PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. Thank you for your interest and patience!
We might believe in willpower if we think that free will is something absolute.
this type of power is considered to be nonexistent by some behavioural scholars. While controlling our impulses by restraining them is a losing fight, this does not mean that we cannot use our mental power to modify our behavior that would be beneficial for us and for people around us.
From "Unwinding anxiety" "First, recent research is calling into question some of the early ideas on willpower. Some of these studies have shown that willpower is genetically endowed for a lucky subset; still other studies have argued that willpower is itself a myth. Even studies that acknowledge willpower as real tended to find that people who exerted more self-control were not actually more successful in accomplishing their goals—in fact, the more effort they put in, the more depleted they felt. The short answer is that buckling down, gritting your teeth, or forcing yourself to “just do it” might be counterproductive strategies, possibly helping out in the short term (or at least making you feel like you are doing something) but not working in the long term, when it really counts" ” Second, while willpower may be fine under normal conditions, when you get stressed (saber-toothed tiger, email from the boss, fight with a spouse, exhaustion, hunger), your old brain takes control and overrides your new brain, basically shutting the latter down until the stress is gone. So exactly when you need your willpower—which resides, remember, in the prefrontal cortex/new brain—it’s not there, and your old brain eats cupcakes until you feel better and your new brain comes back online.” Some people can use willpower to override their old brain, at least partially, but these people are very rare. It’s unfair to blame people for not having willpower. It’s not their fault that their brain works this way. It’s unfair to compare people with more or less willpower. If some people can train their brain to have more willpower it may be because of their genes and circumstances.
Unwinding anxiety, chapter 23: “In AA, the process involves admitting that one can’t control one’s behavior (revolutionary for a program that started in the 1930s, bucking centuries of philosophers who claimed that willpower was king),”
If you are interested in getting updates about this project (e.g., when new pages are published), please sign up for the newsletter on my main website.