Free will – By Marcelo Pakman

This post is also available in: Spanish


Y por esa vía, ¿Dónde queda el libre albedrío?

Following that path, where does free will stand?

Free will is something which has been progressively -and justly- put aside in the field of psychotherapy. It is easy to see, by the way we “psy” people speak, that we have been turning into educators or people who speak of mental phenomena as some kind of emanation from the brain, of which we “psy” people don’t necessarily know much. But the need to legitimize our field is so strong that we constantly mention the biological substrate. There’s also the permanent need to find some way of interpreting things. And this has lead us -Susan Sontag makes a clear case in her book Against interpretation– to a climate of social interpretation, where the surface of things is less important than what they mean. We will find, of course, that what “psy” people tend to find is always much more uniform than the surface of things. The surface, with its variability, its singularity, progressively disappears and the uniformity of interpretation becomes prominent. A pretty boring world, where we know what the story will mean before even listening to it.

You remind me of the Catalan philosopher Xavier Rubert de Ventós, who complained that people interpreted what happened, instead of telling him.

We have all been socialized into doing this. And psychology and psychotherapy have added arguments to do so. That’s why, in some way, Palabras que permanecen is a return to the surface of things in psychotherapy.

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