Traditionally, we have viewed will as being completely consciously motivated, meaning that our actions towards a goal are initiated by us, via our mind. A study a couple of decades ago showed that before a decision was made to engage in a motor action, there was measurable neuronal activity. This indicated that the signal to move preceded the awareness of it, hinting at subconscious or unconscious will. It paved the way for further studies in the area. However, because I am in no way an expert in this field, I am just going to stop there.
I should point out that this does not mean that all will is subconscious or unconscious. It just means that part of it can be explained by subconscious means.
This post was predicated by a review I saw earlier today in Science Magazine on The Unconscious Will: How the Pursuit of Goals Operates Outside of Conscious Awareness. It is behind a paywall, unfortunately, but I’m sure it will provide a great background for those interested.
Alright, let’s get to the reason for this post. I’ve got some questions for the reader… Are you afraid because seemingly conscious activities can now be explained by the subconscious or unconscious? Does this affect your self-identity? Your faith? Do you think ultimately all decisions, behaviors, and actions will be determined to be subconscious or unconscious? And if so, does this mean that there is no free will? Heavy, I know, but certainly worth thinking about and discussing. I’ll leave my thoughts to myself for the time being because I want to hear what others think.