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Free Will And The Paradox Of Guilt - Self-development, Society
Free Will And The Paradox Of Guilt - Self-development, Society

Video: Free Will And The Paradox Of Guilt - Self-development, Society

Video: Free Will And The Paradox Of Guilt - Self-development, Society
Video: Determinism vs Free Will: Crash Course Philosophy #24 2023, June

The teacher Petrov is walking briskly along the university corridor. Suddenly one of the students makes a worried face and asks: “Petr Petrovich, are you feeling well? You seem to have turned pale. " Soon, two more students and a colleague also express concern about his well-being

Indoctrinated disease

Having reached the department, Pyotr Petrovich literally falls into a chair and wonders if any of his colleagues has "something from the heart." And then he asks to call an ambulance. The doctor arrives quickly and, fortunately, does not find any serious deviations in Pyotr Petrovich's health, recommending him a couple of days of rest.

The situation described will become clearer if the "secret of focus" is revealed. A certain young teacher (who is no longer young, but who is still ashamed of this act), reading a special course on methods of psychological influence to students of the psychology department, formulated a very controversial statement. He said something like, “Free will doesn't exist. More precisely, we make a really free and conscious choice in a very narrow range of decisions. In the overwhelming majority of cases, our actions and decisions are due to external influences (intentional or accidental)."

There were some students who didn't like this idea. One of the doubters said: "It is impossible to force a person to do something that is at odds with his self - self-awareness, self-understanding, well-being!" After this phrase literally "on the knee" an experiment was invented: "Let's try to convince Petr Petrovich (known for excellent health and optimism) that he is not feeling well!" To do this, they decided to set up three or four "random meetings" with people who allegedly noticed signs of poor health in Petr Petrovich and informed him about it.

No one could have imagined that Pyotr Petrovich would be so suggestible and that an innocent "experiment" would lead to an ambulance call. Of course, the "subject" was then told about everything (and after that he did not communicate with the colleague who organized such an "experiment" for almost a month). Nevertheless, the experiment to some extent confirmed that an adult, conscious and highly intelligent person can be forced to make a decision (intentionally influencing him), which he will consider a choice made of his own free will.

If you dig deeper, then this simple experiment is related to the eternal philosophical question: does a person have free will, or not?

What will, what bondage …

There are as many solutions to this problem as there are schools of thought and directions. But it is much more interesting how this very problem of free (or non-free) will manifests itself in our everyday life.

On the one hand, if I have complete free will, then I am “my own director” and in general I am like an almighty God! I can make my life the way I want ("My will be done!"). But at the same time, all responsibility for the consequences of my decisions, life choices and actions is also on me. And to be honest with myself, I have no one to blame for my mistakes and failures but myself.

And here a paradox arises: if I understand that only myself is to blame for my own failures, then it turns out that my free elections were wrong? I have freedom, but I do not know how to dispose of it? And why then do I need it at all?

If you think these questions are too abstract, you are wrong. This was understood by Erich Fromm, who wrote "Escape from Freedom" (as well as other representatives of the Frankfurt school) and noticed a characteristic trend: the more liberal a society becomes, the more those who fear freedom, replacing it with various kinds of surrogates (like "freedom of consumption").

Accepting the attitude "I have free will," a person is simultaneously faced with an existential sense of guilt. This existential guilt will arise whenever a person betrays his freedom (abandoning it or replacing it with a surrogate) or using it in a non-optimal way (making an unfortunate choice / action).

An alternative to existential guilt can be considered self-realization and self-actualization (in the sense that the founder of humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow, understood it)

On the other hand, if I do not have free will, how can I live at all: set goals, make choices, make decisions? Any religion (or religious-philosophical system) claims that there is no will other than the will of God or other higher powers. Will is denied absolutely (as, for example, in Hinduism / Buddhism, where total predestination is postulated) or partially. For example, in Orthodoxy, a person is endowed with freedom of choice, but this very choice in the world outlook is very limited: a person can give up his will and live following the will of God, or falls into "autocratic rule" and his will becomes just an instrument for realizing his sinful passions.

Supreme authority

In any case, it turns out that in comparison with the "higher will" human will is negligible and generally erroneous. That is why, in all world religions, explicitly or indirectly, the idea of “primordial guilt” is included, which should be felt by anyone who does not follow the “higher will”.

The merit of religion is that, within its framework, the first psychotechnics appeared, associated with overcoming / reducing the intensity of feelings of guilt (confession, repentance, etc.). Religion is guilty of something else - in the legitimization of numerous "conductors of the highest will," and, first of all, of worldly power. Any ruler was declared “God's anointed one”. And anyone who questioned the decisions and actions of the ruler must have felt guilty.

Guilt before those who “have the right” is at the heart of social conformity. The more totalitarian a society is, the more authoritarian the leader leads it, the more infallible its decisions are considered

All others are obliged to comply with these decisions unquestioningly. "I take full responsibility!" - this phrase often uttered by the "leaders" in front of their followers can be understood as: "Don't think! Give up your own conscious choice! Do only my will!"

A mechanism for delegating responsibility and guilt is literally "sewn" into the formed totalitarian consciousness. Both in a positive sense (“Let them decide at the top, they know better there”), and in a negative sense (like the desire to look for and find the culprit “in everything bad” next to oneself, but not in oneself).

Imposed guilt

In an everyday sense, the rejection of his own free will looks something like this: a passive man in the street who dreams of a “good boss”, “a firm hand in power”, blaming some stereotypical group (“oligarchs”, “officials”) for all his life failures. Life goals and ways to achieve them are determined by conformism ("so that like everyone else / no worse than others").

The paradox of guilt in this case is that it actually does not exist! If I don't have free will of my own, what is my demand? Ask those who have more of this will / responsibility

(Failure occurs only when the powers that be appoint guilty … you! Any totalitarian ruler periodically does this; this is part of a strategy that confirms his rightness and legitimacy. Moreover, the most formal and insignificant reason for accusations can be found.) As a result, it turns out that guilt there is no one behind me, but the anxiety that "suddenly will be found" does not let go …

Regardless of whether a person accepts the idea of free will (and responsibility for his life) or not, he will in any case be faced with a sense of guilt. The reasons for this feeling can be different, as well as the consequences.

It seems to me that the most dangerous guilt is delegated guilt, projected onto others (for too long, humanity has been carried away by the "witch hunt"). The blame taken upon oneself can be constructive if it is overcome through self-actualization. But guilt becomes toxic if it does not stimulate us to be freer and makes slaves of those who "know best what is right."

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