By Stephen Russell-Lacy. There are lots of cultural and individual differences between people, but do humans have something innately in common? According to philosopher John Locke, there is no such thing as human nature. In his view, the mind is at birth a “blank slate” without rules, so data are added, and rules for processing … Continue reading Human nature – Does it exist?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy. Question – How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer – one, but the light bulb has got to want to change. According to award winning professor of psychiatry Irvin Yalom, this idea of free choice (also called free-will) presents a problem to many psychological therapists. Their goal … Continue reading Free choice – An illusion?
After the terrorist explosion at Maalbeek Metro station in Brussels in March 2016, one person said he was going to stop using the underground railway and walk to work instead. However, others think in terms of fate. ‘What is meant to be, will be’. ‘My time will come when it comes.’ Do you think that things … Continue reading Fate – Can I Escape It?
We hear of thousands of ordinary people who have lost their lives or been severely traumatised by civil war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, invasion, slavery and so on. Where is the meaning of life in this innocent suffering? If humankind has a humane spirit of care, generosity and goodwill that respects the rights of others, where does social coercion and violent aggression come from? If there is an all-powerful divine force within the universe, why are tyrants and suicide bombers allowed to cause such misery?
Similar questions arise in connection with natural events. Some people in the world, through no fault of their own, have experienced devastating earthquake, like the one in Haiti, not to mention volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricane, flood, or famine. These events can result in much suffering and many casualties. And then there is disease. Which of us, during the course of our lives, will have to endure serious injury, congenital disability, or progressive, mental or terminal illness?
The creator seems careless about creation. If there is a perfect force that made the natural world, why are there imperfections in nature?