On the whole „do what you want“ business

A person who seeks advice does not know what they want. They are in a state of indecision, which is a mental state in which every single desire pulls in its own direction. To help such a person, one has to advise them on which desire is the healthiest for them to follow.

This rules out the common „do what you want“ advice as a non-advice, for an indecisive person’s problem is not whether they should do something they want or something they do not want since there is no option that they do not want – they want all of the options, otherwise they wouldn’t be indecisive – their problem is that they do not know which option they should pick at the time – their problem is that of organization.

So what is hidden behind this „do what you want“ mentality? Weakness, of course, inability to organize one’s desires. „Do what you want“ basically means „do whatever is easier“, more precisely, „do whatever causes less pain“ and is thus an ad hoc solution to the problem of organization.

The only proper meaning „do what you want“ phrase can possibly have is „do whatever fits your character“ or „do whatever is healthy for you“ which is true but not very useful as an advice. Beside that, most people who „do what they want“ do not really do what fits their character or what is healthy for them but merely that which is habitual for them (and what is habitual is not necessarily healthy.)

Interesting aproach but, ignorance of a tantalizing subject also creates questions. Seeking advice is learning , an education.
So when do what you want is given, it shows failure on the person that said it.

Sometimes the indecision is between what one wants and what one thinks they ought to do. For example, craving a piece of chocolate cake while one is dieting. If they are torn and seek advice on what to do, they may get the response “do what you want,” but this usually means “eat the cake”.

“Do what you want” is redundant advice, but I think that is it’s only valid criticism. It is redundant, because an individual will always pick what they believe the superior choice in the moment that choice is made. Giving an individual advice, in a way, is similarly redundant. Unless you introduce a new possibility, i.e. expand their consciousness of the issue, then the individual faces the same choice before and after your advice, and must still choose for themselves.

Yeah, but I think it’s possible to reduce a conflict between a want and an ought to a conflict between two desires: to eat the cake and not to eat the cake (because you want to be healthy or lose weight or whatever.) It is impossible for an indecision to exist if one does not desire all of the options. Even ignorance itself is nothing but a conflict between a vast number of desires. An ignorant person is not the one who sees no path, but the one who’s incapable of narrowing a huge number of paths to a single “right” path.

I think such an advice boils down to “pick a stronger desire”. Of course, if eating a cake is a stronger desire, you’d pick it, but then what? That’s a clear reaction right there, for the person is now entering into a conflict against the conflict of desires to eat and not eat. The question here is: which desire one should give power to? Why? And why not? These are the questions that have to be addressed. The “do what you want” answer is merely an ad hoc, a way to bypass an indecision, a way to tyrannize your own desires.

This incapacity doesn’t automatically take a master/slave flavour as you can have someone perched on the edge of an Active Nihilism like Hamlet’s ‘ignorance’, procrastinating, or the slavish kind as you suggest unable to rank-value and bring the drives under one dominant organization as it tends to passive-nihilistically believe all perspectives are equally valid to avoid taking a concrete stand.

But what you point out is not the only kind of ignorance. There is also the ignorance that is the kind of willful and decisive self-deceit. The cowardly shutting oneself off from other horizons and taking refuge in the ‘truth’ that soothes it the most is always motivated by comfortable self-preservation, without which it would perish.

Want and ought: two distinct but closely related concepts.

Want: a desire to do something.
Ought: a desire to kindle a desire to do something.

There is a distinction to be made between an active ought and a reactive ought. The aforementioned ought – the desire to kindle a desire to do something – is an active ought. Reactive ought, on the other hand, is a desire to kindle a desire to do something in order to suppress/control desire(s) one is frightened of (i.e. desires that expose one to a risk of some kind.) An example would be a dutiful man who works his ass off 9 to 5 every working day, a behavior which is motivated not out of love for the job, but out of fear of what would happen if he simply remained jobless (could be the fear of death or, as is often the case, bad conscience.)

“Do what you want” can also mean “do what you really want”. Here, it is implied that there is a rank between wants, that one can do something that one really wants and something that one wants but not fully. This comes down to one thing: integrity. Integrity is holographic in nature: to do what one really wants is to give expression to all of our abilities every single moment, in every single action. To do something that one does want but not fully would mean to do something that gives expression to one’s best abilities every single moment, in every single action, but not to all of one’s abilities.

Still, not a very useful advice (unless it’s properly elaborated.)

want: to desire or to be without
ought: a subjective or universal perception of what needs to be done … as opposed to the correct behavior based on the reality of the situation.

Sometimes all that is necessary is that little push to allow people to realize that they can give themselves permission to do what it is that they REALLY want to do. It isn’t always about having too many options - too much conflict. Sometimes it just comes down to having the courage to DO WHAT THEY REALLY WANT TO DO AND NOT WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM BY OTHERS OR BY THEIR SELVES.

