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November 6, 1972

The Will To Be Human

JAMA. 1972;222(6):709. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210060057027

The debate between determinists and upholders of free will, which has continued for centuries, is still as lively as ever. For a while it appeared that determinism, supported by Freud and the behaviorists, was victorious. Self-respecting scientists were ashamed to use the word "will." But now it is again permissible, if not fashionable. Farber and May have both written books about the will,1,2 which have been well received, although perhaps not getting the popular attention of Skinner's polemic3 against freedom. Now, Arieti, psychoanalyst and authority on schizophrenia, contributes his defense in The Will To Be Human.

Arieti promptly acknowledges that complete freedom is an illusion and that we are constrained both by internal psychological pressures and by environmental and social forces. He analyzes these constraints, placing special emphasis on what he calls "the endocratic power," which seems to be similar to Freud's "superego" and Fromm's "authoritarian conscience." However, he