Again, we distinguish quite clearly the effort of the effortful act of will from either physical effort or intellectual effort. Effort of will bears no intrinsic relation whatever to the physical or intellectual effort that may be involved in the course which we will. Often the end recognised as in the line of least resistance, and thus calling for no effort of will, is one which is also recognised as involving intense physical effort; and, on the other hand, the end which is felt to demand effort of will may be perfect physical immobility. Similarly in the case of intellectual effort. Situations arise in which one is aware that one would like to continue to pursue some scientific train of thought, that the bias of one's existent conative tendencies inclines one to a course involving considerable output of intellectual energy, but that one ought, in the special circumstances, to make the effort to relax. Indeed, great effort of will may be felt to be involved in a course which is almost void of either physical or intellectual energy; as presumably, for example, in the early stages of certain ascetic disciplines of the East, before practice has made effortlessly perfect the achievement of the desired quiescence of mind and body.
Once more, we distinguish quite clearly the effort of effortful willing from the energy which belongs to our impulsive nature. If, e.g. we experience, as we often do, the uprising of a powerful impulse within us, and proceed to align ourselves in will with the course to which the impulse inclines, the felt presence of the impulsive energy certainly does not cause us to regard the act as a case of the 'effortful act of will.' On the contrary, the more powerful the impulse, the more likely is it that the end to which it inclines us will be felt to be the course which is in the line of least resistance, and as such the course the willing of which is effortless. In fact, in the extreme cases, where the impulse has such strength as to dominate our whole mental being, as, e.g. where we are in the grip of some over-mastering terror which impels us to blind and headlong flight, we have an experience which we should probably cite as the exemplar, not of effortful activity, but of complete passivity. We speak in such cases of having lost control of ourselves, of being subject to the governance of animal instinct.
The experience of effort of will, then, seems to be quite distinct from the experience of physical or intellectual effort, or of impulsive energy, or even of the activity involved in willing as such. Careful introspection will, I think, leave no serious doubts on the necessity of making these distinctions. We have now to attend to certain 'affirmations' which appear to be inherently bound up with this experience in virtue of its uniqueness. First of all, with respect to the source of the effort. The effortful act is felt as issuing from the self, and yet not from the self regarded as just the unity of its existing conative tendencies. And when I say that it is so 'felt,' I mean that this is the ideal interpretation directly and inevitably dictated by the experience when we attend to it with the question as to 'source' in our minds. It is evident enough that the effort is felt as made by the 'self.' The self takes credit for making it, and condemns itself in so far as the effort made is insufficient. But it is equally evident that the effort is felt not to be determined by the self's existent conative dispositions (or, as we may call it, its 'character as so far formed'). For the course which this latter dictates is, ex hypothesi, the course in 'the line of least resistance,' the adoption of which is felt to be effortless. The effort is felt, then, as self-determined, and yet as not determined by the self's character as so far formed, not, i.e., causally continuous with the self's past. We may think this a paradox, although I shall later argue that it is a paradox only for a falsely abstract and external way of regarding the self; but the present point is just that it is the immediate report of the experience itself.
But not only is there implicit in the effortful act of will this absolute assurance that the self here and now originates the effort: there is also absolute assurance that the self could refrain from making the effort, and again (if the circumstances happen to be such as to permit of the question significantly arising) could be making a greater effort, or a less effort, with corresponding differences of the concrete act of will in each case. Naturally I do not mean that the agent explicitly asserts as he acts, 'this which I am doing I could forbear to do, etc.'; but I do mean this, that once the question is put to the agent after an act experienced as effortful, 'could you have acted otherwise than you did?', the revival of the experience in imagination absolutely compels an affirmative answer in the terms I have indicated. It is an answer which we are obliged to return by the very nature of the experience itself.
And with this we come upon the full-blown claim to that kind of freedom which, I have insisted, is a condition of moral responsibility. We have the claim that there are genuinely open possibilities lying before the self; that in situations of moral temptation, where there is a presented contrast between the end of duty and the end of inclination, it lies wholly and solely with the self here and now whether or not, or how far, it makes the effort to rise to duty. Nothing, be it noted, is claimed which is inconsistent with the obvious fact of the powerful influence of the self's past character upon the act of will regarded in its total nature. So far as the claim to freedom here made is concerned, the self's character perfectly well may, as it in fact obviously enough does, prescribe the nature of the alternatives presented, determine the extent of the gulf which in any instance separates the end of duty from the end of inclination, and settle therefore how great is the effort required to 'rise to duty.' All that is claimed (and it is important to bear this in mind in view of the chimerical versions of freewill which the less scrupulous opponents of Liber-tarianism delight to assail) is that whether or not, or how far, this effort is made, lies solely with the self here and now.