DO WHAT YOU WANT IS PERMISSION TO BE YOURSELF. Down deep where we really live, we know what that is. It’s not about knowledge or wisdom, it’s about courage and will.

gib, who’s going to ask for advise on whether it’s a good thing to eat a slice of cake or not. Actually, while dieting, it might be a good thing to have that slice of cake. Ends the craving for it and upsets the physical hiatus one might have reached when dieting.
If I want cake, I’ll eat it or maybe I’ll compromise and have just a half a slice or just eat the icing. It’s all about living in harmony with ourselves and refining our desires.

“To be yourself” means to act with integrity. However, people often don’t have integrity and no matter what they do they always react, merely changing one form of reaction with another. When you instruct a person to “do what he wants” you merely instruct him to replace one form of reaction with another. It’s a quick-fix solution that solves absolutely nothing (other than curing the symptoms, that is to say, temporarily relieving the pain.)

Integrity is not a choice, but there is something you can do about it, and that is to do absolutely nothing about it lol.

Nietzsche calls it “Russian fatalism”,“faculty of forgetting” and “ability not to react”.

Now that I’ve mentioned forgetting there is one thing that needs to be cleared.

There are two kinds of forgetting and they must not be conflated with each other. These are, of course, active forgetting (Nietzsche’s kind) and reactive forgetting (Freud’s repression.)

In active forgetting, a problem is temporarily forgotten until one accumulates enough resources to to deal with it. This kind of forgetting is protective: it leads to inaction that promotes action and fights reaction (like rumination, for example.) A forgetting of this kind is difficult to do because it delays the decision, and in doing so, deepens the decision making process (which is frightening.)

In reactive forgetting, one does not forget the problem, one “solves” the problem prematurely: one forgets in order to make the problem easier to solve. One does not wait for the solution to be discovered – one needs a solution, and needs it urgently. Because of this, the man blinds himself by coming up with an ad hoc logic that denies some of the internal forces that create the problem, thus reducing the complexity of the problem, making it easier to solve. Here, one forgets one’s own wills in order to make the problem solvable within desirable timeframe. Here, one solves a contradiction by replacing it with a series of latent contradictions – all with the aim to do something urgently, anything at all, just so that one can avoid having to go through the long period of indecision. (Defense mechanisms are a form of reactive forgetting.)

Man’s psyche is made out of multiple wills (which reflect our abilities.) Before an action is initiated, these wills either agree or disagree with each other. When there is a disagreement between wills, there’s indecision: one is paralyzed, one cannot act at all (Nietzsche refers to this state of mind as “anarchy of the instinct”.) There are two possible solutions to this problem. First, the most common solution, is a reactive solution, and thus, not a solution at all: a group of wills bend together in order to tyranically oppose remaining wills – which is done with the help of Freud’s reactive forgetting – thus establishing some sort of order (Nietzsche refers to this state of mind as “tyranny of the instinct”.) The other solution, the rare one, is an active solution, and thus, proper solution: one waits until the wills reconcile with each other which is done with the help of Nietzsche’s active forgetting (Nietzsche refers to this state of mind as “self-mastery”.)

I have my own terms for these phenomena. The key concept is integrity. “Anarchy of the instinct” is lack of integrity, “tyranny of the instinct” is partial integrity and “self-mastery” is integrity proper. To be someone else, and not yourself, would mean to have partial integrity (= to be a slave = to be a poser = to be tyrannical = to be reactive) and to be yourself would mean to have full integrity (= to be a master = to be active.)

Now, consider a man who cannot decide between A, his stronger will, and B, his weaker will. What does this man really want? What he really wants is full integrity i.e. to reconcile these two wills so that there is no longer any conflict between them. So when he seeks advice he seeks for a way to reconcile these wills, not for an advice on which will should become a tyrant. This might be something he wants, in a sense that, he might consider it more desirable than some other form of tyranny, but it’s not something he really wants.

“Do what you want” advice is bad because it instructs people to become tyrants, to choose their strongest will as a tyrant, in this case, to let A become a tyrant, to let A destroy B, with no logic whatsoever, other than because A is stronger than B, because it is easy for A to become a tyrant and instill some sort of order at the cost of younger and weaker wills.

Tyrants are fashionable: they do not grow (or become), they merely change (or transform/adapt.) When tyranny reaches its limit, when it can no longer sustain itself, one does not perish, one simply replaces one form of tyranny with another form of tyranny.

All tyrannies end with a regret: suppressed wills coming to foreground. Sometimes, these previously suppressed wills become new tyrants.