What if Personal Responsibility is a Myth?
Posted on March 8, 2019
Like many of you who commented last week, I’m also not ready or willing to give up that human beings possess free will. I will attempt in the next couple weeks to present what I see the research is saying on the subject. This week, I want to propose a thought experiment for you.
What if the behavior of those we serve is 100% predictable based solely on past experiences and the variables in the environment?
How would this change your programming?
In other words, if you had perfect knowledge of how their past impacts their brain functioning, you could predict exactly how they would react in certain situations. Behavior and actions are entirely deterministic leaving no room for volitional choice or free will. Behavior is predictable like punching numbers into a calculator or writing code on the computer.
I ask this question because, while I still see a window for free will and personal responsibility, the research shows me that this window is much narrower than many believe. Most of our schools, programs, and systems evolved out of the assumption that people are continually making well thought out logical choices. What if the exact opposite was true?
We will search for the middle ground next week but feel this thought experiment helps us explore an extreme that is closer to reality than many of the past assumptions we used to create and operate helping interventions.