I’m rather surprised. He just said it in the simplest possible way.
– I never had the possibility to choose freely!
– Yes and no.
He smiles. I get angry:
– I can see nothing but determinism. Things that weren’t chosen by me lead me here and now. Then, even if I was offered the illusion of choice, even if I was offered the luxury of doubt between several options, someone from the outside could easily predict my next move. So how can you say I had the possibility of free choice?
– Who taught you about free will?
– My psychotherapy supervisor.
– So you were given the power of free will quite early in your life… Others had to wait tens of years before knowing that they have the option of choosing a different path.
– Yes, but the fact that I’ve chosen to get into the psychotherapy group was beyond my control. I had to go there, driven by my thirst to cure my life. It was an unconscious, but predestined decision. Now I can see it but at that time I couldn’t know what I was doing…
We stop. After a while, he continues:
– You weren’t granted free will on choosing your career. This is true. You weren’t granted free will on learning about free will. You had to learn about it. But from that particular moment, you found out that there is a possibility to say “yes” and another to say “no”.
– So I never had the choice of not knowing about free will.
My thoughts wander for some moments:
– Do you say I don’t own my life?
– You own a very small part of it, indeed…
– Which one?
– You can choose to pretend that your life is yours or you can accept you have no control. In other words, you can use your free will on your attitude.
– These are the limits of my free will.
– For now, yes.
Silence falls on us.
Below is an image I took some years ago in the Trianon Gardens of Versailles. A labyrinth. You can’t use your free will on choosing the right or the left path. Your choice is already known by the time you arrived there. In other words, you can’t choose the experience. But you can use your free will on accepting that you can’t control the choice you’ll make. In other words, you can choose your attitude. Frankl’s last freedom.