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Jan18-13, 12:50 PM
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
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Quote Quote by GladScientist View Post
I've read recently that, contrary to common sense, willpower is a limited resource and can only get you so far. Running out of willpower is called "ego depletion."

How much does this limit us as human beings? If I were a heavy heroine user for several years, and hadn't used in 18 hours, might it be physically impossible for me to resist a readily available supply in certain circumstances?
As far as I'm aware ego depletion is still largely unconfirmed. Having said that it still would seem impossible to say whether or not someone was in such a state of ego depletion that they could not have done anything else. Everyone is different and the huge variety of variables that go into determining mood makes it difficult to determine just what exactly let to an action. For example: one might come to the conclusion that as there is a gym round the corner that opens tomorrow it's acceptable to eat the chocolate one had been resisting for a while. This isn't the erosion of willpower but a rethink of the situation based on new observations.

Personally I'm skeptical of trying to measure mood in in a qualitative way liken this, not because it isn't useful but that there is a lot of scope for misuse by applying it to situations that are superficially explained this way but in reality are more complex.
Quote Quote by GladScientist View Post
Or are humans just beings of unlimited potential? Is it true that you can accomplish ANYTHING as long as you're smart enough and physically capable? Or is that just an unrealistic fantasy?
Human beings are obviously limited. No matter how much willpower I have I can't be the King of England, or fly unaided, or be downstairs and upstairs at once, or jump to the moon etc etc. Similarly being strong willed, able bodied and intelligent does not give you the ability to do anything. A lot of life decisions are made for you by events outside of your control.
Quote Quote by GladScientist View Post
This may or may not be synonymous with the question "is there free will?"
It's not synonymous but related.