"And how is the nutriment of intellectual intention (manosañcetana) to be regarded? Suppose there were a pit of glowing embers, deeper than a man's height, full of embers that were neither flaming nor smoking, and a man were to come along — loving life, hating death, loving pleasure, abhorring pain — and two strong men, having grabbed him by the arms, were to drag him to the pit of embers. To get far away would be that man's intention, far away would be his wish, far away would be his aspiration. Why is that? Because he would realize, 'If I fall into this pit of glowing embers, I will meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain.' In the same say, I tell you, is the nutriment of intellectual intention to be regarded."
This passage and the others in the sutta is not to show that there is no control, but to show how a noble disciple should regard the 4 nutriments in order to remove craving for developing the path further.