Phenomenal Awareness

Consider what it would take to actually have free will.” Sam Harris

It seems quite evident that virtual environments can be favorable terrains for many people. And in so many ways. Particularly now as though “we can’t change the fact of COVID-19,” something we can change is “how we adapt and move forward into the next phases of our lives.”

For instance, many educators are working to create virtual spaces for their students to have a “kind of organic interaction.”

Others enable virtual communities where a person’s presence gives him/her an illusion of nonmediation:

“An “illusion of nonmediation” occurs when a person fails to perceive or acknowledge the existence of a medium in his/her communication environment and responds as he/she would if the medium were not there.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 10(1):45-56

That is, “a level of experience where the technology and the external physical environment disappear from the user’s phenomenal awareness.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 10(1):45-56

Imagine that.

This happens especially since virtual spaces allow the creation of new socializing possibilities, highlighting “the importance of the sense of presence as mediating variable between the media experience and the emotions induced by it.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 10(1):45-56

For example, the emotions triggered by the act of being “in control” of not allowing in a virtual community, environment, space… a negative perception that could have practical consequences in a person’s “real life”. Where that person’s situation may be defined by others. Where they may feel no more than passive and powerless actors in the narrative configuration of what happens to them.

But in a virtual space “the virtualists” – as they could choose to name themselves – can dominate their identity.

Free will enabled.

Even someone’s presence in a virtual environment as a passive and invisible agent at the beginning could give way to a progressive incorporation adapted to the needs (and wants) of said someone. In that way, such virtual reality is “not influenced only by the environment’s graphic realism, display dimension, and other technological features, but to a great degree by the characteristics of the experience, including the emotional ones, provided by the technology.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 10(1):45-56

Moreover, in the case that a person does not want to participate in the communicative dynamics of a virtual space, they can feed on a very significant amount of information, which in the “real world” may not necessarily do.

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Recovery Through Awareness, Acceptance, and Action

Awareness, acceptance, and action, sometimes referred to as “the three ‘A’s,” is both a process and a sequence that facilitates recovery from any number of addictions and those who were exposed to them, along with their inevitable dysfunction, during childhood.

Awareness, the first of them, is “like a light in the darkness (and) is the enemy of denial,” according to Keith Berger of Transformations Treatment Centers in “The Three A’s of Change: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action.” “With the light finally shed on the problem, these vampires of the soul begin to lose their power and fight even harder to keep what control they may have.”

Denial certainly constitutes a dilemma to adult children, who powerlessly endured unstable upbringings.

“If we admit that harmful behavior occurred, we can still be in denial if we fail to acknowledge the effects of harm in our lives,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. 92). “Additionally, we are practicing denial if we attempt to explain away the behavior or to offer excuses for our family. By breaking through our denial, we seek a full remembrance. We find our loss and tell our story. With help and acceptance, we recognize the false identity we had to develop to survive family dysfunction.”

Awareness can be of many factors, including feelings, impulses, actions, misdeeds, misbeliefs, character shortcomings, emotions, reactions, and triggers, all of which seek to surface and enter the person’s cognizance.

Although it is the necessary first aspect in the recovery sequence, it may require several attempts before it can be transferred from the subconscious to the conscious.

“Coping with a new awareness can be extremely awkward and most of us are eager to spare ourselves pain or discomfort,” according to Al-Anon’s “Courage to Change” (Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters, Inc., 1992, p.256). “Yet, until we accept the reality with which we have been faced, we probably won’t be capable of taking effective action with confidence.”

Awareness can be improved with a therapeutic technique known as “mindfulness.” A mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment and calmly acknowledging and accepting a person’s feelings, thoughts, and physiological sensations, it increases awareness through the senses.

Dr. Jon G. Allen described this as “present-centered attentiveness to mental states in self and others” in his “Attachment and Mentalizing in Plain Old Therapy: Treating Trauma and its Existential-Spiritual Impact” Course taught at Adelphi University in November of 2013. “Maintain a quality of openness and alertness so that whatever presents itself becomes the object of awareness, and let all objects of body and mind arise,” he instructed.

