Do You Have A Choice…in Anything?

One of the great questions is, how much real choice do we have? Are we entirely predetermined? Is there free will at all? Is there a smidgen, a bit, a fillip of it?

Sometimes it seems as if some people simply have more choice than others. Some are damaged by birth defects, by bad “neurological wiring”; lead poisoning, trauma, extreme inescapable poverty, truly bad parenting, and other factors–it’s hard to see much choice for them. People blithely point to those who came up in negative circumstances and yet “made good”–if they’re indeed as good as they seem, we may assume innate advantages in intelligence or some other interceding factor. Others are given all the benefits, good parents and education, and turn out dreadful anyway. Genetic predisposition is part of it.

Sometimes I think, though, that nearly everyone has choice, or the potential for it; it seems to me that we all have the possibility of deciding to go one way, or another, at critical moments–but many just don’t know they have it. Every time I made a really bad decision–many times!–I did know it. I could feel it. But I was swept along by neurosis or fear anyway… It took years to build up something that could go from knowing I was wrong to making better choices. It wasn’t just maturity, it was also effort, moving toward the inclusion of that additional dimension that makes choice come alive: a little more consciousness, a little more self-observation, self knowledge; a little fuller feeling, more awareness of the moment. I didn’t fall into this possibility of more choice. I had to head that way on purpose–a long slow slog I’m still trudging on.

What I’m suggested is there is a way to free choice. Something in us wants to get there. So if we go with that something–our first free choice–the other choices become possible…

I’m a long ways from having consistent access to that added dimension, that fourth dimension of character. It’s so very easy to fall asleep and I do fall asleep, while thinking myself awake, more often than not. But at least I have hope…of having choices.


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