|Sartre said we are condemned to be free. But you could say we are condemned to choose. Having big brains frees us from being driven by instinct, but our consciousness only makes it possible for us to be free. We are only free if we act on it and make a choice.
It is impossible to live without making choices and each choice we make closes down another possibility, limiting our freedom. Moreover, because our knowledge and perspective are limited, we are faced with the possibility of making the wrong choice. But you can’t not choose. Every choice has consequences, defining who you become. Your life, and your creativity, are shaped by the choices you make. You are defined just as much by what you reject, or the path you don’t take.
In our consumerist culture choice is held up as some kind of holy grail simply because it represents freedom. We think because we can choose between a variety of products, we are free. But choosing between endless varieties of beans or condiments is not real choice. It’s an illusion. Real choice is driven by real needs and real conflict. To marry, or not. To love, or not. To live, or not. To create, or not.
How do you choose? Do your choices make you feel freer? Share your thoughts below – it’s free! Next time: Making Meaning
Image: Quality Street