The Interplay Between Autonomy and Freedom

Post your response to the following: As individuals, people have the ability to make their own choices and decide for themselves. Many things can influence their ability to choose freely. Choice, change, and control are three factors that influence the degree to which people choose. How does a person’s level of autonomy affect their sense of freedom?

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Autonomy is absolutely essential to a sense of freedom. Without autonomy, freedom is nothing more than collectivism no matter what the circumstances. I would, however, say that autonomy is almost always a deception. In the book, the experiment about the puzzles is used. Imagine though that all of the puzzles have been pre-selected by the experimenters and all had a picture of leaves in a field. What if any of the puzzles that the subjects have to choose from are basically the same? Is that autonomy? To bring this more down to earth, what if all of the possible presidential candidates that we are voting for basically espouse the same fundamental values? Is choosing the better of two evils really autonomy? Autonomy can be deceitful and perceived autonomy even more so. 

How would a person, who aligns him or herself with the incremental theory, view his or her sense of freedom differently from a person who aligns him or herself with the entity theory?

Freedom according to the entity theory is nothing more than the freedom to do what we have been programmed to do. There is no real change. We can only enhance our best qualities and downplay our worst. However, for the incremental theorist behavioral patterns are malleable and therefore true freedom to change can be attained. 

How would a person with an internal locus of control view personal freedom as opposed to a person with an external locus of control?

Someone with an external locus of control would view personal freedom as nothing more than the freedom to react. The person with an internal locus of control would view personal freedom as the freedom to be pro-active. People with an external locus of control seem to only react to situations as if there is no other possible way to behave. On the other hand, a person with an internal locus of control considers all possible options when faced with a choice, not just the one expected. This is just me but it seems like people with an external locus of control are always looking for reasons to fail rather than reasons to succeed. That might be just me though.

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References

Bolt, M. (2004). Pursuing human strengths: A positive psychology guide. New York, NY: Worth Publishing.

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