After you peel back all philosophy, politics and all that is in between, I think there are only 3 types of people:
– Type 1: People who believe that all individuals control and are responsible for their actions.
– Type 2: People who believe that they individually control and are responsible for their actions but many other people don’t.
– Type 3: People who believe that all individuals do not control or are responsible for their actions.
Everything else that we do, personally and in groups, is dependent on the power which one of these groups hold.
One might argue that Type 3 is just really Type 2 where the people in power pretend to not understand how they are determining things exactly the way they want. I’d even go further and say that Type 3 is simply a transitional phase – you always end up evolving to Type 1 or 2.
I am very surprised that we don’t have more studies like this showing the correlation between the belief in free will and work performance. I mean, if you don’t believe in free will how can you even imagine yourself overcoming difficult challenges in the first place?
Actually, I also find amazing how there are no studies around the connection of belief in free will and psychological maturity. Any parent know that one of the harder things to teach a kid is to stop with the “it’s not my fault” routine.
Among all the excuses used by people who somehow fall into Type 3 (luck, nature, society, etc) the one that irritates me the most is the ‘feelings’ one.
You see, our society has a pretty schizophrenic relationship with emotion. While we believe that some emotions are controllable (fear, hate, prejudice) we also use the ‘power’ of others (like love, greed, lust) as an wildcard excuse for all kinds of behavior.
One crazy example is this push from doctors to classify laziness as a ‘disease’. We just call it ‘motivational deficiency disorder’ and everything is fine! Or how about the fact that nowadays promiscuous people are ‘Sex Addicts’?
I believe this is all an unintended consequence from this stupid idea that we should try to make people feel better about themselves, no matter what. Having personal responsibilities over failures is one of the hardest things for a individual so we push that away with some excuse about a powerful external source that makes people feel better about their flaws.
In the end, the real root here is just how one deals with failure.