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will into Options
justina bandol
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 11:20:12 AM
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How would you understand that „a man she never met willed her into his death”? What situation would you imagine? I can only say she's not dead.
thar
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 11:25:46 AM

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If it were 'willed her into killing him' that would be clear. (compelled by force of mind)
Or if a man she never met willed her something. (bequeathed)
but this seems to be a mixture. Definitely needs more context.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 11:34:40 AM

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justina bandol wrote:
How would you understand that „a man he never met willed her into his death”? What situation would you imagine? I can only say she's not dead.


Try this again, please. It makes no sense as written.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
NKM
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 11:56:51 AM

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justina bandol wrote:
How would you understand that „a man he never met willed her into his death”? What situation would you imagine? I can only say she's not dead.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Is it perhaps "a man she never met …"?

In any case, I can only guess that "willed her into his death" might mean that he wrote her into his will — that is, he bequeathed something to her.

That's only a guess; I've never heard of "will [someone] into one's death". (I suppose it might be a regional usage …)

justina bandol
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 1:24:34 PM
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My bad, it was of course „she”, not „he”. It's been corrected.
justina bandol
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 1:53:55 PM
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We have will something into existence, so why not someone and why not into death, right? Except that it is not that someone's death, but someone else's, namely the willing person's. That would be the logical sequence, but I still cannot say precisely what it means. To get that someone involved into your death by sheer force of will?

It might mean that. The context is as follows: A student living on campus sees a light in the university library across the court at night, for several nights. She is herself studying late, with her lights on. One night she realizes the person there is waving at her amiably, but she doesn't reply. The next day she finds out he has been discovered dead among the shelves. He was an old professor and mentioned her name in the margins of his journals, which are now acquiring great value as his final work of genius.

What do you think now?
thar
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 3:53:25 PM

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Because the two things are not comparable.

You bring something into existence - into the state of existing.
If you can bring it into existence, you can will it into existence.

But you don't bring something into death.

That is the problem.
You can will it to die, but that is the infinitive action, not the state.

And I suppose you could will him into oblivion, which means he just ceases to exist!




justina bandol
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2018 3:12:33 AM
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I see what you mean, thar, but I still suspect that might be the pun at play here. He likes this kind of jocular use of words, Whitehead, though he is usually very exact, so he should have felt the difference you are pointing at. But perhaps, stretching it a bit, he did mean „death” as a state, the opposite of existence, or perhaps as the postmortem existence, not as an event (like when you say „he's famous both in life and in death”, if I get it correctly). Anyway, he does have his moments of utter reconditeness.

Unless the meaning is the one suggested by NKM, but it seems such a contorted way of saying it!
thar
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2018 5:16:58 AM

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Well, if that is what he wrote, that is what he wanted to say. I think it maybe sounds a bit odd because I am not sure who is doing what to whom or why, so it feels a bit discombobulated.
justina bandol
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2018 6:38:05 AM
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It is the professor who willed the young student into his death.

Thank you!
thar
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2018 8:41:03 AM

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So the 'man she had never met' and 'his' don't refer to the same person? That makes more sense. Pronouns in English are a fairly coarse instrument, not a fine tool - without context they can be very confusing!
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 2, 2018 2:05:43 AM
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Oh, yes, they do! She never met him (the professor) in the flesh, only saw him as a figure in the library (without knowing who he was).

Sorry if my explanations were confusing.
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