Is Wild Willful?

Is wild willful? This question came to mind reading this essay.

Is it willful in the same sense as we know wilfulness to mean acting out however we please?

I don’t know. I don’t think so. We used to talk about acting out of our “natures.” This seems closer, though whenever we turn to that word, nature –or “real” – it’s difficult not to feel as though we’re just floating away….

Much of what I find myself doing appears to be about discovering essential actions and letting go of illusions about the idea of choice. There is a confusion between the availability of choice and freedom. A profitable one for consumerism, while it staggers on at least. Choice appears a bait and switch. “Take this wide availability of empty choice and surrender your freedom! You’ll never know the difference.”

I have found the greatest freedom to come when I’ve discovered what is and when the range of possible responses focuses down to one non-futile choice. There is letting go involved. There is a refreshing dropping away of the tyranny of Ego. At such times an inkling of freedom presents itself.

On the other hand, we are surrounded with choices, bombarded with choices, but at every turn there is no freedom. There is a direct connection. This comes down to how we perceive and react or respond to the misconstructions society presents us regarding questions of security, community, or creativity. At every turn we are compelled to give up any possibility of freedom in exchange for an illusion of choice.

This goes as deeply as our sense of self! Ego, as an illusion, must generate a whirlwind of urgency and compulsion to keep us occupied and unable to see through it. Society is this activity writ large. The Spectacle.

In this environment it is difficult to talk of wildness as willfulness without confusing part of our conditioning for an elemental truth. In fact, this sort of misalignment is a ubiquitous symptom of our incoherence and misunderstanding of thought. It continually arises and diverts promising insights back into business-as-usual.

How else could we consider wildness and will?

My hunch is that what reads to us as “the same thing,” a will just like our own, in animals or plants even, is nothing of the kind.

What appears to me in disconnected glimpses at the edge of my ability to recognize what I’m witnessing – a much more common state than we ever care to admit! – I see other creatures acting out of necessity. I also continually find evidence that we contemporary humans rarely recognize necessity if it were to bite us in the ass! – As it is currently doing on so many fronts!

I’m also put in mind of Qi. Steelweaver recently wrote on the way our blocked and stifled Qi compares to that of “wild” animals. In this case comparing a chimpanzee of eighty pounds with a man at 200. The chimpanzee is so much stronger! Lighter, smaller, with very similar primate muscles, sinews, and bones; a chimp can overwhelm a man. There seems to be something to this. Think of the cases of frail people doing amazing feats when the lives of a loved one are at stake. In all sorts of “emergencies,” we find access to a clarity of purpose and action that takes us far beyond “normal” capabilities. Are these cases of unblocked Qi? Is this what we mean when we talk of a Wild Will?

In this reading the term will is almost unrecognizable from a “civilized” perspective.

Language is fraught! We become impatient with this. “Why does everything have to be so complicated!”

But why should everything not be complex? From within an attitude born of unblocked energy, vitality freely flowing and expressed within emergence, it is hard to imagine the clogged, twisted, and frustrated state we find ourselves trapped in. Questions of difficulty are seen in a completely different light. Vitality is sparked by our recognition of how it flows through everything. That it may often flow in ways that could be seen as “in our way” hardly enters into question. Of course that would happen! Vitality flows in every direction, some of it is bound to collide with our own.

This is a very different attitude from the ones within civilization, finding grudges and enmity everywhere, casting any competition, real or projected, as an “evil” will that must be destroyed. Choosing sides everywhere and then piling oppositions on oppositions until we find ourselves lost in an inimical world seeking any aid, seeking “salvation.” Projection works so well. We get what we’re looking for!

We identify with parts. We proliferate divisions and our list of enemies grows out of control.

Wild just is.

Is that willful?

That depends on what will means….

Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

3 thoughts on “Is Wild Willful?

  1. That puts me in mind of something one of my cats taught me. She would often move and then stop, considering her next flow. I call it “cat’s moment.” She stilled, and gathered herself inwardly and opened up to the guidance that then led her on. I don’t think she was acting on necessity. Cared for domestic cats rarely do. She was somehow opened up to a knowing greater than her mind’s alone. Her entire self then knew what to do, and what she did was seamless, in harmony with who she was, and what she was doing before, and with what beckoned. She did not strive at that moment. Yet “the next” emerged for her and she received it and moved with it.


  2. Hi Tony,

    No, wildness is only from a point of perspective. Nature, and the associated wildness, is running on it’s own time, really an over lapping set of cycles within cycles. There are seasons, fall winter spring and summer, There are seasons of birth, life ,death decay and return of nutrients to the system, moon, tides etc. All of this has it’s own momentum.

    When we confront wilderness, we tend to do so obliquely. That is to say, we don’t take it’s momentum into consideration. Think of it as a spinning merry go round. If you just jump in and try to grab on it will throw your ass off! You have to match it’s rhythm and speed and become one with the wheel.

    I prefer the Judea/christian perception of the wild, wilderness. Wild and wilderness are untamed, outside the world of man and separating us from god and heaven. It was where one went to commune with god and nature.
    Nature has no will, per say, just the need to go on spinning. As mankind keeps crashing into natures wheel we damage nature and ourselves. We keep knocking off critical chunks with no regard as to what the real consequences are. We are throwing the whole spinning thing out of balance and it is faltering and starting to wobble. Once it stops spinning it is dead. We won’t be far behind.

    We are the ones who are willful, and contrary to nature’s power and vulnerability.



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