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The Psychology of Human Free Will vs. Irresponsibility

Updated on July 27, 2014

Confront Free Will to Avoid Irresponsibility

The Power of Free Will

All humans are born with free will. Free will is often the defining line between good and bad. We use our free will to make life's most challenging decisions. Yet, free will is often ignored or used as a mechanism to avoid responsibility. We see this in early childhood when a toddler chooses to stick his hand in a cookie jar and can't remove it. His free will urged him to this dilemma he must now extricate himself from. When asked why his hand was stuck, he may blame his older sibling or refuse to admit his misdeed. The degree to which responsibility is connected to free will depends on the degree to which breeding emphasizes responsibility. Free will is enormously powerful, consciously or unconsciously. It can be likened to a knife that slices through a priceless painting or is used for survival in a wilderness.

Why Responsibility Grows Out of Fashion

The tendency in today's society is to avoid responsibility at all costs. Refusal to admit blame, "own up" to a misdeed or lie is a growing societal problem. One ripple effect of these types of irresponsibility stems from the tendency to diminish the degree of crime by a largely for profit legal system. This has altered the dependency on strict responsibility to the point of exhaustive enabling of many forms of unacceptable behaviors that are or border on criminal acts. Generally, this enabling begins in the home when a child "acts out" and the "act" is reduced to "kids will be kids." Thus, the argument becomes a trendy, all too flexible form of discipline that requires "time outs." Time out from what? How does a time out really impress upon any child that degree to which their behavior has become unacceptable? Particularly, when parents themselves replay the same types of behaviors without being "timed out."

Discipline - A Thing of the Past?

Today's version of discipline is based upon psychological behavioral modification manipulated by parenting "trends." No one suggests physical corporal abuse as a form of discipline. Yet, parenting trends are rarely effective. Discipline, it would seem is a thing of the past, replaced by psychological trends that are ineffective. So, what precisely are parental options when firm discipline is needed to avoid childhood recidivism into unacceptable behavior that can lead to more serious problems as young adults?

Study the habits of the most accomplished and creative singers, dancers, scientists, mathematicians and athletes. It's widely understood these are highly self-disciplined individuals. As an example, a gymnast may begin at an early age to develop gymnastic skills. This is accomplished not just by talent alone. Talent is like a rough diamond that requires continuous polishing to create the most perfect gem. This is the premise upon which parenting should base discipline. If parents provide the best examples of self-discipline, children adapt to the idea that it's part of natural growth. To avoid irresponsible behavior in children requires parental consistency, patience and tolerance for minor failure.

Children need to be exposed to failure in order to correctly assess their level of responsibility for their failures. Parents who regiment children to dodge failure only exacerbate the child's failures and create fear of failure. Strong, self-discipline children learn by repetition those values that they need to survive and to succeed. Children are natural "copy cats" when it comes to "being like Mommy or Daddy." This is why parents need to focus more on themselves and their own behaviors to avoid setting the wrong examples of acceptable human behavior, than on their children's behaviors.

While a parent is going into a twenty minute discourse as a means of discipline, the child has already "tuned the parent out." When the parent grows agitated with the child's lack of attention, it's because the parent is remiss to realize children has shorter attention spans than adults. The child thus feels the parent's "discipline" doesn't really "help."

Take note to whom children pay strictest attention. Their Little League coaches, dance teachers, gymnastic coaches and Karate teachers. School teachers, unfortunately, are all too often viewed by students in dimensions similar to their parents. What is this common denominator? Parents and teachers approach discipline more rigidly than other others in charge. A child's discipline perception of their parents and teachers become one and the same. When children feel they are actually being helped or taught something new and appealing, their attention spans easily widen. This should be a very telling clue on how to formulate responsibility in children that will translate into responsible, cerebral adults.

By Its Nature is Free Will Known

A well disciplined, responsible free will is borne of self-awareness of limits and capabilities. The fog of illusion in the most irresponsible in today's society is a heightened sense of misguided self-awareness. These individuals are not what they imagine themselves to be. Generally, these are individuals who believe themselves to possess a higher degree of superiority. The more superior the complex, the less likely they will be self-reliant survivalists.

The old saw, "Only the strong survive" is a clue to why some individuals from the most humble beginnings survive the worst possible disasters life throws in their paths. To these individuals, hardship is their most constant companion. This allows them to responsibly react to disaster in the most common sense levels. The more privileged an individual may be, the less likely they will accept any disaster or react responsibly to their need for survival.