This process has been expressed by a simpler rhyme-namely, “spot it and you’ve got it.”

Once you have, it requires the next aspect of the process-acceptance-but this does not necessarily entail the seamless, effortless step it would appear to be.

“We may hesitate to accept an unpleasant reality because we feel that by accepting it, we condone something that is intolerable,” “Courage to Change” continues (op. cit., p. 256). “But this is not the case… Acceptance does not mean submission to a degrading situation. It means accepting the fact of a situation, then deciding what we will do about it.”

“Accept” does not imply “be okay with” or “like.” Instead, it means “make real,” “acknowledge,” “own,” and “claim as reality.” Rejecting and repelling will only produce the opposite of these effects.

“The problem is that until I accept the situation, effects, or memory that have come to my awareness, I can rarely take effective action or live serenely with the consequences… ,” “Courage to Change” advises (ibid, p. 256). “Most of the time, I still have to go back, sit still, feel the feelings, and come to some acceptance.”

“A leap from awareness to action leaves out a critical part of the recovery process,” according to Berger (op. cit.). “Acceptance is the stage in which an honest examination can be made of the ‘discomfort zone.’”

Like awareness, however, acceptance can be a progressive process, since some realities can be difficult to swallow and defects and flaws are sometimes impossible for an adult child to own until he reaches a level of greater strength and self-esteem. When he claims any of these aspects as his, he can change them as his, the third and last step in the process.

This can equally take many forms: attending twelve-step meetings, working with a therapist, consulting a sponsor, tracing unwanted feelings and actions to their origins, and, above all, understanding the inevitability of some of these manifestations as a result of a dysfunctional childhood.

“Actions” such as these necessitate time, patience, and perseverance, and progress is rarely linear, without setbacks and returns to old, familiar ways. Behavior, especially if adopted to survive adverse circumstances, becomes automatic, since the brain, wired to endure and tolerate them, formed neuropathways early in life that need to be rerouted. But with effort, they provide opportunities to “re-see” and redirect childhood-bred pathologies.

“If we wish to change our lives, we must learn a new way of life,” concludes the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (op. cit. p. 568). “The twelve steps are the tools that teach us how to live with a greater awareness. Through a process of awareness, acceptance, and action, we will begin to recover from the effects of family dysfunction.”

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Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope in Recovery

Although twelve-step recovery is a process that encompasses consistent meeting attendance, service, sponsorship, and a strive toward spirituality, its cornerstone is the sharing of experience, strength, and hope. It is a multi-directional dynamic that enables the person to tell his story, sheds light on that of others, and permits God or a Higher Power to lift and dissolve the obstacles that resulted from a dysfunctional and potentially abusive alcoholic or para-alcoholic upbringing.

Like a common thread, the unknowingly adopted survival traits, such as people-pleasing, fear of intimacy, and isolation, that the rewired brain created to endure as an adult what it believes would be similar circumstances experienced as a child, stitches twelve-step meeting members together. Their weaknesses paradoxically become the very strengths that bond them together, as evidenced by their shared experiences, strengths, and hopes. While dysfunctional causes can vary, their effects are the same, sparking mutual identification, regardless of age, education, and walk of life.

“Adult children of all types identify with one another at the level of abandonment, shame, and abuse like no other group of people… ,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. xiv). “Each day recovery from the effects of family dysfunction begins somewhere in the world when one adult child sits across from another, sharing experience, strength, and hope.”

Experience is cathartic. It provides clarity, understanding, and insight, and shares the pain and burden of all partaking of it, in effect relieving them. It emanates from one, yet ultimately reaches others, as expressed by the first line of the Al-Anon and Alateen creed, which states, “Let it begin with me.” “Healing,” according to one saying, “is in the hearing.” And with that hearing comes acceptance without judgment.

“(People in meetings) offered me an encouraging hug rather than telling me to shape up,” a member expressed in Al-Anon’s “Hope for Today” text (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 2002, p. 31). “Instead of rejecting me for being different, they showed me how alike we are by sharing their experience, strength, and hope. Through these types of healthy human encounters, I began to feel a bond with other members.”

