The question of whether a person is free to make their own choices or merely under the illusion of possessing such freedom and simply following their biological instincts has been debated since the dawn of humanity. However, I will not even attempt to resolve this question with what little knowledge I possess. I simply wish to give my own views on the matter as yet another drop into the sea of discussion this subject has accumulated throughout history.
Have you ever asked yourself if your actions are truly your own? If they are, then why do you regret them even if you were completely aware of their consequences? It is considered an accepted fact that we as humans lose control of ourselves in moments of anger. This is easily supported by both statistics  and the number of people voluntarily taking anger management courses. But this leads us to question whether anger is exceptional in its ability to strip us from our conscious control over ourselves or perhaps it shares this ability with other sensations.
I personally tend to believe the latter option as anger is only an extreme case that only seems exceptional because of the feeling of regret that follows it. I seek to bring forward the idea that all sensations cause a loss of control over ourselves even if it occurs to a lesser degree. My claim is not a solid fact and I never intended it to be one. But we need to ask ourselves whether we have truly made a choice if we cannot even recall any ponderings on the options at hand but merely impulses.
My view is that more often than not, our choices are made for us based upon our predispositions. But this assumption does not necessarily dictate that our free will is an illusion. According to my own personal introspection, these tendencies stem from our subconscious, as it is the source of our desires and feelings. Therefore, our free choices are not the ones made in the midst of the moments of our everyday lives as we get overwhelmed with emotions. In those situations, we merely find ourselves following our impulses. Our true free choices are those made in our moments of solitude and contemplation. This can be seen through the emphasis many religions and schools of philosophy offer to contemplating one’s sins and acts of virtue.
I suspect that we do not directly choose our actions but we choose the tendencies that govern them. It follows that our subconscious acts as a buffer between our conscious will and our actions. In other words, we indirectly control our actions by conditioning our subconscious as we slowly adjust our tendencies and struggle against our desires. This has led me to believe that the judgments we assign to our actions in retrospect are more important than the actions themselves. As our subconscious is conditioned through remorse or satisfaction.
This idea can be seen in how watching a motivational speech or a convincing debate does not change any long-held views. People do not simply get swayed in an instant. They require to be slowly nudged by an idea, to be surrounded by it. So that it could eventually become capable of swaying their subconscious and shifting their nature. Afterward, a moment of clarity or some event makes the final push towards a different attitude.
This idea, in my view, explains the unreasonable dichotomy between the heart and the mind. I would as far as to say it explains how we have chosen our love, displeasure, admiration, and even trust in things all around us, by slowly conditioning our subconscious one judgment at a time. This is the idea of how we slowly shape our personalities with the choices we make in our hours of solitude.
Author: Wail Rimouche.