals from long-term goals:
- Short-term goals are dictated by one’s current emotions; for example, craving sugar, craving drugs, craving pussy, or craving entertainment. Short-term goals promise instant gratification.
- Long-term goals, on the other hand, are dictated by one’s valenues, dreams, and principles; for example, sticking to a nutritious diet, not being dependent on drugs, remaining faithful to one’s woman, or working without procrastinating. Long-term goals yield results and life satisfaction.
The True Will is the bodymind‘s will directed at long-term goals. When you do your True Will, you use willpower to stay true to yourself, live your purpose, and do what is right, regardless of your feelings. (Keep in mind, however, that goals are only a surface notion of the True Will. On a deeper level, the True Will is not where you want to go, but how you want to be walking.)
Philosophically, the True Will can also be described as second-order volition. For example, a heroin addict may want heroin and at the same time—on a higher level—also want to not be a person who wants heroin. The True Will is on this higher level of volition that subordinates current circumstances and desires to a greater life vision.
To learn how to strengthen your will, read my book Willpower Condensed:
2. A set of life priorities
The True Will comprises one’s priorities in life, for example, the activities that give meaning and fulfillment to every single day as well as the varying priorities in different phases of life. This is also how the True Will is dynamic.
3. A grounded purpose in life
The True Will is the masculine alternative to “follow your heart.” Metaphorically, the True Will is neither in the brain (mind), nor in the heart (feelings), nor in the gut (instincts), but in the blood. What a man is willing to bleed for is what marks his True Will. Fleeting emotions and happiness do not determine a man’s purpose; pride, balanced with humility, does.
Egoless pride is the only emotion that should influence a man’s decisions. He does not decide based on what he “feels like” would be the right thing to do or what his ego dreams say. Rather, he decides based on what his self-knowledge, his primordial convictions, and his core values order him to do. Thus, he embodies freedom through strength. By doing the True Will, a man realizes his vision of the man he wants to become. This is also how he decides whether he will listen to his body.
The True Will, although pleasurable to do, is not a “passion” in the sense of emotional passivity or affective slavery as its rational, prefrontal, and metacognitive elements are essential.
4. An authentic, serene self-expression
In the present moment, the True Will is the creative expression of one’s true self. This innocent yet potentially savage spontaneous authenticity is beyond the plush shackles of civilization and its soul-deadening consumer culture. Though not a “free will”, the True Will is freedom of nature.
It is also an expression of confidence, for to do the True Will means to not be inhibited by oppressing emotions. So we speak up, we embrace confrontation, we are economically and sexually aggressive, and we stand our ground; and whenever we lack confidence, we use courage to do our True Will. Yet our aggression is not rage or anger; it signals the potency of our will.
The True Will is the volitional expression of a cool mind. Doing the True Will expresses the serene state of mindcoolness because only when we are not limited by anger or anxiety, can we do what we truly want to do; and when we take action in that way or are grateful for our will, there is no room for hate, fear, sadness, or useless negative thinking.
5. A balance between bestiality and civility
Every modern man is partly beast partly person, partly barbarian partly civilian. He has an old will, which is feral and tribally conditioned, and a new will, which is civil and socially conditioned. The True Will is an intelligent adaptation of the old, primordial will to modern life.
Since it is no longer an option for the modern man to live in a foraging band of hunter-gatherers (because he has neither the necessary knowledge nor the necessary environment), he must learn to be true to and act out his primal nature in a way that allows him to thrive in today’s society. This way is a man’s True Will.
This aspect of the True Will is most difficult to manifest. Many men are barely even aware of their old will, of their animalistic drives, brutish desires, and aggressive instincts; others are ashamed of them, fear them, suppress them, fear to express them. Now, doing our True Will does not mean to unleash our beast within. But we shall know it, honor it, and satisfy it in a way that supports our greater purpose!
6. An intuitive conviction
The True Will is a man’s intuitive conviction that he has to do this or that. Beyond goals and conscious reasons, a man can be profoundly convinced about what the right thing to do is.
“I don’t know why, but I know that this is what I have to do.”
“I don’t know why, but I know that I should stop doing this, or it will hollow out my soul.”
This aspect of the True Will—akin to inspiration, conscience, and Socrates’ daemon—is its clearest manifestation and might be experienced as mystical because it is so beyond all rational doubt.
Of course, this does not make it esoteric. The True Will is simply based on deep, unconscious reasons; reasons rooted in the nervous system and its phylogenetic and ontogenetic history. Knowing one’s True Will, therefore, implies knowing the intelligence of one’s body.
(The obvious issue here is that we barely have the practical means to rationally differentiate this aspect of the True Will from mere affect heuristics. Personally, I like the approach of not making the right decisions, but making my decisions right; frankly, however, I have not yet solved this problem adequately.)
7. An expression of the universe
In this sense, doing the True Will is actually non-doing: intentionless action—an enlightened devotion to the flow of life, the wisdom of Nature, the great Tao.
III) How to find your True Will
The immediate path to your True Will is a meditation on your goals: Do you want to be rich or poor? Do you want to be jacked or fat? Do you want to be a man or a pussy? Do you want to be a creator or a consumer? Do you want to be disciplined or like a leaf in the wind? Do you want your mind to be cool or hot? Do you want to be free or enslaved? (Notice how this path is intrinsically tied to judgments.)
Once you have checked your ego, you can move from petty goals to a higher ideal of mastery by asking yourself, “What skills do I want to develop and master in my life?” I also recommend you take this quiz to identify your personal core values in life.
The intermediate path to your True Will is a meditation on your purpose: What is your life vision, your mission, your calling? Reflect on yourself, your nature and personality, and answer the following questions:
- What did you enjoy doing most as a kid? What types of activities, kinds of people, and environments did you always feel drawn to or repelled by?
- Which values and principles were paramount in the culture you grew up in? (Remember your roots.)
- Who inspires you deeply and what makes this person so amazing? Among your friends, whom do you like and respect the most and why—how does he express his will?
- Who fills your head with thoughts and your heart with hate? (Negative thoughts and emotions often result from envy, which typically points at an unrealized potential, a stifled passion. Learn to use hate to do your True Will.)
- What do you regularly tell yourself that you do not have enough time to do? (If you think about it on a regular basis, you should probably make time for it.)
- When was the last time you were extremely excited about or afraid of something, and how did you act upon it?
- What do you want in a woman? (Knowing what you truly want is absolute key for a successful dating life.)
- Is there a thematic pattern in the books you have been reading throughout your life, or in the bookmarks you have saved in your browser?
- If you knew you would die tomorrow, how would you live today?
- Which activities would make your day so great that you could repeat the same day over and over again? (Determine your life priorities.)
In addition, the intermediate path also requires a study of evolutionary theory and human behavioral ecology, which helps you understand your old will and primal nature. For starters, I recommend the following resources:
- the Stanford lecture series Human Behavioral Biology by Robert Sapolsky
- The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
The ultimate path—the royal road—to your True Will, however, is meditation. A daily mindfulness practice is vital for training self-awareness and drawing you nearer to your true self.
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