Between stimulus and response?: Where do We Find Our Capacity for Choice?

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” --

Viktor E. Frankl – Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor


I respect Frankl and his work immensely.

Yet, having said that, there is a wealth of research showing that there isn't much space between stimulus and response -- that our brain is starting to respond even before we are aware we intend to do something.

I wonder if the opportunity for making new choices is not wholly in that little space we aren't even aware of, but in the feedback we get from ourselves (physical energy and sensations, emotional, intellectual) after we have taken an action, made a decision, etc..

Mindfulness and nonlinear neurofeedback are effectively precisely because they don't "drive" change, they allow observation of what already is -- what just happened -- and change emerges naturally from the feedback.

Perhaps we could make slight revision to Frankl's quote -- that the opportunity for change is between response and stimulus"...?