Relating experience is like slowly removing the airtight cap on a bottle that, at times, became intolerable to contain and seemed imminent to burst, but in a safe, stable, accepting venue. It breaks the silence, the denial, and the family secrets that ensured the unchallenged perpetuation of the disease of dysfunction and alcoholism.

“Something marvelous happens when one adult child talks to another adult child, sharing experience, strength, and hope,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook advises (op. cit., p. 117). “Both are helped, and the message of recovery experiences a heartbeat.”

Despite the fact that adult children often view themselves as weak and hence have little self-confidence and esteem, they were actually forced to dig deep within themselves and find an enormous amount of strength to survive such an upbringing and later adjust and adopt to function in a world they thought approximated the one from which they came-namely, their homes-of-origin. Yet facing their feelings and fears in recovery rooms, all while battling the past that warped and distorted their present, they become part of a collective, kindred-spirit effort that produces strength.

“By allowing others time to tell their stories, we forge a mutual, unified support stronger than anyone of us can provide alone,” “Hope for Today” continues (op. cit., p. 66). “We learn to let the corrective support of the group sustain us.”

With help comes hope. Isolated, in silent denial, and sinking into quicksand, an unrecovered adult child often loses hope for any type of improvement over a disease he is unable to identify. But meetings, members, program work, and a gradual connection with a Higher Power, even if He is inceptionally only viewed as a concept at the start of recovery, provide light at the end of a long, dark, upbringing-bred tunnel-a way of regaining understanding, clarity, stability. sanity, and wholeness. There may just be hope for him after all, he may conclude.

“Hearing the message of recovery and hope from someone else fans the dim spark of aliveness we keep buried inside,” concludes the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (op. cit., p. 359). “We become aware that there is a sane model for living which can replace the model of insanity we learned in childhood.”

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The Adult Child Tolerance of Unacceptable Behavior

Treatment that most people would consider “unacceptable,” adult children, who grew up with alcoholism, para-alcoholism, and dysfunction, not only tolerate, but expect.

“Adult children are dependent personalities, who view abuse and inappropriate behavior as normal,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. 18). “Or, if they complain about the abuse, they feel powerless to do anything about it.”

Both captive and powerless, such children are forced to field adversity and, in its extreme, abuse, that can take verbal, nonverbal, emotional, physical, psychological, religious, sexual, and manipulative forms from parents or primary caregivers they look to and in whom they place their trust. That they would treat them in inappropriate ways that they do not deserve is an unconsidered concept to them. The treatment, they reason, is justified either because of their infractions or simply because they are unworthy, inadequate, or not loveable.

Instead of being built up with confidence, self-belief, and self-esteem, they are undermined and progressively whittled down in what can be both overtly and subtly demoralizing ways.

“We believe that hitting, threats, projection, belittlement, and indifference are the delivery mechanisms that deeply insert the disease of family dysfunction within us,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook continues (Ibid, p. 27).

Although verbal abuse leaves no physical scars, it can be just as damaging as its physical counterpart, because it leaves a scar on the psyche and the soul. Unable, at times, to achieve his parent’s approval, acceptance, and validation, an adult child is unable to gain a significant or consistent sense of self-worth, deluding him into believing that he is lesser-than and not equal or up-to-par with his peer group.

It equally generates toxic shame-that is, he feels shame for what he misbelieves he is at his core–a flawed being.

While adversity and unacceptable behavior can be temporary with others later in life, children have no recourse and no ability, in their still-developing state, to walk away from what becomes the cumulative effects of some two decades of exposure. The “scars” only become detectable through behavioral manifestations, such as isolation, fear of authority figures, unhealthy or meaningless relationships, fears, insecurities, phobias, codependence, hypervigilance, dissociation, compulsions, and addictions.

