Do we have absolute control of our attitude?

Does each one of us have absolute control of our attitude. It has been posited by others that by having a positive attitude a person can achieve great success.

If everybody has this control it could be the basis of our equality.


Humans are extensions of the factors controling their existence:

DNA & life time events. That’s what humans really are.

There is a host of psychological data showing that trying to logically change your attitude almost never works. Now, there are people with whom it works better than others - but on average, it doesn’t work.

Also - there isn’t literal equality, and trying to justify that there is won’t really get you anywhere. I can find you people where I am smarter, stronger, faster, kinder, and prettier than they - I can also find you people who are smarter, stronger, faster, kinder, and prettier than I. But we’re all treated equally, because that’s the only thing that really works well. It’s a good system practically, but there isn’t a whole lot of truth to it philosophically.

Thanks, Karl…

HB asked,

Hello HB,

Whomever it is that you wish to become is necessarily determined by the person you already are. In other words, it’s not possible to step outside of yourself in order to choose a new “self.”

A man can surely do what he wants. Only, he cannot determine what he wants. Schopenhauer (if my memory isn’t lying)



But isn’t this precisely what the majority attempt to do?


Hi JT,

I suspect that you’re quite right about that. Folks apparently relish the notion that they’ve an ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Nietzsche (in his ever-hyperbolic prose), complained

“The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has been conceived so far; it is a sort of rape and perversion of logic. But the extravagant pride of man has managed to entangle itself profoundly and frightfully with just this nonsense. The desire for ‘freedom of the will’ in the superlative metaphysical sense, which still holds sway, unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated; the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one’s actions oneself, and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society involves nothing less than to be precisely this causa sui and, with more than Baron Münchhausen’s audacity, to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the swamps of nothingness.”

Of course, the question posed by HB is part of a larger discussion concerning the metaphysical origins of responsibility - which, itself, is a subset of the even larger debate concering the possibility of "free will.

Kind regards,

Absolute…prolly not. Some level; yes. Certain invidiuals control their additudes as to come off as melancholy and others falsely content. I know in my study of Zen it teaches one thing. We are only able to control our thoughts, and our actions. But I believe only to an extent…then again I am not a Zen master so what do I know?

I just consciously bent from the waist to an attitude of about 30 degrees off-centre. So - Yes.

But I expect that’s not what you were getting at.


Yes, Nietzche’s statement is almost as extended as something from Kierkegaard - and almost as as paradoxical. The reliance on meta-meta-meta to make these sort of pronouncements is both the intrigue and the bane of much of his writing. If he hadn’t just left us in the “swamps of nothingness”…


Oh sure, introduce more variables. Now we have to consider altitude, angle of attack, and a host of other aeronautical considerations…