Between all the choices we’re presented with in life, how are we to decide which paths to take? Is it a fair question? As if our role here is to choose between, weigh our options, and reach personal conclusions in the face of it all. If we take that as our role, though, what are we to make of all this freedom? Given how so much in life now seems to be laid at the feet of our decision-making powers, it seems hard to say it doesn’t matter.
Isn’t it that, in every aspect of our lives, we’re faced with endless choice? All these options for what we might think, feel or believe; how we might act, look or present ourselves; which things we’ll buy into socially, economically or culturally (Notes One). As if “life” is us, standing in a room, choosing which things we’ll draw towards us and make our own; decisions that then ripple away to become realities for the world around us.
Sometimes it seems overwhelming, the amount of choice we have. As if we’re just swimming in a sea of options, struggling to see what’s best given the constantly shifting tides around us. How are we to see where our choices “sit”, what they really “mean”, and where they will “lead” for the realities we all share? Don’t we need to be clear on those things if we’re to make informed and responsible decisions? (Notes Two)
Within an essentially consumer society – everything carved up, packaged, and presented for our consideration – aren’t our choices of central importance? Each “thing” being a vote, an empowerment, a validation of what’s been offered and all that’s behind it. As if “society” parades all its ideas before us and we select which ones we’ll put our weight behind.
How much do we understand what it all means and all it entails in terms of social, economic or environmental forces? What are our choices feeding into within the inscrutable workings of this modern global system? If we’re given endless choice but very little insight into how it all comes together where might such freedom lead? Are we not responsible for all that our choices set in motion? (Notes Three)
This sense in which we now live in a world we don’t fully understand seems so important: if we have the power to choose but not the knowledge to make informed decisions isn’t that risky? What if the costs we’re saddling future-humanity with are something we wouldn’t want to pay? Isn’t it “wrong” that we might be “spending” assets which aren’t ours to trade?
Whether the obscurity of our choices comes from technology’s distracting interface or the hidden nature of our global realities, isn’t it important we use our freedom wisely? If we’re being presented with more choice than is manageable, perhaps we need to define our own parameters to ensure we’re not overlooking the essential. If our choice is between options we’re not happy with, maybe we should be demanding new paths.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Freedom, responsibility & choice
Note 1: What we create by our presence
Note 1: How much is in the hands of the market
Note 2: Pace of change & getting nowhere fast
Note 2: All we’re expected to understand
Note 2: Being trusted to use our discernment…
Note 2: Understanding & staying informed
Note 2: What if it all means something?
Note 3: “Response Ability” by Frank Fisher
Note 3: Writings on Education
Note 3: “Paradox of Choice”
Note 3: Interdependency