So, we now have a complete model of the operation of the Human Will with four 'positions' into which the will directs the person: Desire, Avoidance, Satisfaction, and Complacency. You could also add four further clarifications: Good, Bad, Content, and Slothful. During our lives, our will is madly shifting gears as new events and circumstances come into view. The 'upper brain' assigns value to each person and thing, and this 'programs' the 'lower brain' like the hand on the gear shift.
Here's how this model can be further elaborated:
You are the car, and 'life' as we experience it is a steady uphill grade of awareness. Well, that's what is supposed to happen. We are supposed to 'grow up' and learn about the world and mature. We are supposed to become who we are and achieve true happiness in God, After all, there can be no greater joy that the complete awareness of God. He is all goodness. He is, quite literally, Joy.
So we emerge from non-awareness, or Numb (which is ultimately non-existence) and move forward. As we emerge, we discover we are far away from what we are supposed to be, and we begin to experience suffering. This Pain, telling us we need to move forward.
What happens is that we encounter Fear, which is part of the Fall in Christian terminology (remember Adam and Eve hiding from God?). Now, fear has positive aspects when it is mixed with experience: you should be afraid to cross the street outside the crosswalk, but that's because you have the experience to know how dangerous the street is in general when rules are not followed.
Fear without experience becomes a barrier to progress and change. When it is encountered, the 'fallen nature' inclination is to back down, or to put the car in 'reverse.' Yet, this reverse means, ultimately, that one must deny part of reality. One chooses numbness and darkness to the light of truth that involves pain. This is why avoidance leads to greater suffer: one suffers from fear, but one also suffers from knowingly denying one's self true happiness.
Now, if one passes through fear, he changes. Depending on how 'fast' he drives, one can even put the car in neutral and coast a bit, though this is usually short because the hill is steep. We will soon want to get back into the race and drive some more, in which case we will encounter more fears and experience more change.
In the next post, we'll explore how addiction takes hold and messes with this progress.