Mildly unpleasant at one end of the spectrum to function-interruptingly intolerable on the other, these manifestations are what Freud labeled “repetition compulsions,” or the brain’s need to repeat and even re-enact what it could not fully process the first time and will continue to cycle through it until it clears it. Because of its severity, the person will most likely not be able to do so on his own, without some degree of therapy or twelve-step intervention.

They certainly erode a person’s quality of life, if not altogether limit his partaking of parts of it, as he keeps one foot in the present and the other in the past he has not resolved, resulting in the dichotomous “adult” and “child” nature of the adult child syndrome.

“We are adults suffering from the effects of alcoholism and dysfunctional families,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook advises (ibid, p. 71). “The childhood abuse and our adult lives created unbearable living conditions in body, mind, and spirit for us as adults. Adult children have been described as the ‘walking wounded,’ strutting about in a state of emotional and spiritual bankruptcy while claiming to be ‘fine.’”

Primed and prepared, thick-skinned, and possessing high degrees of tolerance for unacceptable behavior, they cross the threshold into adulthood, taking the experiences of their homes-of-origin into the outside world and fully expecting repeats of them from others.

Logic would dictate that they would repel similar circumstances as adults with significant others or spouses, but the opposite, both ironically and paradoxically, proves true, as they attract those who display similar personality traits because they are familiar with them. Like a garment that is uncomfortable and does not “fit,” this relationship matches the parental ones they experienced and, over time, its discomfort morphs and stretches into something that becomes adjustably tolerable, thus setting them up for a “second round” of enduring detrimental behavior.

“We keep choosing insecure relationships because they match our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook points out (ibid, p. 589).

Regressed, they may once again assume the submissive role, subconsciously substituting their partners for their parents and trying “to get it right this time” by pleasing and placating them. Countless adult children have realized, after significant recovery, that they ended up marring substitute mothers and fathers, thus repeating the childhood cycle in adulthood. The late John Bradshaw often expressed this dynamic by stating, “When you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”

Behavioral modeling, chronic exposure to such treatment, and the belief that they deserved it during their childhoods were many of the factors that led to the tolerance.

“I strongly believe these difficulties have a lot to do with my growing up with alcoholism,” according to one member in recovery, who wrote in Al-Amon’s “Hope for Today” (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 2002, p. 69). “Because I seldom experienced acceptable behavior, I thought unacceptable behavior was normal.”

Although these factors explain how this tolerant foundation was laid, they fail to identify why some refuse to discontinue what may be an abusive or even dangerous relationship. That element is fear of abandonment, of being left alone.

“We stay in abusive relationships because they resemble how we were raised,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook continues (op. cit., p. 197). “We are terrified of abandonment, so we tolerate high levels of abuse or neglect as an adult. The abuse seems normal.”

It takes a significant amount of understanding and restorative work to even begin to dismantle the flawed foundation upon which an adult child rests his life. But an effective method of minimizing such treatment once this has begun is to establish boundaries-invisible walls, built brick by brick, of the accepted and unaccepted behaviors a person will tolerate.

“When I think of boundaries, it helps if I think of a castle in a lake,” according to another recovering member, who wrote in “Hope for Today” (op. cit., p. 286). “Boundaries are the drawbridge connecting the castle with the world. Usually the drawbridge is down and people can walk freely back and forth. However, when danger is sensed, the drawbridge rises to protect the castle.”

“One of the first things I heard in Al-Anon was that we didn’t have to accept unacceptable behavior” according to its “Courage to Change” text (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1992, p. 51). “This idea helped me see that I need not tolerate violence or abuse, and that I had choices I hadn’t even recognized before. I set some limits, not to control others, but to offer myself guidelines… ”

Reducing or minimizing unacceptable interactions requires several steps. The first, of course, is understanding the origin of the tolerance. The second is determining the degree, if any, of the other person’s rationality, stability, woundedness, and addicted state at the time, due either to alcohol or substance misuse. The third is understanding that the negative treatment may have little to do with the other’s worthiness or deserving of it and everything to do with the deficiency of the one who gives it. The fourth is understanding that the one who accepts this treatment may him- or herself trigger and escalate it through rebuttal and anger, sparking volatility. Finally, the only solution may be detachment and disengagement to avoid what is most likely a repeat of countless previous episodes, none of which bore any remedial fruit.

