Fatalism and voluntarism

Understanding that there are objective parameters and random circumstances does not deny but does condition our capacity to influence, choose and decide. That free but conditioned choice represents the extent to which we have an impact on the situations where personal and social life unfolds; not fatalism nor voluntarism. Whoever believes that everything in life is preordained incurs in a fatalism that leads to the passive acceptance of events. In that perspective, parametric conditions and random circumstances annul the spaces to practice free will: there is only room for resignation. If, on the other hand, the existence of parametric conditions and random circumstances was ignored, we would tend to slide into a dangerous voluntarism. We would be making the mistake of granting an unreal capacity to our own forces which, in case of eventual failures, would lead to frustrations and discouragements. Understanding that there are objective parameters and that random circumstances occur does not deny but does condition our capacity to influence, choose and decide. Such free but conditioned choice represents the extent to which we can determine the situations where personal and social life unfolds.

According to circumstances we can function and evolve within systems that gradually transform because our needs and aspirations are acceptably resolved over time or, contrarily, if we are part of systems that compromise decent livelihoods and hold changes back, conditions for social outbursts that produce spasmodic transformations of uncertain outcome are generated. In one case we will focus personal and social energy on evolutional trajectories where gradual changes are constantly produced. In the other, a large part of that energy will be oriented towards social unrest in search of causing transformations based on qualitative leaps that will directly influence the parameters that helped structure the established order.

This way, our capacity to act constitutes a critical factor to determine social and personal fate. It implies adopting options to act within a wide range of opportunities: from preserving the reproduction of the way of functioning up to generating changes in the systemic dynamic in order to facilitate its transformation. Conditioned free will expresses the intentionality we imprint into action and involves decisions -explicit or implicit- of personal and social energy allocation since it determines what we focus on and how we will do so.

When exercising our conditioned free will we choose ways of acting to address basic needs (subsistence, affection, meaning) while simultaneously shaping the type of relationships that are established among people, communities and the environment (relationships of collaboration, competitiveness, pillage, among others).

At the same time, personal and social action is also influenced by the prevailing perspective of the desired future, whether an immediate and individual one or a mediate future that includes taking care of the environment and the society we are part of. Thus, the visionary building of tomorrow –our referential utopia- will also influence the way we carry out our activities in the concrete present of our everyday life.

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