Wednesday, August 02, 1995

Biology and "volition"

To Michael Sylvester about the role of volition

"Biologic", "Neurophysiologic", "Genetic" ... what have
you... by no means implies "helpless", or that volition can play no role.
I have WANTED to stop stuttering all my life and I have WORKED at it,
as you have. By saying "eventually" it seems to me you are admitting (as
I think you have before) that "just say no" is not an easy quick fix. So are
we really disagreeing or is this just a semantic issue (as John H. suggested).
I generally like the way you name some concepts. "sustained automaticity"
is one example... and, if I understand it, it's exactly what I think
I have achieved. The only difference from your thinking (if I understand)
is that you seem to imply that the problem I worked so hard at overcoming
had been "created" by myself in the first place. I, and many others,
believe that, however you want to define it, a "weakness" was present in
my speech apparatus for me to deal with. I could have lived with it
or I could try to find some way to work around it (and I did, using
"volition" too).

Just because squinting your eyes can bring things into focus doesn't
mean you created your own sight problem! Just because squinting can
become the result of "sustained automaticity" does not mean you did
not have a sight problem. Yes, I remain hopeful that the equivalent
of unubtrusive glasses or eye surgery may at some point make all
these discussions obsolete.

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