Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free Will, people and animals


"One of the ways in which humans are distinct from animals is that we are free, whereas animals are not… True, under certain circumstances an animal may avoid gratifying a biologic drive. For example, a hungry jackal looking for food may come across a delectable carcass, but if this happens to be in the possession of a ferocious tiger, it will not approach the carcass. However, this is not because the jackal consciously suppresses its appetite, but because the fear of being killed by the tiger overrides the hunger. This is not at all an instance of free choice, but merely a greater biologic drive, that of survival, overcoming a lesser drive, that of hunger.

"Some psychologists would have us believe that human behavior is on the same plane and that our freedom of will is but an illusion… It is quite evident, however, that in practice we do not subscribe to this theory. Our entire concept of human responsibility, with our elaborate system of positive and negative sanctions, is based on the assumption that humans are not at the mercy of impulses and that we indeed have the freedom to choose and determine much of our behavior."

(The Spiritual Self, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski pg. 4-5, 6-7)

Have a great day,

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