Free Will From an OCD Perspective Part 1

The free will debates rage on as they always have, but some of us with OCD may find the topic to be disturbing. I will state at the outset that I do not know if “free will” exists or not. The term itself seems confusing and believe it to be a malformed question to begin with. What is the will free from? Is it free from causality? Free from physics? Free from coercion? Most scientists and philosophers, it seems, are determinists of one sort or other, by either falling into the compatabilist camp or incompatabilist camp with very few subscribing to libertarian free will.

The free will debateĀ as it pertains to OCD will be my focus. As some of you may know, there are different themes within OCD that describe our condition (harm, religious/scrupulosity, sexual, etc…). The concern with free will would fall under a philosophical OCD theme. Under that theme, a variety of existential questions may cause anxiety leading to a compulsion. The compulsion usually involvesĀ compulsive “researching,” or ruminating. This is usually a problem because the symptoms are very hard to observe which is why the types of OCD that is squarely in our heads get the moniker of “Pure-OCD” because there isn’t a clear compulsion. Once you are able to see the tell-tale signs of the loop (anxiety and compulsion) one can now use ERP to disentangle the compulsion. The fears involved with free will include believing one is a robot/automaton, somewhere in the script of our lives, we are meant to do something against our values, and fears of not being able to change until one “knows” what the answer is. As in all ERP, we must face those fears in order to desensitize ourselves from the material if we wish to engage with it with a clear head.

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