I have been in psychotherapy for a very long time and have acquired a philosophical interest in some of the ideas behind the various psychological schools of thought. Inherent in them all is the concept of “liberating” the patient or client. I am sure no professional would ever put it this way, but psychologists are like the Allies storming ashore in Normandy to liberate Europe from the tyrant’s grip and restore democracy.
Psychotherapy seeks to liberate the sufferer from emotional pain thus restoring greater freedom of action. (Photo: Wikipedia)
No matter how one conceptualizes it, liberation implies some kind of oppressive situation from which the sufferer would like to be freed. Right away, we have a two-part scenario: the source of the oppression and the subject who suffers yet is not able (either from ignorance or incapacity) to do anything about the painful situation.
Not knowing what you want can cause debilitating depression. There is a remedy, and you are already carrying it around with you. (Photo: Public Domain Pictures)
Have you become discouraged in life? Has it occurred to you to question what you are doing, or where you are going? Does the nagging feeling that “there must be more to life than this” eat away at you? Worse, have you entered the midlife crisis or had a full-blown psychological breakdown? All these things are distressing to one degree or another, and all, even the less pressing, require a remedy. They all stem from a loss of personal vision. That loss has come about because of an inner conflict, a conflict that probably remains below the threshold of conscious awareness.
In this post, I want to take a brief look at one of the oldest philosophical questions: Do we humans enjoy free will or are we subject to what the ancients referred to as Fate? The West has long believed that free will prevails. Although confusion is growing – as this post will reveal – by and large both Western philosophical thought and the Christian religion have upheld the notion of humankind’s inherent right to self-determination. The philosophers do not believe in any limiting supernatural forces and, in the case of the religious, God can only judge.
In the ongoing explosion of irrationality, some modern thinkers are trying to deny the power of human wilfulness and restore the old notion of Fate. The ancient Greeks personified the belief as three goddesses called The Three Fates. (Image: public domain.)