I have loads of notes waiting to be turned into blogposts on the topic of free will, which is why I decided to write a series of posts about the topic. But first I want to note an observation about the comments to my first post in the series last week.
First off: neither the Dutch, nor the English post in the series got as many responses as I’m used to. Second: none of those responses really discussed my own first take on the topic. This is not a complaint, just an observation. Next: I find it very hard to respond TO these comments. Now why is that? Why is it hard to discuss free will?
I think it has something to do with the fact that the main issue here is: how conscious are we? One commenter rightly noted the Gurdjieff (and Freud I may add) did not think we were free beings. It was Gurdjieff’s main goal to help us BECOME free. Apparently he did think that was possible, but only to those who had faced their own lack of free will first. But isn’t that a paradox?
So: how conscious are we? And what is consciousness?
Consciousness is another very sticky subject. Defining consciousness is hard. Sticking to any one definition is even harder. But for the purpose of this discussion the main issue seems to be: are our conscious selves (as opposed to our unconscious drives, conditionings etc) in control of our lives? The answer to that one has been clear in psychology for a century and the answer is NO.
BUT, and this is more recent psychological research, perhaps we CAN influence our own unconscious. That is: by integrating our conscious and unconscious, perhaps we can get more control of our lives.
Which brings me back to why it is so hard to discuss free will: perhaps because this question touches on one area in our lives it is hardest to have full self-knowledge about.
Had you all noticed how hard this issue is to talk about?