When Doppel started the
engine and put the puppy on his gas tank, the engine didn't bother him.
"Always be aware - us men of
action - that coincidences are almost always a sign from God that should never
be overlooked because the messages are divine roadmaps guiding you to reach
your destiny because He knows. And never be afraid to undertake an exploit that
will test the mettle of your will because even if the task is not as successful
as what you had hoped, there will be some light shed about the strengths and
weaknesses of your will, which can be corrected and bettered."
Doppel revved the engine as
he held the dog on the gas tank with his other hand.
"Will he stay?"
When we began our return
journey it was clear the puppy no understanding of gravity and inertia. Around
one of the first corners along the Coastal Highway the puppy slid off the tank
and landed Doppel's left thigh. After focusing so long on only his own needs,
his reaction to catch the falling puppy was hesitant, even half-hearted. The
puppy dangled over the pavement on the crowded highway clinging to Doppel's
lower thigh. I could see the puppy slipping off in slow motion.
"The puppy!" I
Slowly he reached across
with his throttle hand and grabbed a leg. He downshifted to free his clutch
hand so he could pick it up instead of pulling it up by the leg. I could see
that he needed to adjust his Doppel van Norman-centric perspective on life to
include a puppy that now needed his care. And it would be difficult for him to
constantly alter the governing of his excursion now to include a helpless puppy
that didn't know the basics of inertia or gravity. The clouds rolled in as a
storm looked immanent, and there was now traffic.
Doppel pulled off the coast
highway to a temple pitched on a mountainside. There was no one there but the
temple was open.
"I'm naming him Howie," he said, when she had
sniffed around the Buddha and lay on Doppel's leg. The rain came down hard.
"He seems to have taken a
liking to you. Good you snagged him dangling over the abyss there."
"Yes, it was fortunate."
We watched Howie dream, the
twitches and demonstrative body English as proof of its cognitive abilities suggesting
that Howie had faculty to learn and respect Doppel as a master.
"Caring for anyone other
than my own hide will be a change of monumental proportion."
"The word ‘parent' brings
with it a shard of fear, does it?"
"'Master,' not ‘parent.'
Howie should be able to manage with laissez-faire supervision. I can
provide a home for him and housebreak him. But we have to make it there first.
Looks like a storm is coming." The sky had turned gray, clouds blew in from the
"Will Howie be a member of
the Viking Club?"
"Well, what is the
Viking-Poet's Club? It's a club for those brave souls who choose to live their
lives like a work of art through extraordinary exploits, which reveal the
secrets of life's mysteries and answers to life's timeless questions."
"So that would include
"Membership to the Viking
Club is paid for with passion, creativity, dedication and a single-mindedness
to pursue all that is offered to you through chance and circumstance as well as
the innovative utilization of one's time and space in their zeitgeist."
Howie kicked in her sleep.
"All full men who possess
the equipment necessary to live a Viking-Poet's life are above their given
epoch and instead stand outside their history so that convention and morality
indigenous to your epoch fall outside your scope of reference. The Viking-Poet
lives among the ancients. His idea of good is different from that of the 21st-century
"From Old Frisian, good
means to unite and from Old High German means to fit together or to
hold fast. It means bountiful yield, having favorable character,
genuine, promotes well being, beautiful, not small or insignificant, wise,
noble and worthy. This is good for the Viking-Poet: something that is
either an end in itself or a means to such an end. It satisfies its intrinsic
value by promoting individual self-realization."
"Your half-finished canvas."
"Like empty time waiting to
be played out. Brushstrokes come from the manifold of experience. Colors come
from how you express your soul. Texture is determined by your yield of qualia
and shading is an illustration of your level of fulfillment."
"Your doggy is stirring."
"The mind is a refuge full
of elastic bands, plucked by the thumb of reason to echo pleasantries in the
"The wind's picked up. It's
coming from the east so we're going to get it on the bikes."
"Time is the only thing that
has met our ancestors. Probably the oldest thing in the universe."
"Never stops moving."
"And the unrecognized elixir
"How does one extrapolate
"You know something? I've
never really understood ‘the will.' It's an overused word in philosophy that
people use without really thinking about what it means."
"What does it mean?"
