Control has a different meaning depending on the surrounding context. Isn’t it odd that the word itself does not entirely own its definition? To have control over, to be in control, or to control something, are all different.
If we think of Control as an equation, the left-hand side would contain an expression consisting of different variables, and the right-hand side would be the results. Variables of Control are entities, objects, or people; the result is how these interact. For example, when I (entity) toggle (action) a light switch (object), I expect a light to turn on or off. The curious thing about equality is that the result is also an expression, maybe because the light is on, I toggle the switch to turn it off.
It is much easier to identify the different Control variables from the equation’s side performing actions rather than results. The light being on did not deliberately cause me to turn it off; I, for some reason, decided to turn it off. This difference serves as an introduction to another variable of Control — Choice. It is debatable whether Choice exists or if it is an illusion that stems from an initial trigger such as the Big Bang; however, for simplicity, I will refer to Choice as something that could have been something else, given the evaluation of a condition.
Let us define an equation:
Entity + Action = Result
An animal hunting for its prey will result in it being fed and improving its chances for survival.
For humans, we can adjust the equation slightly:
Entity + Choice + Action = Result
It is both a curse and a blessing that we can choose. Animals don’t think whether their actions will provide expected results; they perform actions without considering consequences. On the other hand, humans can think about actions before performing them, evaluate possible results as variables, and choose the most appropriate for a given situation. Choice gives us a “Sense of Control,” but just like the definition of Control relies on the surrounding words, a sense of control depends on the context of the one seeking it.