WARNING: This page contains adult themes. Not the ones you normally get though. These themes MIGHT just challenge what you think. They MIGHT just say “Hey, you know when you bitch about life and blame others, MAYBE, just MAYBE you might want to CHOOSE to do something about it.” Anyway … read on, but you have been warned.
Interestingly enough (well OK, it’s interesting for ME anyway), this page was actually the reason I started this blog, but the last page I wrote. I think it was last as I wanted to “get it right”. Of course it will never be quite “right”, but I can at least share my thoughts, and ideas on what I think on this topic, so you can get a better idea of where I am coming from.
The central theme of my philosophy is that LIFE IS ALL ABOUT CHOICE.
Even is the most extreme cases, when we might *think* there is no choice/option there always is. I think of a lot of what people SAY is “forced” isn’t, and the resultant feeling of being trapped, or stressed out, results in much damage.
To use an extreme case first, someone puts a gun to your head and says “Drink this” and hands you a bottle of a liquid. Let’s say you know the person with the gun is serious, because he just did the same thing to someone else and shot them (dead) when they didn’t drink it (I told you this example would be extreme!). Many would say you have no choice but to drink it. I disagree. You have lots of choices here, here are a few: You can drink it straight away, you can say “Hell no, screw you”, you can say “Sure, I will drink it” and then throw it in his face, you can say “Hey, can I go to the bathroom 1st” and then come back and try to negotiate your way out of it. I am not just playing semantics here, there are VERY real choices here. Even if we just limit it to the central issue of “to drink or not to drink”, then that’s a VERY real and valid choice.
Now many would say “But if I don’t drink it he will kill me”. Yes, probably true, since he killed the last person that didn’t. But it doesn’t change the fact that its YOUR choice to drink it or not. You can CHOOSE to drink it BECAUSE the last guy who didn’t drink it was shot. If it was me, I would probably drink it, but I do it as a choice. I CHOOSE to drink it because I think that maximises the chance of my long term happiness. To put it more simply: I won’t be very happy if I am dead, so I will go with the “stay alive for now” strategy. Ah, but what if the drink was poison I hear some of you say. Good point – but that doesn’t change the point I am making about CHOICE. It might be that both choices are indeed quite damaging to you, but it’s still a choice never the less. I would still choice to drink the poison than get shot, that’s MY choice. In fact if I knew for a FACT it was poison that would kill me, then my choice may be something different, like make a run for it, or try to disarm the guy (I saw that in a movie once). Anyway .. end of extreme example.
Lets use a more real example. Someone is in a job they hate (all to common unfortunately). They have a wife and a young baby. The marriage isn’t going so well, and their boss is a complete tosser who treats them badly and blames them for things that they didn’t do. This person aslso has a mortgage, which they are only JUST managing to pay, and a bunch of unpaid bills that is mounting up. They work in a unskilled job, and the job market is crap at the moment, with hardly any jobs out there that can be applied for. So here is a guy “trapped” in a job. He hates it, but can’t get out. He needs the job to pay his mortgage, and stay in a relationship with someone who he’s not overly happy with either. No choice, case closed. Well not quite. There are LOTS of choices here. The guy, ummmm .. lets call him “Trevor” coz apparently when you give someone a name its more real – so Trevor it is. Anyway, Trevor has lots of choices. He can stay where he is and carry on. He can leave his job and try to get another one (yes there is a risk he will loose his house, but that’s part of the choice). He can sell his house, move to another city (with or without his family). Hell, he can go find the guy with the gun in the above example and ask him for the poison! (I bet you no one thought of THAT particular choice). So there are LOTS of choices. When people say “I have no option” what they really mean is “This is the best option for me, but I still dont like it”. Yep, life is like that sometimes. But it’s still a choice.
When we have to choose between a “good” and a “bad” option, the choice is easy. It’s hard when its between a “very bad” and a “terrible” option. Same applies when choosing between two “good” options.
So what’s my point? Often people who are in situations they don’t like, and then externalise the whole thing. “I can’t do anything. I hate my job, but need the money” or “I can’t leave my husband now, he would be devastated. He needs me.” or “I can’t afford to be environmentally conscious – I only just get by as it is. If I had more money I would.” In all the examples people are making the issue external to them. They feel (or at least act) TRAPPED in the situation and FORCED to continue in it. The reality is that they aren’t. But in many respects reality is actually much tougher than being TRAPPED. Because when one realises that there is a CHOICE here, then its about what I do, and how I act. I can leave my job, but hell, I will have little money and might have to sell my car” Yep, life is tough sometimes – but at least it’s a life (and it’s a CHOICE).
I will update this more soon (last updated 27 Nov 2009, with minor type corrections 28 March 2010)
Notes to me for future updates: This isn’t all bad. Actually its good. Choice means freedom of controlling one’s destiny. Choice is empowering (even when the situation isn’t)
The biggest issue the world faces: Over Consumption
I think the biggest issue the world face is over consumption. Issues like global warming, poverty and sustainability are all sub-sets of this issue.
This solutions (and that’s plural) to this are partially linked to the idea of choice above – I’ll explain this more when I write this post.
More on this in a later update.
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