Forcing choice

Yesterday when I was thinking about that personality text and my personality in general, I realized – certainly not for the first time – that I highly, highly value choice.

When I say choice here, I don’t just mean political choice, like freedom to choose what I say or who I support without being arrested. I mean it in the more personal, “freewill” sense.

I realized that I value choice so highly that I force the illusion of choice into situations where it might not even exist. I want to assume I always have a choice.

For example, I want to assume that tastes and preferences are choices. You can choose to enjoy carrot juice. I did.

For example, I don’t want to fall in love. I want to choose it. I think love’s a choice, and where it’s not, I try to force it to be a choice anyway.

But how far can that go?

Like in the love example, I can say love’s a choice all I want, but when I really look at it, do I believe it? I mean, I want to say I’ll choose the woman I’ll love and marry, but is my love for my family a choice? <<Probably not.

What about my interest in women in general instead of men? Seriously, I want to say that’s a choice, but is it really? Did I choose it?

Here’s the deal as frankly as I can put it: most actions in life probably don’t arise from conscious choice or even subconscious choice. Much of what I do probably is determined by circumstances… like how I was raised, where I live, who my friends are, the juices my brain’s soaking in, and so on.

But – and this is totally crucial – I live as though each action I take is a personal, conscious choice on my part. Because if I don’t, life has no meaning or responsibility.

If I can’t choose what I do or even what I think, how do I know that this “we can’t really choose” conclusion is accurate instead of just the result of a bundle of neurons firing in my brain? <<C.S. Lewis said that before I did.

In other words, freedom to choose because otherwise we’d never know otherwise. Freedom to choose because it’s practical. Freedom to choose because I choose it, not because it actually exists… which in fact forces it to exist. :>)

|