Sunday, April 15, 2012

Afraid to Believe in Free Will: The Human Tendency to Avoid Responsibility for Free Choices

By Carl E. Begley.

Psychologist Carl E. Begley's goal is to confront people when they or their counselor want to let themselves off of the moral hook. For the last hundred years psychology has been dominated by determinists who deny free will. They therefore deny human responsibility.

This has led to the common sociological explanations for immoral, destructive, and even criminal behavior. People get a note from their psychologist or doctor explaining a condition such as bipolar disorder, and they are subsequently not responsible for their actions. It is the bipolar that is responsible.

Likewise, Begley criticizes the entitlement mentality whereby someone on disability leave uses that supposed condition as an excuse for continuing to receive government benefits. The money given as a kind of reward for the condition actually reinforces the condition - it pays to have a bad back or suffer from an anxiety disorder, so why would someone get better. Getting better would mean having to get a job and take responsibility for their behavior.

Begley notes that people actually become proud of their labels. Whenever someone suggests that they get a job or that the condition is not permanent, that it's not a definition of their very being, they defend the prognosis and justify their dependency.

Mainstream psychology, Begley explains clearly and convincingly, has played a large role in our culture's moral slackening.

1 comment:

  1. Why do people still feel morals are free from the inflence of the mind and body? Bash in someones head and they can develope anxiety -and yes even 'immoral' behaviors -but then who in the sane mind would question the'good book'. Also consider that two people make a 'risky' choice and the outcomes can be comepletely different, for the effects can be unpredictable and the damage different for each one -we judge by outcome even though the same act was done by both. There is no humilty in those who worship at the alter of 'free will' it doesn't exist.