Walk it out in a park or work it out with a trusted friend or sponsor, and ultimately conclude-all frustration to the contrary-that the other person cannot see or understand the consequences and effects he causes.

“Looking back, I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behavior was directed at me,” according to a member in “Courage to Change” (op. cit., p. 36), “but I was the one who sat and took it and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways, I was a volunteer.”

The right to other-respect begins with self-respect. A person teaches others how to treat him through boundaries, and either acceptance or rejection of their actions, behaviors, and interactions. And the more a person understands his childhood origins and regains his sense of self-esteem, the less likely will be his tolerance of the negative ones.

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Free Will and Determinism

The responsibility for one’s actions is a critical guideline for the establishment of institutions of discipline as well as a yardstick for determining what a fair remedy is after an event. The directive gives direction for the course of action to either reward, praise, or punishes an act or omission. Humankind has over time strived to get insight into common behavior and individual activity for purposes of character training and the study of behavior. Insight into human behavior is priceless.
The understanding regarding patterns in the human personality helps determine moral responsibility, giving support systems a chance to understand and define causation. Causation is a significant component in following one’s role in the lead-up to an act or omission, whether good or bad. On the establishment of causation, there is the implementation of an array of proactive measures as the root of individual behavior is verified. Liability is also easily deciphered after the discovery of the cause of an event. This capability is priceless as most institutions put up for behavioral control, and the general management of human conduct are reliant on civil or criminal liability when defining what fair punishment is, or whether there is a necessity for any (Lebell).
Accountability is a bid element in human relations. All interaction at a personal and professional level gives rise to the principle of accountability, with entities in the general societal frameworks using roles and duties to establish liability and define responsibility based on delegated obligations. Accountability understands which party is responsible for a particular act or omission. This understanding is what drives many human actions, with individuals fulfilling undertakings as part of predefined duties. Any individual occurrence raises the question of accountability, with one being held answerable for the outcome of the said act. It is in trying to understand this moral responsibility that philosophy fronts concepts shed light on the issue (Blackburn Simon).
The two main theories that aim to define moral responsibility for one’s actions are;
1. The doctrine of Free Will
2. The Theory of Determinism
The principle of free will
Since the beginning of time, the idea of establishing whether we all have free has been central to understanding an individual’s personality. On the other hand, a differing argument seeks to prove that external factors beyond our control determine acts or omissions. The free will theory suggests that we, as individuals, choose to do or not to do certain things. In this critical equation, the power to decide on personal conduct is the crucial element. This concept proposes that a deliberate decision is made by oneself, and a collection of the acts based on personal choice define the character. The moral responsibility therefore for the consequences of an act or omission and all manner of blame or praise rests squarely on the individual in person.
According to the theory of free will, ‘ought’ will usually imply ‘can.’ The foundation of this logic is that one should have the ability to comply and obey set rules and regulations, with the reward being praise for good character or blame for liability arising from violation of set moral guidelines. Punitive measures are prescribed depending on the severity of an evil act or omission, all that remains is answering the question if he is responsible or not. This concept matches duty and expectation with accountability to the person, being morally liable for compliance or violation (Farrer Austin).
With the understanding that you ought to obey school rules, any violation of the set code of conduct will have similar consequences. The body dealing with disciplinary issues expects you to stick to what is deemed necessary and reasonable regulations without difficulty. You bear the moral responsibility to uphold the school code. This is a pretty straightforward application. On admission, a student assumes the duty to remain compliant and observe the institution’s governing rules and policies. Your role becomes to study and engage in school activities, staying within the realm of acceptable behavior at all times.
On punishment, the blame lies squarely on the individual. External factors are not a significant reason to mitigate the severity of the punitive prescriptions for ill conduct. This approach treats all individuals as equals on a level platform, where the institutional platform is fair to all. To many, this is the most significant level of justice. This concept envisions a world where everyone can choose what to do or not do with the proper understanding of all that is expected of them. In the interest of justice, this is the standard approach to fairness and the just rule of law.
The free will theory overlooks some things. First, it pays no consideration to mitigating factors. Failure to sufficiently recognize these additional circumstances can lead to the unjust application of the law. Take the issue of self-defense for instance. If one deems an attack as imminent, uses reasonable force to ensure his safety and unintentionally causing death, the judgment would be for murder. This ruling would overlook a critical factor that the liable party did not intend to kill, and that brings about an absence of men’s rea which determines that it is not murder but manslaughter. Mitigating factors play a significant role in determining fair punishment and allocation of blame.
The second major criticism of this theory is that it fails to recognize the possibility of existence acts that are beyond individual control. In the school example, for instance, one of the primary rules is that an educational facility is a drug-free zone. There are punishments outlined for violation of this provision. Let’s picture a situation where a model student is caught intoxicated. Free will dictates that it was by choice, and punishment is the straightforward remedy. This perspective is however one-sided and lacks objectivity. There are a lot of possible reasons for causation, and addressing all defines a more logical and reasonable approach.
