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The most pressing uneasiness naturally determines the will.       §40. But we being in this World beset with sundry uneasinesses,
distracted with different desires, the next enquiry naturally will be,
which of them has the precedency in determining the will to the
next action? and to that the answer is, that ordinarily, which is the
most pressing of those, that are judged capable of being then
removed. For the will being the power of directing our operative
faculties to some action, for some end, cannot at any time be moved
towards what is judg’d at that time unattainable: That would be
to suppose an intelligent being designedly to act for an end, only to
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lose its labour; for so it is to act, for what is judg’d not attainable;
and therefore very great uneasinesses move not the will, when they are
judg’d not capable of a Cure: They, in that case, put us not upon
endeavours. But these set a-part, the most important and urgent
uneasiness, we at that time feel, is that, which ordinarily determines
the will successively, in that train of voluntary actions, which make
up our lives. The greatest present uneasiness is the spur to action,
that is constantly felt; and for the most part determines the will in
its choice of the next action. For this we must carry along with us,
that the proper and only object of the will is some action of ours,
and nothing else. For we producing nothing, by our willing it, but
some action in our power, ’tis there the will terminates, and reaches
no farther.
Locke Hum II, 21, §40, pp. 257-258