Examples of Voluntary and Involuntary Activities

The volunteer activities are those made with full cooperation or express purpose, that is, those that are carried out with acceptance. Hence, they cannot be performed while unconscious. For instance: speak, write, jump.

The involuntary activities they are, on the other hand, those carried out without considering their own will, in many cases even going against it (forced or compulsory activities). Most emotional or physiological reactions are in this category. For instance: dream, breathe, heal.

The WillIncidentally, it is defined as the ability to decide on what is desired or not, a fundamental part of decision-making and the constitution of the individual.

Examples of volunteer activities

  1. Talk. Under normal conditions, nothing and nobody can force a person to communicate orally, since this requires their collaboration to structure the meanings to be transmitted and correctly encode them in the sounds that make up the spoken language.
  2. Walk. A person can be dragged, pushed or thrown, but cannot be made to walk on his own. Walking requires the coordination of muscles, limbs and a certain sense of orientation that are entirely voluntary, therefore it cannot be done while unconscious.
  3. Cook. Many cannot do it even voluntarily. It is an activity that requires determination, interest and the choice of food to be cooked, therefore it is a pure act of will.
  4. Read. There is no way to make a person who does not want to read a text. Since reading is a decoding practice that necessarily requires attention, a minimum of concentration and a willingness to understand. This is the failure of many traditional educational policies.
  5. Eat. While hunger is a force of nature very centrally ingrained in our survival instincts, it is possible to determine when to eat and when not to, unlike when to feel hungry. A person can go on a hunger strike, if he wishes, and no one could force him to take a bite, since chewing and swallowing are entirely dependent on the will.
  6. To drink. As with food, you cannot decide when to feel thirsty, but you can decide when and what to drink. And this depends entirely on the personal decision and the disposition to swallow the liquid.
  7. Imagine. As much as in many cases the imagination is so awake that it almost has a life of its own, the truth is that this type of mental process requires the collaboration of the person. No one can force another to imagine something specific, nor can they condition them to prevent them from doing so. It is an intimate, entirely personal and autonomous process.
  8. to write. The same as in the case of reading, but even more voluntary. You cannot force another person to write if your will is not fixed on it. More than anything because writing requires the coordination of muscles with the mind, and the construction of a mental message that transcribes into graphic signs.
  9. Incorporate. This is well known by those who have tried to pick up a drunk friend. The balance of the body and the rigidity necessary to support it can only come from one’s own muscles and one’s own decision, which is why efforts to incorporate someone who is unconscious or who does not want to get up is useless.
  10. Jump. Similar to the case of walking or running, jumping is a physical activity that requires momentum, calculation, coordination and, therefore, will. It is much more complex than it seems at first glance, and that is why you cannot make another jump, because it depends on your body.

Examples of involuntary activities

  1. Sound. As much as one would like, you cannot decide when to dream, or what to dream, or when not to do it. Sleep, since it occurs while we sleep, is a totally unconscious and involuntary process, and that is why it can be very disturbing at times.
  2. To breathe. Although one could suspend breathing at will for a time, it cannot be done permanently. Supposing that a person tried to the best of his strength, he would only lose consciousness and then begin to breathe again. It is an activity so necessary for life that it is not in our capacity to completely prevent it voluntarily.
  3. Hear. Unlike many of the other senses, which can be interrupted (closing the eyes, closing the mouth, etc.) the ear cannot be suspended. At most one can choose which stimulus to pay attention to or not, but cannot stop perceiving sounds at will.
  4. Segregate hormones. As well as the totality of the biochemical and physiological processes, they are regulated by internal entities totally alien to the will and consciousness. No one can decide which hormone to secrete or when, at the most they could learn how their metabolism works and deal with it indirectly through external stimuli, such as food or drugs.
  5. Heal. While it is possible to reinfect oneself, to expose oneself to harm or disease at will, it is not possible to prevent the body from healing (just as it is not possible to force it to do so, or to heal at will). It is an automatic and bodily process, nothing related to the human mind.
  6. Feel. As with hearing, the sense of touch is always active and always making us perceive the environment: cold, heat, pain, pressure … all these sensations can be ignored at will, but are perceived involuntarily.
  7. To sleep. The same happens with sleep as with breathing: it is possible to suspend them at will within a time frame, after which it will be, at least under normal conditions, irremediable to fall prey to fatigue and sleep. No one can prevent sleep of their own accord for an indefinite time, as it will eventually become an involuntary activity.
  8. Have reflexes. Reflexes are spontaneous actions of the body based on their mechanical and electrical construction. That is why when the doctor hits us on the knee with a hammer, the leg tends to stretch even though we don’t want to kick the doctor.
  9. Growing up. The growth and maturation of the body are gradual and unstoppable, and have nothing to do with a specific decision of the growing individual. It is not possible to prevent it and it is not possible to do it at will, so it is an entirely involuntary process.
  10. Die. As much as we wish otherwise, death is involuntary, with the notorious exception of suicides. Even so, suicides can voluntarily expose themselves to the causes of certain death, that is, they can voluntarily plan the actions that will lead to death, but they cannot die spontaneously and voluntarily, just as no one can decide not to die in the long run .