The free will concept seeks to hold all individuals morally responsible for their actions. There is no accommodation or ‘excuses’ for improper conduct. Free will focuses on keeping everyone accountable for their actions, with a uniform application of law and policy. In a general perspective, it’s a one-size-fits-all approach. However, it lacks objectivity. A lot of factors contribute to the personal conduct, with elements such as the possibility of self-defense recognized by law in a bid to avail true justice and soothe the harshness of the provisions of law.
The biggest selling for this concept is in two parts, with the first being equality for all parties. The second and critical component is that it cultivates individual responsibility. The assumption of a moral duty to conduct oneself in a certain way is a big incentive to nurture self-discipline. Individuals will, therefore, go the extra mile to avoid scenarios where they will be held liable for ill conduct and work even harder to ensure personal behavior meets the required minimum standards as expected by society and law.
This concept proposes that human conduct, in all situations, is as a result of the causal influence of prior occurrences. This chain of circumstances is unbroken, with a visible link to the end event. Determinism does not deny the existence of personal choice but seeks to suggest that past and present occurrences have a significant influence on the power and individual has over his or her future. This view is known as fatalism. There is a discernible buildup to a result from a series of the connecting factor (Honderich).
The concept of determinism has two main arguments;
Incompatibilism – suggesting that by conventional logic, determinism and free will are two separate and incompatible perspectives. In this interpretation, the two theories are mutually exclusive, with no connection or common ground. This perspective realizes the concept of determinism as the only reality, making free will non-existent and therefore an illusion – commonly referred to as hard determinism. The proposition is that the two cannot exist together, and therefore, if free will is indeed valid, then determinism is not. This consistent theoretical separation is pessimistic incompatibilism (Peterborough and Ontario).
Incompatibilism suggests that we cannot have both determinism and free will existing together, and that proof of the reality of one conclusively negates the possibility of the existence of the second. There is only space for the acceptance of one concept.
Compatibilism – this interpretation adds weight the belief that both free will and determinism are compatible. The existence of both is not only possible but that the two concepts don’t work to negate the effectiveness or reality of each other. The belief in both is permitted, and in so doing, one will not be logically inconsistent. Free will, for instance, is not the ability to make a personal choice independent of any prior cause. In this scenario, it is the agent who faces no coercion when making a particular decision. It is an accommodative and objective approach, finding compatibility and common ground for the existence and application of logic in both theories. This merging of perspectives shared by the two arguments is soft determinism (Kapitan Tomis).
The most straightforward case to elaborate this concept is the environment one is raised in for instance, and the effect that may have on an individual’s conduct during a later stage of life. Let’s use an example. Many incarcerated youths in correctional facilities come from tough neighborhoods. Living in such areas is never easy. The presence of drugs, guns, and all manner of risky behavior leaves the parties from such places more susceptible to violations of law. Many factors should come into play when handling a person from such a home. The environment has been proven to have a profound impact on personal conduct and perception towards authority and the rule of law. Varying setups will determine how interpersonal and intrapersonal relations are perceived and managed.
Many times, it is a question of true justice competing with mitigating factors to find fair redress to such situations. It is common knowledge that one should not break the law. What if there is coercion or a tangible threat that causes imminent danger? What if the circumstances leading to an offense would be more of a cry for help than the manifestation of an errant personality?
Consider the case of a lady caught shoplifting. The offense will in many situations attract punishment. But what if the security office at the store takes a few moments with the lady and discovers that she had no money to feed her little kid and she’s had nowhere to go for help? She’s still liable for the offense, but determinism seeks out the cause and offers a platform for remedy. The shoplifter can be let off with a warning and given a job at the store as a cleaner. That’s more reasonable for many.
It is easy to fail in assigning individual or personal responsibility for the commission or omission of an act when adopting the pessimistic incompatibilism, with the assumption that determinism is the only real concept, with free will remaining an illusion. The denial of the outright existence of free will is unrealistic at best. This view remains skewed as the power to choose is inherent, and every individual finds themselves with a decision to make on many occasions when offered a chance to pursue different avenues in regards to a single situation. We all get to choose at some point.
Pessimistic incompatibilism also raises the possibility of the existence of free will, with determinism becoming fiction in such a scenario. Any time free will is adopted singlehandedly; there is a real imbalance in the prescription of punitive measures as objectivity remains absent. All details regarding the situation gain perception in a single dimension manner, with the application of law almost sure to be unjust in specific scenarios where the bigger picture remains unexamined. We tend to seek verification of only two aspects of a situation; an unwanted result, and identification of the morally or legally liable party. All surrounding factors will, therefore, go unexamined, likely to lead to an unfair judgment of the party deemed guilty.
Determinism is a concept that seeks to connect events and causation. With the proper understanding of that continuous chain of events leading to the final result, the idea is that the knowledge helps to understand how to determine moral responsibility objectively. This approach is sound in many ways, but it tends to focus quite a bit on the influencers rather than the role of the agent in the result. To many, it may bring the perception as a search for excuses in a bid to exonerate one from straightforward moral responsibility,
The most significant advantage of this theory is in establishing equitable remedy and putting in place proactive measures to avoid future recurrence of unwanted conduct. All ideas of understanding, rehabilitation and relating to one’s environment when deciding how to handle blame or the occurrence of an event have their foundations on determinism. It has paved the way for the recognition of mitigating factors when seeking redress in legal matters, preventing the passing of overly harsh rulings for issues requiring reasonable consideration.

