Choosing Not To Choose
Is A Choice
“Choice” has been relevant to every person in every era and is part of everyone’s daily life. You can’t get out of bed in the morning without making choices.
Life’s pathway is not pre-scripted. Moving from start to finish involves many electives and the ultimate outcome for each person is the sum of those choices.
Unfortunately, choice-making isn’t fun and games. The difficulties associated with the exercise was illustrated best in Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech and every major philosopher has added their two cents as well. Clever sayings abound.
Choices are the hinges of destiny.
Attributed to both Edwin Markham and Pythagoras
Hindsight is 20/20
And choices come in all shapes and sizes: easy, obvious, hard, intentional, blind, well thought out and so on.
You really can’t escape it. You can ignore the issue but that requires a choice, a poor one. You can choose to rely on “chance” or live “under” the circumstances but that is like choosing not to choose.
“Choice” is an essential part of human nature and history shows that it cannot be bound. Humans go places, do things, learn through experience, expand their understanding, overcome obstacles and become qualified, and all of this growth is fueled by choice. One way or another humans will exercise their abilities to choose.
Unquestioned Authority Opposed
“Choice” is the reason the Protestant Reformation came about. People refused to accept what they were told without explanation or obey bastions of authority unquestioningly. Trading our ability to reason for blind compliance is a choice human nature doesn’t easily swallow.
During the reformation the idea that authority was right simply because it was authority was rejected. Society came to realize that no one has the right to think, believe or understand for the rest of us and they chose to protest.
The Modernist and Post Modern eras began in the mid 19th century and are characterized by the tendency to question traditional ideas in every form: religion, politics, art, and on every level. No ideas are considered sacred.
The individual became more significant and personal taste, feelings, perspectives or inclinations became dominant factors in the choices we made. The democratic approach in the extreme.
“Individualism,” the ultra antithesis of tradition, does more than just question tradition. It endorses and encourages unbounded free thinking. Now we attempt to move the boundaries to accommodate whatever choices a person happens to make.
The fixed values of tradition are no longer accepted only because “it has always been done that way.” Everything is subject to individual inspection.
But the question is: just because authority and tradition are no longer seen as guiding lights must all the choices they recommend also be recategorized?
Because authority figures couldn’t give reasonable explanations or didn’t allow for individual tastes does that mean the choices they recommended were wrong?
Should we throw out recommended choices or would it be better to vigorously investigate the reasons behind these choices? [Read more…]