One example of this is the Great Depression. From the moment of the first crash in September 1929, followed by two successive crashes, the most privileged individuals simply couldn't see their options for survival. Believing they could "take it with them," they withdraw all of their money from banks with rapidity, worsening the economic fallout for millions of others. Then, when their money proved worthless, many opted for suicide.

Compare this to the collapse of the Confederacy after the Civil War. Many plantation owners felt the severity of having to "hire" laborers where formerly labor was free. Few of those plantations remain in existence today. Yet, the young men who fought the war and survived saw many opportunities to rebuild their lives using their finely honed sense of responsibility to their families and their states.

Confront Free Will to Avoid Irresponsibility


It's important for every individual to know and understand the power of their own free will. Free will is the basic underlying guide to decision making and responsible living. We can choose to do what's best or what's easiest. We can choose to follow the path of righteousness or evil in all we do. Today's society avoids the subject of how they use their free will. Free will is a taboo issue for some individuals. This is one way to spot their irresponsibility. A genuinely self-disciplined, responsible individual has no fear of confronting their free will often and with deepest integrity. Opting for lies, distortions and deceptions only prolongs the agony of lack of self-respect and resulting irresponsible errors.

At the end of each day, review your and only your actions. What would you have done differently and with more responsibility? How did your free will affect the decisions you made or didn't make? A daily inventory of your level of responsibility and confrontations with issues related to your free will can improve your self-image and your self-confidence.



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    • LailaK profile image

      LailaK 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I really enjoyed reading you hub! I totally agree with what you mentioned about parent trends. My parents always tried forcing me to believe in certain ideas and behave in certain ways, but I ended up being that rebel who still did what I wanted and felt it was part of my free will to do so. Voted up!

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 2 years ago

      Wonderful article! I enjoyed your argument, and on many points I agree.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Thank you. My experience comes from working with children for over 3 decades. Force never works with any human being. It's the start of immediate rebellion. We know this well as the "Terrible Twos" rebellion.

      The best way to discipline children is to reinforce parental guidance through deprivation. Children react far more to being deprived of a favorite toy or other activity. When they understand the power of the word "No!," they learn more quickly why it is such an important part of their free will. Teach a child early that "NO" can be a good word and they learn to respect it. Later, they realize they can say "NO" when their free will demands it for their own safety or survival.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Well written.

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 21 months ago

      excellent hub and a comprehensive discussion on free will, thanks for sharing. Ewent.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 21 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      m abdullah javed...Thank you. I appreciate your comments. EW

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      I enjoyed reading your hub. It is very unfortunate that discipline in children is a consistent relay upon the parent to always have to be involved because they are either too busy or too lazy or not interested. Its sometimes difficult also if there are two parents not following same rules. Staying on the same page. I have 4 kids. One has been very successful in school all her life from early age, and successfully shown horses and disciplined in physical fitness, ect. and I don't think I had any part in that, the other was unfortunately into drugs and other things and her life is a wreck and my third is just starting college and my youngest is 12 and she is autistic so certain rules don't apply to her , but I do see cognitive behavior therapy works with her and positive reinforcing.

      Corporal punishment is something I have never done, but I yell. lol

      but I can see with each one of my kids, it is a decision from the very beginning if they are gonna be predominately good or bad. Hard lessons are learned and sometimes they pay dearly. thank for the hub.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 3 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Thank you. The trick with children is to start teaching them self-discipline at an early age. If a child understands how important it is for them not to touch a hot stove, they discipline themselves not to do it. The world's most famous athletes, musicians and dancers learn self-discipline early. They have a sense of deprivation when they cannot meet their own goals.

      This proves that depriving children of luxuries when they need reinforcement of their behavior works.

      The other thing is that parents need to learn to accept that no two children are exactly alike and to love those differences.

      Children learn lessons from life when they suffer the consequences of their own decisions and choices.

      As children grow into adults, hard as it is, parents must realize they are adults with the ability to choose their own path in life.

      With an autistic child, they seem motivated to understand things in a far more metaphysical way. They see and hear and act on one level and yet they seem to all have second sight that defines their sensitivities and knowledge.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      yes you are right about that. It's so hard to let go when you see they are in trouble. but I'm not gonna be around forever.. My Rosie, the one who is autistic is exceptionally intelligent. She learns real fast and manages a lot on her own. When she was born she was a very slow developer. She didn't even have the muscle strength to sit up until very late. She didn't start walking until she was 18 months old. I thought she would have four teeth forever.. she is 12 , almost 13 and just loosing her baby teeth and they are coming out very fast. It's weird. but she is managing. I am teaching her how to cook little things. She likes to do crafty things. She brings me little crafts that she made in school. She is very loving and I have high hopes for her. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

      Thank you.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 3 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      The question I ask myself is, since I am not going to live forever, have I done my best to raise my children to be responsible, self-reliant and independent?

