As parents, there are few lessons more important than that of teaching our children personal responsibility and the importance of good choices.  Indeed, a closing comment in my 2009 children’s book on prejudice deals precisely with judging other by their choices not their appearance.  Yet, it seems that there is a continued effort in society to objectify everything so that almost any bad decision becomes not a matter of choice but simply the result of some addiction or disease that could not have been controlled or avoided.  Once we shift responsibility for our actions to some uncontrollable, we throw individual responsibility right out the window.

It is only a matter of time (or not see below) until some group postulates that we really have no choice at all in anything we do.  Rather, we are all a product of genetics and environment that given a specific set of stimuli  are predestined to make a certain choice under certain circumstances with mathematical certainty – whether it be to help someone or murder them and steal their last dollar, we never really had a choice.   Yet anyone who has ever faced a crisis of conscious, whether succumbing to temptation or resisting, know this intuitively to be untrue and is aware  of a conscious decision one way or the other.  There are good and bad decisions as surely as there are good and bad people.  So let’s all give some thought before we obligingly pigeonhole any behavior – including our own - into some neat diagnosis or addiction that absolves the actor their from actions and consequences.

Epilogue

I was curious so before "publishing" this blog I had a quick look on the web.  Just Google “illusion of free will.”  This theory is nothing new.  Have a look at:

http://www.physorg.com/news186830615.html

“But Cashmore, Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, says that many biologists today still cling to the idea of free will, and reject the idea that we are simply conscious machines, completely controlled by a combination of our chemistry and external environmental forces.


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