"That's the point: no one
"Let me try. The biggest
fundamental difference between me and the 21st-century man is my
complete mastery over will, but it's something that needs to be exercised
regularly or it will wane. The defining quality of the Viking-Poet is
his expert use of his will. In fact the extraordinary nature of my life has
been the direct result of my will."
"But I'm still vague on the
whole notion of will. What the heck is it?"
"It's a desire and
inclination to act."
"That's it? Inclination to
"Pretty much, but it's a bit
more subtle than that. It's a settlement of mental uncertainty or indecision
resulting in volition. It's the total conscious process involved in effecting a
"It is your will to save
"The will is action directed
toward a goal clearly known in advance and requiring effort to overcome
obstacles or contrary desires. It is the faculty of the soul to coordinate with
the intellect that determines rational choices in accordance with what the
intellect has determined as good or bad."
"But philosophers disagree
whether it is a faculty of the soul or a faculty of the mind."
"True, so it's a faculty of
the mind that is usually coordinated with thought and feeling that determines
moral actions in accordance with ideals, principles and fact. In the Viking-Poet
Handbook, the will of the Viking is a disposition to act according to
particular principles, or to conform in conduct and thought to general or ideal
For the first time his
philosophy sounded ominous, with words like ‘conform' and ‘conduct.'
"Your will to save Howie is
conforming to the Viking-Poet code of conduct because of the handbook? Or would
you have done it without the handbook?"
"I know you know the answer
to that question. There was the character first, before the words. The character
lies in the will and not in the intellect. Nature has produced the intellect
for the service of the individual will. The old mistake of philosophers is to
place the essence of mind in thought and consciousness, but Schopenhauer
believed the primary guiding force is not the conscious intellect but rather
the will: a striving, persistent vital force of action and imperious desire.
Nietzsche said of the will: ‘The will is the strong blind man who carries on
his shoulders the lame man who can see.' It's a clever notion that touches
on this idea that the will is somehow lacking in one of the senses."
"That's what I'm getting at:
the will is taking action to get to a desired goal but it's more than that.
It's tied up with thoughts and feelings and moral judgment. Disposition,
choice, inclination, passion, intention, determination. You could say it's a
summons of purpose."
"The will is the commander
of all the chess pieces on the board with the power to control, determine and
dispose. It's that restlessness that constantly reminds you that you have to do
something, that omnipresent inclination standing just outside your door but
never knocks. It's that inkling that whispers in your ear too softly that makes
you feel as though you had something to do but have forgotten."
"Yes, I see what you're
saying. The will is like a persistent recollection of a recent event in which
you made an important choice but you still have yet to act on it."
"It's like the unsatisfied
craving for coffee in the morning knowing there's nothing holding you back from
getting a cup."
"Or like a mild suspicion
that there's a voice in your subconscious mind trying to tell you something
"Morality targets the heart,
not the intellect. The home of the will is the heart, not the head. The
Viking-Poet masters his motorcycle by imposing his will on it. The more
exploits achieved increases the power of the Viking Poet's will. It is fatigue
of the intellect that disrupts the will's work. Will is the cause of all
action, and force is the form of the will. Over time one can see ones
destination at the end of the teleological line which the will goes forth to."
The rain started to let up.
"Didn't you bring up the
word ‘ennui' in the handbook?"
"Yes, I believe I did."
"And what exactly is it?"
Doppel surveyed the riding
conditions from the view of the temple. The waves crashed against the rocks in
the distance where the tide was coming in.
"Ennui, that's a
Schopenhauer word. I mean he uses that to explain the will."
"Ennui is a feeling of
weariness and dissatisfaction, languor or emptiness of spirit. It is life when
the will is dormant."
"Aristotle would concur with
that I think. He believed that pain is life's basic stimulus and reality, and
pleasure is merely a negative cessation of pain. For Aristotle it was the
fundamental equation of existence. He believed the wise man seeks not pleasure
but freedom from care and pain."
"That's why the exploit is of such importance," he
said. "It keeps everything sharpened and polished."
the words of Heraclitus: ‘The unshaken mixture decomposes.'" Like a
flower it blooms and soon withers so that the smell of bloom can never be
attained again. Only those who take action while in bloom can say to have truly
"Well, yes. The will is
there to maximize life."
After the rain let up, the
two of us cruised along the Coastal Highway back towards Taipei.