      I don't ever raise my expectations of myself or others above the level of the limits of their capabilities. To do that imposes a terrible, destructive drive and ambition. Best is best. No more, no less.

      I had an autistic dance student when I taught dance 4 decades ago. I found her incredibly talented and self-disciplined. It is important to have all autistic children's IQs tested. When I suggested this to this little girl's mother, after the IQ tests, she discovered the child was a savant. I felt blessed to have been her teacher. From that day forward, her parents realized their child was special beyond special.

      I just don't understand why more adults don't understand that in our very midst there are such amazing children who are like the seven wonders of the world.

      I confess I learned more from my dance student than she learned from me.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      Things are changing so fast, with Trump appointing so many people that do not represent the people that really need representation such as Jeff Sessions which he appointed Attorney General stated that disabled children are to blame for decline in civility in schools. We need to fight against him. I'm scared for the future of my child.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 3 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      I do not consider Donald J. Trump the president of the U.S. I also hope his choice of DeVos for Secy of Education is denied. I live in NJ. For over 3 decades, Trump has been in the Metro media and what has been aired about him is not befitting of the qualities of decency, honesty and responsibility I believe the President of the United States must possess.

      None of this Trump era governance will come to any good. It can't. From Bannon of Breitbart to Jeff Sessions, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and even his Supreme Court nominee, these are not elected officials. These are men who place Party above the people they represent. Ours is a government based on democracy and representation. WE chose the representatives. They do not choose us.

      It should not surprise anyone that a Neo Nazi like Bannon who is Trump's chief advisor would want Jeff Sessions, a known bigot, to become the AG. The idea is for the Republican Party to BE the government. As such, that totally removes all representation, not to mention our Constitutional Rights as individuals to choose our elected officials. I am fighting any and all of those who seek to destroy individual rights the Constitution assures. I'm a senior. My fight isn't for me. It is for your child and all other children who have a right to live in a country that isn't going to use them as soldiers in endless wars until children forget the concept of peace and tranquility and an enriching environment that won't kill them with carcinogens from oil, fracking and coal pollution. The ideals of all parents is to hope for a better future for their children. Parents cannot do that unless they are willing to fight and peaceably protest what is happening to our country. I lived a 7 decades and I never ever remember a time when a President has ever acted as if he was the boss not just to Americans but to our allies and enemies.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      How can I help? I live in Brooklyn, I'm originally from New Jersey. I have a clothing store in Englishtown. My email is tmatsil8@gmail.com. email me there I will give you my phone number. This whole thing is scaring me literally. I am up all night long checking posts on Donald Trump.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      your in old bridge new jersey, I'm in Englishtown auction right down the road from you every Saturday and sunday all year through. We have a little store on the inside of grey building.

    • Ewent profile image
      Author

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 3 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      I've lived in Old Bridge since 1966. A long, long time. Yet, I've rarely been to the Englishtown auction or for that matter the Jersey Shore. You are an American. Americans always use our Yankee ingenuity to clean up messes. You are likely a much younger woman than I. So, it is extremely important that you use what skills and talents you have to ensure that your voice is heard. Believe me when I say that children learn far more from examples they see in adults than what adults tell them. Perhaps, it is as my Mom used to say, "In one ear and out the other," when it comes to children's attention spans.

      You must try to avoid fear at all costs. We are now in a Constitutional crisis. But, we've survived 2 presidential assassinations and 2 others, wars and the constant threat of terrorists. Yet, life goes on. My first employer had a saying, "Forward, onward and upward."

      If you live in Brooklyn, you have a greater advantage to create a discussion group among your local female associates and friends. It's as simple as sending them an email or written letter and then setting up a time and place (such as a conference room in a library or other public place) and meeting to discuss what you consider the most important things your group needs to do. Protests are everywhere in the U.S. today for a reason. Americans cannot be forced to accept what we know is wrong. If you are a businesswoman? So much the better. Think like a professional business woman and you find others will respect your skills and talents. Join a professional business women's group. Here in NJ we have NJ Assoc. of Women Business Owners. There is probably a NY chapter.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 3 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      I'm not very good at business and I am 50 not that younger, I do get involved with signing petitions and right now I'm very worried about the immigration thing. My husband and I have been in a court battling immigration for over a year and now the ball game changed abruptly. It's hard to focus on anything else. But I'll keep my ears open. At any rate feel free to visit me in my store. I'm located in the grey building . store 17-20

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