Free will: I could probably quote many academics who give various definitions and descriptions of it. I share with you the one from Wikipedia which is commonly understood by all. « Free will is the ability of human beings to determine freely and by themselves to act and think… ».
Of the social norm: again, there’s a lot written about it. Wikipedia tells us: « A social norm refers to a way of doing or acting, a tacit or written rule of conduct, that is prevalent in a given society or social group. It is legitimized by shared habits, values, and beliefs within a given collective, as well as by social control ».
If I refer to these commonly accepted understandings, the social norm would come back to a form of determinism i.e. « being determined by » and free will, a form of antinomy of determinism i.e. « determining oneself to ». How, then, can free will be reconciled with the social norm? To do so, we must push our understanding of free will a little further if we really want to exercise (and assume) it and not have the illusion of doing so.
When we commonly talk about free will, it assumes that our will can be expressed freely and without constraint, which you will acknowledge is rarely the case! Through my readings, I offer you a finer understanding of free will, because it seems to me more real (see operational): « free will is the ability to exercise control over what our will is moving towards » (Appourchaux, K. (2014). A new free will. Cnrs.).
This understanding of free will allows us to really exercise it in a personal or professional issue. It is a matter of sincerely deciding to exercise control (a voluntary effort) over the facts, in order to lead to accomplish the desired situation. Voluntary effort is a prerequisite. So is the vision of the desired situation.
Whatever the circumstances (personal or professional), it appears that our “inner conflict” could largely be summed up in what seems to be a permanent battle between free will and the social norm (the view of others, a personal constraint, a necessity…). However, these notions are not opposed to each other. Preserving one’s free will in all circumstances is possible. The norm is only a framework that allows us to live together. What we paint in it depends only on us.
In human interactions, your free will is essential and unique. Be sincere about your wishes, act on the facts to establish the desired situation. It is up to the other person to decide whether or not to be at your side according to his or her own wishes. Doesn’t your freedom stop where the other person’s freedom begins?
To conclude, in my opinion, there is only the sincere resonance between two people, for a situation desired by both, which allows the implementation of a common free will. This is the miracle of life. It is called Love…