Many theories have attempted to give insight into human behavior. Quite often, varying concepts are tabled, with each addressing a unique aspect of human conduct, or providing a varying angle of view on an existing idea on the subject. It is impossible to have a single theory that offers comprehensive, all-inclusive insight into human behavior. It takes an amalgamation of ideas and perspectives to paint a real picture. On a realistic level, human behavior is a complicated subject.
Free will is a realistic concept, highlighting the ability to make choices regarding what we do as individuals. Many times, moral responsibility finds a basis in this theory. We choose to do either good or bad things. On a right platform, liability operates on the assumption that you know the provisions of law, and if you commit an offense, it is by choice. However, with the consideration that there are mitigating factors such as insanity, fairness is ensured, and the system finds some balance.
Determinism is what augments the concept of free will. It should be used the hand in hand where necessary. Pessimistic incompatibilism alienates the two ideas from each other, suggesting that determinism and the concept of free will cannot exist concurrently. The interpretation proposes for the singular existence of one, with the presence of the other remaining an illusion.
In our example, a clinically insane person cannot be reasonably held liable for acts that a reasonable, sane person would avoid. Assignment of moral responsibility should only be with the verification of all surrounding aspects of the final event. The agent, in this case, would be fairly judged and a just sentence passed. A delicate balance should remain constant in the application of all concepts, with free will being the chief perspective of assessing moral responsibility in the absence of outside influences on the agent. Determinism is critical for application when the effect of external forces determine the course of action taken by an individual.

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