A conundrum for the ages, this problem runs deep within our veins and every single day, we find or devise new ways to perpetuate it. I am talking about the choice problem. I remember reading a passage somewhere about it. Even though the writer seemed quite articulate, I don’t think he was able to see the variety in choice problem. He thought it is only linked to consumerism and materialism and the problem of selecting goods and services. He opined that since there are so many items of relative use to choose from, we end up getting completely tangled up in our needs and wants, curtsy never being fully aware of what we need and what we want. He observed that a different set of services have cropped merely to help us to make our primary choices. Well, the point is, at the time, I thought it was really funny to come up with something so ridiculous. Surely, we are better than the idiots these writers make us out to be. I believed that for a long time, until I realized that those writers had been right all along but even they had failed to grasp the extent of our self-made stupidity.
Self-made stupidity? Wait… y do I call it that? I know you think that stupid people do not face the choice problem because only the enlightened are able to exercise their options in an informed manner. Idiots, by virtue of their cerebral retardation, are unable to exercise their freedom to choose in the manner we have envisaged, ever since the renaissance. Well, I would say, you are right. However, the catch here is, that we are vain enough to think that we are not stupid. That everything we do, stems from free choice. Allow me to tell you, that you are stupider than the ones you thought were stupid. Think of every situation, every object, the kind of people, the type of ideology, the shoes you are wearing, the clothes that you have put on, the problems that bother you, the job that you are so diligent at, the education you received, your words, your parents, your thoughts, your complexion, your orientation, your girlfriend, your partner, your friends, even the porn you watch. Now, tell me how free you were to choose these things. Did you choose how your parents chose to raise you? Did you choose the relatives who are never any help, but always entitled? Or did you choose the circumstances of your own bad luck? Well, now that you have thought about these questions bothering you, can you choose the moment of your death? Can you choose whether you want to be shot, or shoot yourself, or die in your sleep, or in a horrible accident, or with your loved ones by your side, or alone in a country house somewhere, or not die at all, if that’s what you prefer?
Ever since we open our eyes to the world, we are told what to do, what not to do, what is good for us, what is bad, what is tolerable, what is moral and what is unethical, what kind of friends we should have, what kind of people should we fornicate with and sometimes, whether we should fornicate at all. The truth however is, that the heroes of our childhood and the monsters from the time, are false. They are myths and they are misleading and even, hypocritical. We have been taught to emulate and imitate, while at the same time, being told to be ourselves, be faithful to our inner constitution and trust who we really are?
I have tried asking myself that question a zillion times. Who am I? I have never ever received a satisfactory reply, a reply without a label of some kind, a despicable one at that. I am not a lawyer, I am not a writer, I am not a generous being, I am not a bad man, I am not God certainly, I am not perverted, I am not an animal, I am not what she thinks I am. Well, there is more where these negations came from. The fact of the matter is, you are not free to choose who you want to be, how you want to be, what you want to be. Freedom of choice is illusory. It has no basis in fact. It really doesn’t. If you are given a set of options to choose from, with a set of rigid contingencies, conditions and burdensome ‘if-then’ situations, along with a forewarning (usually ominous) of the consequences of a mistake and an advice about what is socially acceptable and unselfish; would you really believe that you are free to choose? I think you will, because, to accept the opposite hurts your massive vanity. How can your entire life be a complete lie? How can it be a set of circumstances you had no hand in choosing, or even sampling before they were piled up on you? How can you let go of your vanity and understand, that humanity means nothing, if we never chose where we are, where we wanted to be, where we want to go to?
Look at the person next to you. See how he functions, see the emotions on his face, see his little annoying habits and read his prejudices, and you realize how alike you both really are. You are alike, because at some or the other point, the conditions that molded you, molded him or her as well. Look into the mirror that is another man, and realize the lie you have been told for so long, and if you have it in you, free yourself. For to be free, is to be human.