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In explicit, conscious learning, the will plays an important role. The will to learn something yourself or the will to let someone else learn something. The will needs motivation to achieve a certain goal.
One who acts shows behavior and is the source of his actions. The behavior that someone exhibits can be explained when one understands the mechanism that leads to that behavior. The will or willpower is a control mechanism of that behavior. What we want depends entirely on what we think. The question now is whether we fully control that control mechanism or whether there are mechanisms at work in our brains that we cannot control, but that do determine our thinking and thus determine our will and therefore also our behaviour.
The way we experience reality is a construction of our brains. That is not to say that reality is subjective. Reality is objective and exists independently of how we experience it. Now research also shows that we have little influence on our thinking and therefore on our will. The emotional system works much faster than the ratio. We are therefore unable to hold back emotions. At most we can shorten the duration of an emotion. We just don't realize that, because reality, both the objective and the subjective reality constructed by our brains, is so complicated that we have the illusion that we can determine the route ourselves. If the experienced reality is a construction of our brains, then they can also easily create the illusion mentioned.
People have a large number of wishes, but only a few wishes can become a will and possibly come true. Just because certain wishes are mutually exclusive, an individual will have to choose which wish should become a will and which should not. That doesn't just happen. He must first see the steps and then he must also take them to realize the wish. By thinking, deliberating and weighing, a person can work on his wish and decide how it will turn out. Willpower is then the degree of willingness to take steps to fulfill the wish. Willpower, in turn, is driven by the prospect of reward in some form.
Not many people would disagree with the following reasoning:
A person needs freedom of decision to decide what he can do best to achieve what he wants. And, he needs freedom of decision to decide whether he really wants to achieve that or whether he prefers something else first. Yet the idea that a person has complete freedom of decision is an illusion. A person is not completely free to put his own will into action and thus achieve a goal?
People do have a will, but that will is subject to conditions.
Deliberation to arrive at a decision is only partly a rational process. Emotions play a decisive role in it. A person is not capable of weighing all the pros and cons of a complicated choice. For example: should someone opt for a child now and postpone her career for a while, or should she opt for a career now and postpone having children? A person makes that decision by feeling, on the basis of a somatic labeling. Some alternatives give us a good feeling and others don't. It is also quite possible that someone does not make the decision and is overtaken by reality by, for example, becoming pregnant. One can extend the sentence: what we want depends entirely on what we think, to: our behavior depends entirely on what we want and our will depends entirely on what we think, but we cannot control what we think.
The ability to make choices or decisions has both a cognitive component and an emotional component. In which the emotional component is leading. Imagination is central to both components.
Imagination is the ability to contemplate and try inner possibilities. The imagination is closely related to emotions and feelings. The imagination helps an individual make decisions about what he wants. The American neuropsychologist Damasio has shown that feelings in the form of somatic labeling are the neural basis of the imagination.
If someone wants to fulfill a certain wish, he imagines how he will feel after it. He imagines in what circumstances he finds himself after fulfilling his wish. He imagines what things he must renounce after making the choice, and he imagines that he can bear that loss. He can only imagine this by comparing the situation he is in and the situation he wants to reach with situations he has experienced before himself or with situations that others have experienced and about which he has read, seen or heard. Imagining can mean years of daydreaming without coming to a decision, but when a decision needs to be made, the imagining moves at lightning speed. It is much faster and more powerful than the rational considerations, which are also there, but have to lose out to the speed and power of the emotional system.