Iris Murdoch on Attention and Freedom

But if we consider what the work of attention is like, how continuously it goes on, and how imperceptibly it builds up structures of value round about us, we shall not be surprised that at crucial moments of choice most of the business of choosing is already over.  This does not imply that we are not free, certainly not.  But it implies that the exercise of our freedom is a small piecemeal business which goes on all the time and not a grandiose leaping about unimpeded at important moments.  The moral life, on this view, is something that goes on continually, not something that is switched off in between the occurrence of explicit moral choices.  What happens in between such choices is indeed what is crucial.

— Iris Murdoch
The Sovereignty of Good

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