How often are our acts freely chosen? Can we say we can perform an action without any kind of interference or intervention? And what about the cause of the acts?
It is not easy to define the word, “freedom”, beyond using the superficial commonplace answers which are obvious.
If we analyze our everyday life, it would appear obvious that most of our actions are mere reactions to different stimuli. It doesn’t matter if these stimuli are external or internal: our action is always a re-action.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a sign of a mechanical response, but because most of what we do during a day is really…. automatic, we already think to have performed it spontaneously.
We wake up because of the alarm clock, not because we have decided it. We go to our job because of a necessity, not because of a choice. We do everything because of something, not because we had decided it.
Our acts, from waking up to drinking coffee or saying to someone “I love you”, are 99% automatic reactions, often provoked from external stimuli, but more often belonging to stimuli that come from within us. Aware not of this, even the inner stimuli are consequences of something that, in a recent or distant past, had conditioned us.
We get angry. Are we sure that this is just what we want in that moment? Or maybe it will be because someone has offended us or uncovered something about us which we weren’t willing to see?
In order to discover how much we are free, we need two things:
- the first and most demanding, is to find the courage to put in doubt our supposed “free will”. Without this step, we’ll never begin a real work for seeking any answer about this condition.
- then, obviously, we must continue with observing our every act and the causes that determined it. It’s a long task, but it leads in turn to great discoveries about ourselves.
It’s the beginning of a Research Path and Personal development towards a more Objective Reason.