Back to Back Issues Page
Is there Free Will?
December 30, 2013

Nothing heavy you understand as you recover from your festive exertions and indulgences. Just my take on this easy question that we all ask ourselves most days of the week.

I am prompted to ask it simply because we are now forever bombarded with research which is designed to elucidate certain truths about the human condition. You know what I mean “researchers in xyz university have discovered that human…..”

And what after all is the basis of Human Givens? It is that we have essential emotional needs. Essential you understand and not optional extras. So none of us can take a decision to dispense with for example, human company and expect to survive that very long. Well of course we could in theory make that decision but we would be going against some pretty powerful internal templates and motivations not to – like survival and loads of mirror neurons buzzing away.

And I still remember the blinding insight I had as a young boy, that one could in theory know everything and then if you had a big enough computer, that you could build a model that would explain everything. Ergo – there was no free will.

Finally consider our emotional inheritance? If you go here, you will be able to download my best shot at what this might be. I have put this together for my wellbeing workshops to summarise as best I can the powerful and largely unconscious drivers of our actions and reactions. But be warned - this is hardly a testament to the human capacity of free will.

Maybe all we can say for certain is that we have to believe that we have Free Will, otherwise what is the point? Maybe we are programmed to believe in it and are given just enough of a margin to make it credible. And what is my job as a therapist for the clients who find their way to my door? It is simply to expand that margin just a little bit.

best wishes

Andrew Richardson
94 Malford Grove, London E18 2DQ

Direct Line: 0208 257 0429 Mobile: 07870 104651 Skype: famrichhg

I have been pondering the nature of human needs recently and don’t believe the Human Givens formulation is as good as it could be. If you are interested in my Needs Pagoda, then click here

For those of you who have followed my 12 signs of emotional health, there is a new page on my website that summarises each of the twelve comments - click here. You can also download the pdf file from that page in the right hand column.

Feelbetter Counselling East London website

My Depression Help Blog

Back to Back Issues Page